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Thursday, December 07, 2006


 

What's happening in Bolivia?


Venezuela gets a lot of press, thanks in part to Hugo Chavez' gregarious personality. Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, is less outspoken, but that doesn't mean that real changes aren't taking place in Bolivia as well. They are:
In less than one year, accompanied by his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) Party and the huge indigenous and popular movement on which his government is sustained, he has renationalized hydrocarbons; taken the majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly; and, just a few weeks ago, in a gesture of sovereign bravery, played it all by demanding that transnational companies, virtually the proprietors of the country’s energy resources, sign new contracts via which the Bolivian state is now once again marketing, defining the export of, the industrialization and prices of gas and crude oil in order to reinvest the profits into social programs of benefit to the people.
And now comes the next step - land reform, in a country, like so many others, where large landowners, who represent only 5% of the population, are the owners of 89% of the land. On November 28, Bolivia passed an Agrarian Reform Act with which the days of the latifundia are numbered. Particularly interesting is how that happened:
Just prior to the signing of the Agrarian Reform Act...the right-wing opposition, representing landowners and the oligarchy, not only boycotted the debate in the Senate but left the House in the aim of preventing the text already passed in the Lower Chamber from being approved at this level.

Meanwhile, a long march of thousands of indigenous peoples that began on October 31 was advancing on the capital in silent columns from all points of Bolivian geography: the Beni lowlands; the heights of Oruro, Pando, Potosí; from La Paz Altiplano, Santa Cruz and elsewhere. According to the Bolivarian News Agency many of them managed to enter the Government Palace and others followed the re-initiation of debates from the Murillo Plaza until, in an unprecedented gesture, two PODEMOS legislators and one from the UN joined the 12 MAS senators, thus breaking the right-wing resistance for the good of the campesinos and Bolivia itself.
People power!


Why stop here? There's more...

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