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Cablegate: Bolivia: "Transformation with Violence" Most Likely

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LA PAZ 001931

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL BL ASEC PTER
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: "TRANSFORMATION WITH VIOLENCE" MOST LIKELY

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Summary
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1. (SBU) The largest daily newspaper in La Paz ran a three
page story over the weekend based on interviews with
political figures. The article identified five possible
outcomes to the current political stalemate from "Dialogue
and Peaceful Transformation" to "Civil War." According to
the panel, "Transformation with Violence" is the most likely
scenario. On the heels of Evo's 67 percent victory in the
August 10 recall vote, politicians from the ruling Movement
Toward Socialism (MAS) were the most optimistic, indicating
that the popular will would eventually prevail and bring
national unity. Figures from the opposition were more
pessimistic and resigned to the inevitability of political
violence. However, only one senator from the eastern state
of Beni thought that civil war was the most likely outcome.
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The Survey Says
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2. (SBU) The daily newspaper La Razon identified five
possible outcomes of the current political impasse in
Bolivia: Dialogue and Peaceful Transformation, Non-Resolution
and Permanent Conflict, Transformation with Violence,
Confrontation, or Civil War. The most likely scenario,
according to a panel of political figures was Transformation
with Violence with an average score of 5.2 on a scale of
1-10. The second most likely resolution was "Dialogue and
Peaceful Transformation" with a score of 3.8.

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Our Vision is Bolivia's Vision
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3. (SBU) In separate write-up with the participants, it
become clear that figures from the MAS are confident that
their vision is shared by the majority of Bolivians and that
only a handful of radical and reactionary fringe elements
stand in their way. As a result, the government's vision
will ultimately prevail and, because of its inevitability,
opposition forces are likely to relent without any serious
violence. For example, the Minister of Government Alfredo
Rada argued that ultimately those who support "national
unity, the deepening of democracy, the culmination of the
constitutional and (regional) autonomy process" will prevail.
While there is turmoil in the county currently, it comes
only from "radical civic leaders and opposition prefects
(governors)" from marginal areas in the Chaco (south-east)
and the jungle (north-east). For Rada, the heart of the
nation and largest economic and social centers are currently
at peace, operating normally, and will ultimately prevail
over the rough fringes of society.

4. (SBU) The head of the MAS congressional delegation,
Cesar Navarro mirrored Rada's thinking. He said that the
"liberal, republican, and neocolonial state has failed and
has to be transformed" and asserted that Bolivia now has "a
democratic leadership that has transcended continental
boundaries and has an unassailable strength for the
transformation and unity of the country." For Navarro, it is
a lie that the country is divided and on the border of a
civil war; all will be resolved peacefully via democratic
participation.

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My Vision Ain't Your Vision
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5. (SBU) Figures from the opposition were not so sanguine
about a united Bolivia, nor about a peaceful resolution to
the conflict. Reflecting two years of failed attempts to
dialogue with the Morales administration, the two prefects
interviewed for the article both expressed hope for dialogue,
but a firm belief that current push to approve the MAS

LA PAZ 00001931 002 OF 002


constitution needed to be stopped. Leopoldo Fernandez, the
Prefect of Pando said that "the government doesn't want to
admit that the root of the current problems is in the process
of constitutional reform" and currently, the proposed
constitution "does not reflect a true social pact for
Bolivians." As a result, both he and also Tarija's
opposition Prefect, Mario Cossio see violence as a
probability to force the government to admit to the divisions
in the country and take seriously any dialog.

6. (SBU) Most pessimistic among the interviewees was the
Podemos Senator from Beni, Walter Guitera. For him, civil
war is now inevitable as Bolivians from the east ask "why are
we going to belong to this country?" In the front of their
minds are the arguments that "we are not at all like the west
(of Bolivia), not in topography, not racially, not in our
manner of thinking, and not in our culture." The divisions
between east and west have always been present, but for many
the current state of affairs has brought the differences into
sharp contrast.
GOLDBERG

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