Bolivia At Stand-Still, Nation Awaits Resignation
Bolivia At a Stand-Still, Nation Awaits Resignation Decision
March 7, 2005
Acting Publisher Luis Gómez continues reporting today via the Narcosphere on developments in Bolivia, where a presidential resignation and massive mobilizations have nearly paralyzed the country. President Carlos Mesa officially handed in his resignation letter to Congress earlier today, and Congress will meet tomorrow to decide whether or not to accept the resignation. Since both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies (Bolivia's lower house) presidents, the two next in the line of succession, have signaled that they would not accept the post of president, it is unclear who would take Mesa's place.
As correspondent Al Giordano commented last night, a political crisis resulting in early elections would put in jeopardy the plans of the Bolivian right - and the U.S. embassy - to put forward former President Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga, "the darling of the beltway and of Wall Street," as candidate for president in the 2007 elections. According to Bolivian law, if elections were held now, Tuto would be ineligible.
Read Giordano's analysis, here:
At midday, Gómez reported that the people of the indigenous city of El Alto convened a massive assembly to decide a course of action. It was a day of deliberation and meetings, with Evo Morales' opposition MAS party and social movements around the country coming together to decide their next steps.
"In general, the people of El Alto have decided to wait until the Congress votes on whether or not to accept the president's resignation. Tomorrow at 7 am, they will have a general assembly for the presidents of all the neighborhood committees, where they will decide what position to take.
"But the mobilization is not giving in. The general civic strike is being maintained in full force. They are even planning actions to radicalize their tactics: Mesa's leaving is in no way a solution to the demands for water and basic services, to nationalize the hydrocarbons, or to try former president Sánchez de Lozada."
Now, Gómez reports that the entire country holds its breath as it waits for the decision of the National Congress tomorrow. Though the criticisms have been many, few except for the rich demanding autonomy in Santa Cruz would see Mesa's resignation as a victory.
"In Santa Cruz, the representatives of the business class (the National Chamber of Industry and Commerce, CAINCO in its Spanish initials) and the Santa Cruz oligarchy have decided to 'accept' the resignation, and criticize what they call a lack of firmness on Mesa's part in stopping the blockades. In fact, the accusations against the Bolivian social movements from the 'Camba' right say that it is all about Evo's 'coca growing party,' and discount the demands from El Alto, the peasant farmers from Potosí, the people of Cochabamba and the community members and indigenous of Sucre...
"This last group, which has blocked all land access to the country's nominal capital, Sucre, where the Bolivian justice department is located, has given a particular twist to its mobilizations and blockades: to all of their demands (the Constituents' Assembly, a hydrocarbons law that benefits the people, the exit of the transnational corporations) they have added one more: 'Mesa must stay - we will force him to, so that he follows through on the agenda of [the unrest of] October ...'"
Gómez is on the front lines in La Paz and El Alto, and will continue to report on up-to-the-minute developments in the crisis, so stay tuned to the Narcosphere for all the latest...
From somewhere in a country called América,
Managing Editor, Narco News