Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poca gente, tanta tierra

Want more hard numbers behind the Media Luna and autonomy movement? Like how 0.2 percent of land holders control 50 percent of Bolivia's arable land?

Well Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval of CEPR give us a butt load. Go check out what this struggle for "liberty and democracy" is really all about.

Funny how the English press always forgets to mention these basic facts, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why the Oligarchs need Evo

So, that brown-skinned Bolshevik, Evo can't seem for even one minute to hold his tongue of tyrannical hatred against the freedom fighter opposition, our last best hope for saving Bolivia from a future genocide of slave-labor gulags and injun cannibalism. So dedicated to resurrecting Pol Pot's corpse, Evo even recently stated that he is "afraid of a revolution"... Huh, wait... what?

Yup that's right, Evo explained just how stupid the conservative opposition is for wishing/plotting his demise. Because if you think this democratic and constitutional government is unbearably cramping your money and power grubbing style, you've got another thing coming from the Bolivian people, totally fed up with this kleptocratic bunch. And the end results might not be sightly, from anyones perspective. So, the safe bet is actually Evo.

Just Breaking: 'Bolivia is an independent country!'

...rather than a resource stockpile for corporate looting as it has previously been confused. This according to a British Court of Appeals which unanimously told Telecom Italia that Bolivia's state assets held in British banks are protected under "sovereign immunity", so Telecom Italia will just have to suck up recent nationalization of its shares in Bolivia's telecom company Entel. I bet Italia is beginning to really regret their refusal of Evo's original offers to buyout their Entel shares. "How dare that Indian call our bluff!"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Al Jazeera- Race and Racism in S America

Al Jazeera's current Bolivia moment is a good demonstration for the western press in actual journalism.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Al Jazeera- Evo Morales vs. the US

Al Jazeera put together a fun interview about Evo with John Perkins and Jaime Aparicio. See, if you think I'm paranoid, even Al Jazeera is open to speculation on a coup.

Part 1

Part 2

Jaime Aparico was Bolivia's ambassador to the US under Goni and Carlos Mesa (both popularly removed from office), so as expected he propagates a number of serious misrepresentations about Evo. Unfortunately Perkins is not a Bolivianist and does not rebuff, but have fun counting the former ambassador's lies of omissions.

Let me address one of these, that the Constitutional Tribunal was tyrannically dismembered by Evo. Jaime Aparico has trouble finding his words at the end of the interview stating this inaccuracy because in actuality the Constitutional Tribunal collapsed in disrepute after it tried unconstitutionally to interfere with the internal procedures of the Constituent Assembly. Corrupt judges appointed by corrupt former Presidents is the same reason why a formal extradition request for Goni and company from the US has not yet materialized.

Friday, July 25, 2008

'The Struggle of a People without Arms'

If you want to understand what the big picture behind recent political maneuvers and tactics of Bolivia's conservative opposition you would do well to watch Patricio Guzman's master piece, La Batalle de Chile documenting a successful golpe de estado. The three part film is one the most complete records of the final months of Salvador Allende's presidency, brilliantly capturing Chile's political and social dynamics leading up to the coup.

I was only able to find parts one and two online and apologies to English readers, they are without subtitles.

Part 1: La insurrección de la burguesía

Part 2: El golpe de estado

Part 3: El Poder Popular (missing)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cholita Champion

Follow the link and meet Carmen Rosa, Bolivia's champion female wrestler. (Guardian link)

Hat tip: Angry Indian

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Press Funnies

The AP is perplexed as to why Evo's counter narcotics program is more effective than the US "zero coca" policy. Except read down and Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network tells them straight up, "The U.S. required growers to quit planting coca before they could access alternative development programs, without considering that their families needed to eat. Now the cato guarantees the farmers' income, giving them the chance to take risks with new crops." Oh right, people need to eat. I forgot brown people do that too.
(thanks Bina for the tip)

Bloomberg notes the US and Bolivia are trying to make nice. Apparently it all started when those uppity Indians attacked our Embassy! The locals were mad about some massacre or something, that the murders have "political asylum" in the US, and somehow these Bolivians got the ridiculous idea that USAID is working to subvert their democratic government.

And the remaining justice of the Constitutional Tribunal wants the Recall Referendum to be postponed based on a nonsensical complaint submitted by an opposition congressman. The head of the National Electoral Court replied, yeah you and what quorum? The quorum necessary to make a legitimate ruling, got it? eh, I tried.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Evo explains the WTO

As always, telling it how it is...

President of Bolivia, Evo Morales:

International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the need for all our peoples to benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains that the multilateral trading system generates. The majority of WTO members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration.
Doha World Trade Organization Ministerial Declaration, November 14, 2001

With these words began the WTO round of negotiations seven years ago. In reality, are economic development, the alleviation of poverty, the needs of all our peoples, the increased opportunities for developing countries at the center of the current negotiations at the WTO?

(Continue reading at Upside Down World)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Evo the Fair

Inca Kola News delivers another by the numbers smack down of Evo's critics. Not only is this revolutionary socialist campesino better at managing Bolivia's finances than his neoliberal "capitalism is the end of history" predecessors but he is also infinitely generous towards his racist and fascist sympathizing enemies in the Media Luna, having more than doubled their share of natural gas revenue as consequence of that "controversial" hydrocarbons nationalization. So when the conservative opposition or "neutral" third party observers (such as the International Crisis Group) call his national pension program an unjust infringement on department budgets because it's financed from the same money pool, they look like real douchebags, or just plain stupid.

Chopper down, Suspicion Up

The Copter

Yesterday afternoon, a helicopter crashed in the Cochabamba region of Bolivia. All people on board, four Venezuelan army personnel and a Major in the Bolivian army, died in the crash. The Super Puma copter which normally carries up to 20 people was on loan to Bolivia from Venezuela, and is the same one that transports President Evo Morales around Bolivia on his frequent trips to visit towns cities villages.

This is the second crash involving loaned Venezuelan helicopters in Bolivia. But it's the closest one to becoming an enormous international incident, as Evo used the very same helicopter to travel to Cochabamba that morning.

Funny how many Latin American presidents get involved in air crashes, innit?
US Secretary of Hemispheric Affairs Thomas Shannon chose poor diplomatic timing to unexpectedly cancel his trip today to meet with Evo. These events will only heighten the paranoia and suspicion going into the recall referendum, August 10th.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just whose "counter" terrorist?

The facts about that Yacuiba bombing allegedly plotted by Evo and those evil Venezuelans just gets shadier by the day.

So it turns out that the counterterrorist unit "F-10" of which the accused bomber Nava is a member, rather than working with Venezuelans were instead trained by the US military. Suprise, Suprise. Here they are with their US trainers in Cochabamba 2005.

Then this photo from 2004 shows up featuring former president Tuto, current leader of the conservative opposition PODEMOS party posing with members of F-10 in Miami which government minister Alfredo Rada claims was taken by accused bomber Nava.

Now Evo is all like, duh. 'These guys are scared of democracy and will even stage bombings to get out of being recalled.' And I bet this all will at least implicitly come up when Evo meets with US Secretary of Hemispheric Affairs tomorrow.

This all really begs the question, just whose terrorists bombed Unitel in Yacuiba?

Does Alain Délétroz read this blog?

Remember that NGO, the International Crisis Group whose latest report on Bolivia was way off the mark? Well, yesterday the ICG Vice President Alain Délétroz seemed to be trying to make up to Evo a little bit by stating, "There can be no forgetting that the government of Morales is the first in Bolivian history to have achieved in filling the State treasury. Before, at the end of each year, the President had to go to Washington to beg. Furthermore, his use of the money is reasonable."

Cheers mate! Thanks for mentioning a fact we (a la Inca Kola News) recently pointed out and your group's distinguished analysis reporting failed to mention. Coincidence? Probably, but I would suggest that your field workers are paid too much. This Dude will take your cash. I'm sure Otto at IKN wouldn't mind either.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Remembering a Bolivian Hero

Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of one of Bolivia's greatest champions for justice and equality, Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz. Marcelo Quiroga was a poet, journalist, statesman, author of Bolivia's second Hydrocarbons nationalization (Evo is the third), and founder of Bolivia's Socialist Party. A political prisoner during the René Barrientos dictatorship, exile during the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer, Marcelo Quiroga was ultimately murdered along with other leaders of the Socialist Party during the "Cocaine Putsch" of 1980, installing strongman Luis García Meza with the open support of drug traffickers, Nazi fugitive Klaus Barbie (a.k.a., Butcher of Lyon), and Italian neofascist veteran of Operation Gladio and Condor, Stefano Delle Chiaie. Unlike what you will read in the press, the true successors to Bolivia's former dictators, drug lords, and Nazi sympathizers are to be found in the current rightwing opposition. Evo Morales' supporters look back on a different historical tradition, found in the likes of men such as Marcelo Quiroga.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why the Bad Press?

Why all the establishment hate for that non-offensive teddy bear, Evo? Inca Kola News cuts right to the heart of the matter: it's got something to do with the above graph, and billions of dollars. Billions of dollars in revenue assets Evo's government, unlike all previous administrations, is actually being fiscally responsible with, broken down again by Inca Kola News in the one of most sensible discussion of the Bolivian economy you're likely to read anywhere. So explain to me why an uneducated Indian like Evo is able to handle Bolivia's economy better than all the previously highly distinguished 'Chicago Boys' who occupied the Presidential Palace? And why anyone still listen to those guys?

...and don't forget that Evo is also gradually clearing up the entirety of Bolivia's debt to the IMF and World Bank, to finally get these third rate economists off his countrymen's backs.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cuellar gets her English press close up

The English language press finally found an indigenous politician in Bolivia they like, a tia tomasina (uncle tom) willing to sell her soul to racist bigots for the illusion of power (cartoon-La Razon). Chuquisaca's new Prefect, Sabina Cuellar is featured by Reuters as an alternative to Evo, an Indian for the right-wing autonomy movement continually praised by the press. "We have decided to call for a [autonomy] referendum ... once I take office we'll decide when,"...she means when her handlers in the Inter-institutional Committee decide (Sucre's conservative civic committee).

A few instances of cognitive dissonance reading the piece:

1. "Cuellar belonged to [Morales'] Movement Toward Socialism party before leading an opposition coalition that she says is neither left nor right." Correct, why be boxed by this silly right-left continuum? They are just straight up racists sprinkled with fascists. The ignored fact that might help explain why she lost overwhelmingly among indigenous and rural voters. You'd think they'd vote for a fellow companera, hmm...

2. Cuellar then states she improved her Spanish (a native Quechua speaker) last year as a MAS constituyente through a Venezuelan literacy program. At the time, pro-autonomy opposition delegates were shouting down MAS delegates in the Constituent Assembly that elected to speak their native Quechua or Aymara with racial epitaphs, "indios de mierda" (shitty Indian). And now she's joining their ranks? Sold her soul was an understatement.

3. Her handlers obviously haven't explained the party-line in full as she contradicts (without Reuters noticing) the usual line about Evo being an authoritarian dictator when she "says the new constitution that he is pushing will loosen the central government's grip on regional governments, giving the provinces more leeway."

4. As usual Reuters characterizes the violent Pro-Sucre clashes which forced the Constituent Assembly to leave the city as a mere "string of protests". And as they do, the outrageous events of May 24th are simply ignored. Do you see that, zip, wave the magic press wand, and it all just disappears. Pay no attention, the pro-autonomy good guys would never do anything bad...its all the fault of those rotten poor brown savages, we had to do it.

Simply disgusting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Opposition scaredy cats looking desperate

The Bolivian Presidental and departmenal Prefect recall referendum is fast approaching August 10th. Evo's approval ratings are consistently above the mandate required to pass the vote, but the opposition Prefects have realized their "autonomous" constituents aren't to hot for these racist, corrupt assholes.

So, facing their demise next month, the opposition controlled Senate has decided to propose changing the rules of the recall referendum they originally approved- making 50 percent necessary to approve or recall the President or Prefects rather than the percentages of their originally approved mandates. Evo (whose approval is necessary to make the changes) replied no, and "why are they afraid of the people?"

Opposition Prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes has decided to stand on his own in unilaterally rejecting his recall. Looks like somebody knows he is going lose. Too bad sucka, your former patron, dictator Hugo Banzer, is dead. This new game is called democracy.

Democracy is something Bolivia's elite "Civic Committees" are likewise not too hot on, so they've accused the government of attempting voter fraud in giving all those formally disenfranchised brown folks ID cards so they can vote. Jeez Evo, doesn't he know "democracy" only works when we let the "right" people vote?

On the bullshit front, the opposition now claims the alleged Yacuiba bomber had a memory stick full of Evo's evil plans to bring about a civil war, involving "special groups" in cooperation with the US DEA. WTF? Did FARC's magic laptop grow wings and fly to Bolivia?

The government's response, bluff called. 'Hey if you've got real evidence, bring it on, and give it to the case prosecutor so these accusations can make it to trail.'

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Humillados y Ofendidos

Humillados y Ofendidos by Cesar Brie on the 'unprintable' events of May 24th in Sucre, Bolivia. Sorry no English subtitles yet.

Luzmila Carpio - Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, Ama Qhella

Evo appointed Luzmila Carpio Bolivia's Ambassador to France in 2006.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

How small is Alan Garcia's member?

Because the Peruvian president seems to have a major inferiority complex.
After recalling his ambassador to Bolivia for a second time after Evo made another astute observation, that the United States is looking to establish a military base in Peru- under the cover of the war on drugs. Garcia responded by saying that Evo ought to "shut up" and now is referring his complaint of Evo's rhetorical "interference" in Peruvian internal affairs to the Organization of American States! As if the rest of Latin America is going to join with Alan and tell that uppity Indian to be quiet. Maybe he is just jealous of Evo's approval rating? This clown is too easy to poke fun at.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Coup Watch Off?

The embattled US ambassador Philip Goldberg came back to Bolivia with his tail between his legs, admitting after a meeting with Bolivian officials that US-Bolivia relations have "problems". Wait, did someone from the US State Department just admit they have problems! Is the sky falling?

Coincidently the next day, the opposition prefects conceded to submitting their offices to the August 10th recall referendum. Like they had a choice in the first place?

About that fishy charge of "state terrorism"? Evo has publicly joined the speculations of this blog in denouncing the Yacuiba bombing as a subversive plot by the opposition using elements of the military to taint his Presidency and justify a golpe de estado. Evo additionally claimed the opposition sought military backing for a coup in 2007. These are not wild accusations, as any observer should remember public calls to the military brass by the opposition prefects, joined together in a "Democratic Junta", to effectively overthrow Evo in June, 2007. The military refused and I don't think they've changed their minds since.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Another NGO bites the dust

The International Crisis Group's latest report on Bolivia, "Rescuing the New Constitution and Democratic Stability" gets a smack down of a critical review from the Andean Information Network. The ICG's report is so chalk full of misrepresentations, omissions, and "factual inaccuracies" that the AIN's review is only part 1 of wading through this joke exercise in "conflict prevention", as the ICG claims is their mission (what ever happened to "conflict resolution"?). The AIN is entirely too kind to the ICG for passing off this apologetic straight out of the mouths of the conservative opposition as objective fact finding fieldwork. The AIN correctly notes that if the ICG's recommendations were followed the likely result would actually be a deepening and intensification of political conflict in Bolivia. Go read the reports if you feel like raising your blood pressure and getting a headache.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Counter Terrrorists Win"

In latest developments on that Yacuiba bombing, Venezuela rebuffed as "baseless" opposition party accusations of their involvement in the incident. While concrete evidence linking the accused bomber Jorge Nava to either the Presidential Palace or Venezuelan Embassy has yet to appear, we can be certain that Nava is a member of Bolivia's "Counterterrorist" force. How do I know? because here are the documents, clear as the light of day. For anyone who knows anything about the history and nature of "counter" terrorism in Latin America, its links to the "Drug War" and United States' military, this revelation should bump your suspicion level about accusations by the opposition of "state terrorism" by Evo up to "Code Red".