Friday, November 18, 2005

Bolivia: election update

Just a quick followup to my earlier post on the Bolivian elections. The election is still slated for Dec 18th but there are many signs of tension on the road to the big day. For example, protesters in three cities have shut down roads for five consecutive days now:
Residents of Challapata, south of La Paz, blocked a highway to demand the creation of a public university for teachers, which the government says it cannot afford. Meanwhile, hundreds of people continued to block a road connecting La Paz to Potosí, Tarija and Sucre in protest against a presidential decree that eliminated their province's only seat in congress.
Additionally, the contentious issue of oil nationalization is clearly coming to a head. With Evo Morales ahead in the polls, it appears as though Bolivians favour keeping hydrocarbon-related profits for domestic & social benefit--much to the dismay of transnational oil companies. Finally, there are new worries that electoral fraud may occur, in an effort to keep Morales out of the picture (hint: CIA guy and slimy businessman):
If, as the US wants, ex neoliberal President Jorge Quiroga wins the December 18 elections, there will be an uprising and bloody repression, indigenous candidate Felipe Quispe warned international media Monday. The leader of the indigenous MIP Pachacuti party also denounced that the PODEMOS candidate intends to unite with businessman Samuel Doria Medina (UN-Unidad Nacional) to maneuver the National Electoral Board in fraud to prevent poll favorite Evo Morales (MAS candidate) from assuming the presidency.
If that happens, Quispe continued, Quiroga -a CIA agent- would respond to the inevitable social rebellion demanding his resignation with a bloodier repression than that of Oct. 2003. [...] Quispe declared that if Evo Morales wins and does not fulfill his campaign promises -above all to nationalize hydrocarbons- the people will throw him out of office too.

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