Friday, October 30, 2009

The Bolivian Elections I: Five Things to Understand About the Process

Dear Readers:

Welcome to the start of the Democracy Center’s Blog coverage of the December 6th Bolivian Presidential and Congressional election!

In the weeks ahead we will be publishing a series of posts looking at various aspects of the December vote and in many different forms, including analyses of the issues, video interviews with candidates running with the major parties, views from social movement leaders, and Election Day coverage in real time from around Bolivia.

So we begin with Part I: Five Things to Understand About the Process. We will follow-up shortly with a look at the candidates.

This post was co-written with the Democracy Center’s newest team member, our intern Jessica Aguirre.

Jim Shultz

Bolivia's Elections: Five Things to Understand About the Process

Slowly the streets of Bolivia are filling with motorcades, political rallies, handed-out flyers, and the other familiar trappings of Bolivian elections. From afar readers try to take stock of what the political coca leaves have to say about the December 6th vote. Behind that vote are key things about the Bolivian election process that are useful to understand.

1. Electing a President: What does it take to win?

Bolivian presidential votes, before Evo Morales’s huge win in 2005, traditionally ended with two or three candidates in a close tie with voter support just above 20%. This, in turn, begat a series of ‘negotiated presidencies’ in which rival parties put together power sharing coalitions primarily aimed at dividing the spoils (jobs, corruption, etc.) of power.

Morales avoided such a governing coalition in December 2005 by winning a straight majority of the vote (53%) outright. He may well repeat that achievement again this December. But if he doesn’t, then Bolivian presidential selection will get tossed into the rules laid out by the new constitution.

In the new constitution, the President of Bolivia can be elected in one of three ways. The simplest is to win 50% of the vote plus one. Absent any candidate doing that, the second option kicks in, a runoff vote between the two top-finishing candidates.

However, for this election only, under a special Ley Transitoria Electoral there is a third option and one that could easily determine the outcome in December. If the top finishing candidate does not win a majority of the votes, but does finish more than 10% ahead of the second place candidate, he (all the leading candidates are men) becomes President without a runoff. This is why there was an incentive for opposition parties to form a united front, an objective it was never really able to complete. The most recent polling shows Morales with 47% of the vote, but running 30% ahead of his nearest opponent, former Cochabamba Governor Manfred Reyes Villa.

If this holds, Morales will be a big winner, majority or not, on December 6th.

2. Is Evo Running for Re-election?

Another fundamental question is this: Constitutionally, is President Evo Morales running for the last five-year term he will be allowed to serve, or will he be eligible to run once again in 2014, potentially extending his Presidency for as long as 14 years? This is a very charged political question in Bolivia, where opposition leaders have repeatedly warned that Morales has his sights on a never-ending Presidency, in the mold of Castro in Cuba. Throughout Latin America concerns about stay-put Presidents have led to a series of one-term limits (with ex-presidents allowed to seek office again after one-term out).

This was always the case in Bolivia as well, and Presidential re-election was a topic of heated debate during the process of writing and approving the constitution. MAS and Morales originally backed unlimited chances to run for re-election, and then compromised that down to one chance.

But, since Morales was first elected before the new Constitution was passed, technically this first term does not officially count as one of the two continuous terms allowed. Therefore, he could legally seek another re-election in 2014 (if he is elected in December). It was precisely this concern that led Morales, during the Constitutional debates, to publicly promise that he will not seek re-election in 2014. But Morales supporters and opponents alike know that promises like these can become pretty flexible when faced with actually leaving office.

3. That Confusing Congressional Election System

It is not only the Bolivian Presidency that is up for a vote in December, but the newly constituted Bolivian Congress as well. Important changes made in the constitution have opened up real possibilities for change in the composition of the Congress.

Bolivia’s Congress (officially known now as the Plurinational Legislative Assembly), in typical form is composed of two chambers, the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Departmental Representatives (i.e. House of Representatives and Senate).

The more populous Chamber of Deputies, with 130 seats, will have members elected in three different ways. The “Uninominal” members, 68 of them, are elected directly by the voters in specific geographic districts. The 54 “Plurinominal” seats are divided amongst the political parties according to the vote each party gets in the elections and those members are appointed by their parties. The new constitution adds a third twist, the election of 8 additional deputies who will represent specific indigenous areas.

The Chamber of Departmental Representatives (or Senate) is composed of four elected members from each of the nine departments, the same number regardless of population. These four seats are also divided amongst the parties, based on the share of the vote won by each.

MAS and Morales have been clear about their aim to win two-thirds control of the Congress. But the formula still cuts to MAS’ disadvantage, because of the over-representation of the smaller departments and the guarantee of seats to the losing opposition.

4. Polling in Bolivia: A Tricky Business

Who is actually ahead in the electoral race? Many Evo supporters are confident that the election is tied up, and they have ground to be optimistic. With recent polls showing Evo Morales with 47 percent popularity versus Manfred Reyes Villa’s 16 percent and Samuel Doria Medina’s 12 percent, there is good reason to believe they are right.

Nevertheless, polling in Bolivia is a tricky business and notoriously inaccurate. And these inaccuracies tend to actually translate into Morales’ vote being undercounted by polls. The reason why is simple. The Bolivian electorate is significantly divided between urban voters and rural. While Morales might get 50% in cities like Cochabamba, his support dips much lower in opposition hotbeds such as Santa Cruz. Yet when one travels beyond the cities you can find Morales backing that tops 80%. And most Bolivian polls focus on the cities and not the rural areas. Few polltakers will be found tromping about poor rural provinces such as Tapacari, notepad in hand. Yet in some of these areas MAS election propaganda often provides the brightest splash of color around.

5. Voting by Fingerprint

Lastly, one of the most important run-ups to the election, the process of registering voters, has been marked by the application of a new technology – voting by fingerprint or “Biometric Registry” as it is called here. Bolivians have been standing in-line for months to take their turn to press their digits into the system. Despite complaints about the wait, and warnings by opposition figures that MAS planned to use the system to engineer Election Day fraud, the registration process seems to have gone smoothly. National election officials report that more than 4.1 million voters registered under the new system as of early October.

This is also the first year that Bolivians abroad will be able to participate in the elections, and registration was carried out until mid-October in Argentina, Spain, the United States, and Brazil (the four countries that have the highest percentages of Bolivian migrants). Registration efforts abroad have been less successful however, owing to the difficulties of organizing registration centers and fear by many undocumented immigrants that they might expose themselves to local authorities.

Next Up: The Presidential Candidates


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if Morales does not run again after this election, what is the chance that Garcia Linera would run for/be president?

4:20 PM  
Blogger Locojhon said...

Sorry, Jim,,,
The bio-metric registration is a red-herring, I believe—and you are barking up the wrong tree. It’s not who votes that matters, it’s who counts them.
Look at who financed/implemented the whole project, including the tabulation of the voting—the (anti-democratic, pro-US empire) NED with the help of the avidly anti-Morales electoral court.
I doubt if they could make it so that Morales is ‘officially’ not elected, but the really crucial elections will be for the CDRepresentatives—their ‘senate’. In those races, the votes could be manipulated so that the ‘senate’ body remains opposed to Morales, so that his reforms will continue to be stopped by the ‘elite’. (If it happens in the US—and it has—then it could happen in Bolivia, too. Someone should go over that software with a magnifying-glass and a fine-toothed comb.)
That, is my concern about the Bolivian elections—the possibility of manipulation of the vote by the people providing the hardware/software for counting the votes.
I seriously doubt that the USA has stopped interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, let alone Bolivia—where Morales has made socialism work for the people--and the citizens are obviously well-pleased—and the US has tried to oust him before.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this series of articles on the upcoming Bolivian elections. I am a Bolivian resident in the state of Rhode Island and will be able to participate and vote (for the first time in history) in these elections. I very much look forward to the next article on the presidential candidates as there is a general lack of information (with the exception of Evo) on what their political platforms and proposals are. The whole idea is to make an informed decision come December 6th. Keep up the good work!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Locojhon said...

Anon (4:20),,,
Sure,,,V.P. Garcia Linera could run for president, and barring anything stupid (unlikely) or unfortunate (hi, cia), he'd be elected, too.
IMO, he'd be a great successor to Evo, and with Evo's backing would be a similarly popular shoo-in. (Manfred Reyes would have a tough time getting elected dog catcher in cbba, let alone the rest of Bolivia. He never had the support of the indigenous people, and has since lost much of the middle-class and a few of the self-serving elite, too.)
Also, Bolivia will never go back to the rapacious ways of US neo-colonialism--they have recently tasted freedom, and the benefits of their particular type of home-grown socialism and they love it.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 40% if more than 10% over Manfred is article 166 of the CPE, not a provision of the ley electoral transitoria, as the 6 indigenous representatives are.

Voting machines are fortunately not being used, its the same old paper ballots with fingerprint readers used only to register at the voting booth, along with id and picture instead of relying solely on id and dipping thumbs in ink. However many of the classic ballot maneuvers known to party operators of the neoliberal parties and probably the MAS, are still available, although there can be no worries about your secret vote being tied to your fingerprint.

Evo's re-election I believe is not up to his whim, it is part of the Transitory Dispositions which are legally part of the new constitution, they both set the date to December 6 and stated that this would be his re-election, and no nonsense. But I share the curiosity to see how it pans out anyway!

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo is a narco thug, Liniera sucks and is a convicted terrorist... the rest of their cabinet are thugs and crooks.... on the other hand Manfred is a crook and his VP is in jail although unjustly... he is a crook also..

Bottom line ..left right or center.... Bolivia is screwed.
The ignorant poor will vote for Evo... the white elitists will vote for manfred.
The MAS will distort the numbers to show a overwhelming majority for EVO.
MAS will continue raping the government coffers. Evo will continue raping young girls, Chavez will keep providing Evo with funds to lock down the country in socialist chains.

Bolivia will continue providing Iran with uranium, Cuban doctor "spies" and venezuelan monkies will provide the MAS with a securty/population control apparatus and Bolvia will remain the poorest and least educated countryt in South America. Socialismo for the 21st Century.... what a crock of Mierda

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mierda 5:37:

Please be more informed before you write lies, exagerations, and the usual talk of the brainwashed white wanabes "cholos" of the middle and upper bolivian society.
Evo with a high school education has done more for the country than you oligarchs and plutocrats in hundreds of years.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without a doubt Evo is the best leader Bolivia had in its history. Unfortunately for the majority of the inhabitant’s republic of Bolivia, previous governments negotiated very badly Bolivia’s resources and very few benefited with those deals. The small group of families who own the land, the law, and control the largest chunk of the economy are very unhappy to the new way of negotiating, the more beneficial to the majority, terms and conditions to extract the resources.

Also, these new terms and conditions are very unpopular with those who used to prey on Bolivian resources, presumably they too would like a return to the days of creaming as much as they like, and see the Evo days over. Unfortunately for them both the oligarchs and their business partners, Bolivian people have learned to play the game of politics and the Evo experience will go on whether Evo is there or not.

I think it‘s time to see Bolivia make progress giving confident and positive steps to a more just and prosperous country and benefit the majority of its people, let the people of Bolivia determine their future without interference.


3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:45 prove ay of these claims otherwise....
Evo's goverment is as corrupt as any this country has had. Evo is a self proclaimed pedophile (He himself stated he wants a 15 year old wife) and is a stooge for Chavez. He has abandoned his children and PAYS TO HAVE under-aged girls brought to him.

Why in the world would he be friendly to Iran if it were not for the money Venezuela and Iran are clandestinely bringing to him. Uranium HAS been sent to Iran despite international sanctions.

Evo and his corrupt cabinet run the government like narco thugs, with the help of Cuban intellegence and Venezuelan money. They bribe the military leaders with "loyalty bonuses", They set up the Rozsa's killings, the bombing in the capital was a MAS in-fighting issue, The oil executive pay off and murder, Quintana's contriband, the Pando incident where Venezuelan troops died and they tried to hide them and return to Venezuela quitely, the torture and killing of those in the Chapare before he became president..... on and on.... Evo is no better than Banzar.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post, i was thsomething about

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:20, I love your standard:

"12:45 prove ay [sic] of these claims otherwise...."

Well okay, back to you. Please offer up the hard evidence otherwise to counter the following:

1. Moses and Jesus both have regular conference calls with Evo to offer their encouragement and advice. Jesus has a particular interest in Lithium policy.

2. Manfred Reyes Villa is actually a woman.

3. The Bolivian opposition is receiving billions of dollars ilegally from British oil interests and intends to use that to finance a plot to kidnap Morales and brainwash him into being both an economic neoliberal and have an Eaton accent in Spanish.

4. You are not actually a person by a computer programmed to troll Blog posts and write nonsense.

In the absence of hard evidence otherwise we shall assume each to be factual, right?

"Evo is no better than Banzar [sic]." Another classic whuch I am sure will win you many hearts and minds from the many hundreds of families whose relations were killed and tortured in the dictatorship.

Ladies and gentelmen, this lady, gentleman, or computer program offers us a nice representation of the mentality of the nation's sad, paranoid elite and an explanation as to why it can't win an election any more.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unionistas join masistas. Racists from the east join racists from the west.Racists of Bolivia,unite!
Morales worst prez ever. Yup, even than long beard Melgarejo.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead and vote... Bolivia is screwed either way. "Evo the pedophile" and his narco thugs or "Manfred the crooked"

Evo is a self proclaimed pedophile (He himself stated he wants a 15 year old wife.... its on vidoe) and is a stooge for Chavez. He has abandoned his children and PAYS TO HAVE under-aged girls brought to him.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo and his corrupt cabinet run the government like narco thugs, with the help of Cuban intellegence and Venezuelan money. They bribe the military leaders with "loyalty bonuses", They set up the Rozsa's killings, the bombing in the capital was a MAS in-fighting issue, The oil executive pay off and murder, Quintana's contriband, the Pando incident where Venezuelan troops died and they tried to hide them and return to Venezuela quitely, the torture and killing of those in the Chapare before he became president..... on and on.... Evo is no better than Banzar.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Bolivia Libre said...

It is interesting, but not surprising with you, how somebody who prices themselves from defending human rights in Bolivia didn’t mention that the most important opposition Vice President candidate is a political prisoner, just like Mandela, over a year ago and that his human rights to public speak, which were recognized by Evo Morales appointee at the Electoral Court, are systematically denied.

What about the fact that the regime had to bring up to public scrutiny the fact that many of the most violent people in the Union Juvenil Crucenista (UJC), which you accused of racism and violence; did work for the maSSist regime for more than a year, when all the violence in Santa Cruz was happening. I guess that those retrogrades are going to pass in your books as little angels bringing maSSism from the bottom up, with the help of a chicote or a machete.

The regime is seen their hard worked Indigenous Reich falling apart the last 3 weeks, that is only good news for real Bolivians; it is very encouraging reading maSSist zealots like Locojhon whining of possible electoral fraud against Evo and his gang; they are obviously afraid, very afraid.

Manny, obviously a foreign, and he talks about “Bolivia determining their future without interference”, you don’t have to be to bright to be a maSSist, don’t you?. Bolivia still controlled by a small group of families, the only difference is that the new owners are preying without thinking on leaving anything for the next generation to recuperate; progressive people are usually very sustainable; so Morales and his troop progressive are not; they are simply old fart communists lost in this century.

Ano 5:09, there are public records, televised live, with Evo Morales saying that when he retires he will go back to his coca field to spend the rest of his life with a fifthteen year old girl; he was 49 when he said so. Not that I am on a quest to convince you since you are obviously a paid goon of the maSSist regime and think like Evo and company that women are only good to rape and to cook as soon as they can pick up a garrafa.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leopoldo is Mandela.

Whoa B/L, this is a stretch even for you my little dear one.

Is it so very important for you to pound your litle Manfred drum this time around or have you been dipping again into some of that Santa Cruz marching powder.

Shall we now compare Tuto Quiroga to Fergie?

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leopoldo as Mandela. I like it.

Reverse apartheid in Bolivia! Racist govt imprisons without habeas corpus.

I suggest "Free Leopoldo" shirts produced in masse.He's handsome enough to cause an impact.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its me again...420 anon. who posted the first question....i didnt mean to start the back-n-forth insult parade (but thats what happened sigh)....i really was being sincere with the question...we are required to move back to Bolivia (from US) on the terms of my wife's scholarship, and i was looking ahead to see who possibly might replace the current president...thanks locojhon for your response

JD (not really anon., but i dont have an account)

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that being said, im not against the back and forth insults....they are freakin' just wasn't helping to answer my question i posted


1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the work done by the Evo government, but I also disagree with some of the things he does, for instance the rhetoric with reference to the USA in particular. However, my point is that is spite of his imperfections, he is by far the best president Bolivia has ever had. There are many independent international organisations that recognise that fact, yes, they also say that there is still more to improve upon, and Rome was not built in a weekend.

I find Bolivia Libre’s personal attack on me, rather infantile, more or less like a sign of a lack of a clear and honest argument to voice his objections and to accept that others think and perceive things differently, without having to make gross and totally uninformed assumptions about anyone who thinks differently, and one does not need to be very clever to realise that, one has just got to read the range of insults on his or her post.

As for assuming that “Manny, obviously a foreign”, well, you are wrong there too. I am Bolivian, I am just not blind, and I feel that that Bolivia is going through a process of change. Its inevitable things will get re-arranged, and I write with the hope that those changes will be positive for all Bolivians, both poor and rich. So far, in spite of the stumbles things are going reasonable well.


4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manny, don't be too concerned about B/L. She has some strange concepts about Bolivian politics and obviously hasn't been elsewhere to see how the rest of the world functions. She needs to take a vacation and observe how other countries operate. Then she would realize that the great things that are happening in Bolivia are really going to benefit those that are not in the upper echelon.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Bolivia Libre said...

Many. . . . . . really?? What hurt your feelings? Was it that I assumed you were a foreign or was it the implication that you were a maSSist? So if somebody disagrees with your points of view you consider it a personal attack, I am to assume that no one should disagree with you? I should warn you that its one of the trade marks of Evo and his goons.

You say I am not debating your points of view, well, I debated that you implied Bolivia should decide for their future without the intervention of foreign but you start saying that “Evo is the best leader Bolivia had in its history”. Unless you live in Buffy’s lalaland, you should know about the very strong influence of Hugo Chavez over Evo Morales, so you are shooting yourself in the foot. I just simplify my argument with a little sarcasm, which almost made you cry. What about you debate my first two paragraphs, just to show me I don’t have a clear argument.

Ano 2:43 AM, the Afrikaners also believed Mandela was evil and should be in jail; and Mandela, like Leopoldo, spend a lengthy time on jail without the government of the country unable to prove them guilty. In addition, like Mandela, Leopoldo is not the minority in his community, Pando, where he was elected by the people of that land for a larger majority of votes than Evo Morales, in all elections he ever participated. The racist minority in Pando, in this case, are the quechua-aymara send to occupy the territory by the maSSist regime.

Baffy, keep dreaming, vacation I am not taking, I am taking the Republic back where it should be, under freedom and respect of human rights.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boludo libre:
I guess nobody reads your web page, so you come to this page with your distortions of reality, lies, and proclaiming that Leopoldo is like Mandela. It is interesting to read the right wing point of view, it is full of lies, and clearly presents the dispair of having lost the fountain of gold.
Get a job and do something useful for the country, go back to high school and learn about honesty, decency, hard work, and most of all democratic principles which you badly lack.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE that Bolivia Libre writes here. I find him really entertaining. Such swagger! But I do thnk he might be Goni posting under a false name, not sure. Go BL!

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free Leopoldo Mandela!
End his racist imprisonment!
Free the martyr of Pando!
Down with the MAS fascistoid apparatchik!
Venezuelan and Cuban imperialists out of Bolivia!

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming back to the main points in this post, and it is true that a good opposition is healthy for a democracy. When I say a good opposition I mean an opposition that articulates well the will of those who they seek to represent, in a constructive way, always looking to benefit the whole of the country as their ultimate goal is also to be government of all Bolivia. I think it is true that the opposition has been very week and disarticulated, it is very obvious that there is no one, on the right, with the ability to represent the conflicting interests of their potential supporters.

I personally would like to see Bolivian governments, whether from the right or the left, to seek to meet the needs of Bolivians and not of those who seek to influence our policies no matter where they come from be it Venezuela or the USA. Bolivia needs as many allies as it can possibly gain, but they should not dictate what policies we implement as there is only one interest that should be served and that is that of the majority of Bolivians whites, mestizos, Quechuas, Aymaras, Guaranies and all the other groups of people that make this beautiful country.

In relation to whether Evo should or should not be re-elected, I suppose that is a matter for the people to say. In Colombia the right wing party of Uribe will be re-elected, and in my opinion it is up to the Colombians to elect him or not. I am sure that Colombians will realise whether Uribe’s government brings increased peace, economic prosperity and fairer distributions of resources and make their decision based on that assessment. In the same way, I have no opposition if Evo or Manfred gets elected or re-elected a million times, surely the people will have to vote them in. So that should not be a political issue and those who use it, only try to scare people and use it as a dirty weapon.

The changes in the constitution into the new Bolivian Congress in my opinion should not be seen with fear, the constitution as it stood, and if you care to read the history of Bolivia, you’ll know that in 1900 the republic of Bolivia only acknowledged as Bolivians those who spoke and were able to read and write in Spanish, that figure was approximately 10 t0 15% of the total population of the country, the rest 85% were just like wild life or servants. So, any improvements that will increase the participation of more people in the republic, I feel deserve a good try, and if it fails, well we must try again, and at least we are trying for now.

Now, these new system will bring changes, I am happy to get rid of the status quo, of that Constitution made for a privilege few, happy to see behind a worthless legal system that only exists to perpetuate people’s lives in a state of legal limbo so that lawyers continually get a reliable and endless source of income; no interest what so ever to do justice. Yes, I am happy to see that entire staff gone, and if the new system does not work either, then we should try again till it works.

As for the poling and who is ahead or who is behind, it makes little difference as they are as you say it inaccurate and we will only know on the day, so I am happy to wait and see.

I applaud the effort to allow voters abroad; it is widely practiced in well established democracies, like the British or any other European country. Hopefully, and in spite of the difficulties, that should be extended to more countries in the future.

And finally, I hope International organisations are able to come to Bolivia to see and ensure elections are run without any cheating, in that way who ever wins, and personally I hope Evo does, has the mandate of majority of the Bolivian people.


4:36 PM  
Anonymous Carlos D’Arlach said...

Ya se notan los síntomas de que el tiempo de la cosecha ha terminado. La falta de gestión económica del gobierno pronto va a hacerle coro al Presidente Chávez, quien anunció que no es tiempo de jacuzzi y que la gente tiene que ducharse en tres minutos. La potencia petrolera se alista a restricciones de energía impensadas hace pocos años. Ya nuestro Ministro de Hacienda anunció con razón que las regalías y el IDH serán menores en el 2010 como resultado de la caída de los precios y la producción, sin mencionar lo que hay que gastar en la importación de combustibles y las consecuentes subvenciones. Ay, nos copiamos el examen del peor del curso.

Desde que asumió el Presidente Morales tuvo que pagar las facturas de quien había financiado su campaña. Nuestra imagen energética va a contramano con su elegancia personal. Recordemos que apenas electo, partió con zapatillas y una chompa de media estación al invierno del norte, donde fue festejado su irrespeto al protocolo. Hoy se luce con camisas bordadas y un traje militar tipo cóndor andino sobrevolando en un helicóptero prestado lo único que progresa en Bolivia: las plantaciones de coca.

Los primeros convenios fueron firmados con el Presidente Chávez, quien vendía a Bolivia la ilusión de llevarla volando al primer mundo: una planta petroquímica, dos de procesamiento de gas, exploración de petróleo, estudios sobre hidroacero, madera, cemento, la modernización del complejo metalúrgico de Vinto, y donación de muchos, muchos vehículos. Pronto sus visitas fueron alternadas y dosificadas con otras, como la de Nestor Kirchner de Argentina, con quien se firmó el compromiso de exportarles mucho gas a través de un nuevo ducto. Ellos pondrían una planta de extracción de licuables en el Chaco, proyectos que tres años después siguen siendo proyectos.

También vino el Presidente de Irán, quien comprometió - ¿cuándo no? - inversiones en Bolivia de 1.100 millones de euros que se destinarían a los sectores agrícola, minero y del gas. Sin embargo, este potencial inversor y potencia petrolera, es al igual que nosotros, importador de combustibles, y acaba de manifestar públicamente que su ahorro interno no le permite el desarrollo de sus reservas y que esta dispuesto a facilitar la inversión extranjera.

Luego se sumó Rusia con quien se han firmado convenios militares y de lucha contra el narcotráfico. No faltaron los anuncios de la participación de Gazprom y de su brazo científico VNIIGAZ, en la certificación de reservas, la creación de un Instituto Científico Boliviano del Gas, y de otra SAM con YPFB que se sumaria las ya existentes, por lo menos en los papeles, con PDVSA y GTLI. Ahora salió en los medios que su Presidente se acordó de los convenios para el cumpleaños de Evo. Estos romances fueron acompañados con agresiones verbales a Estados Unidos, Colombia y Perú, y una relación regular con Brasil y Chile.

El resultado de cuatro años de gestión es la dependencia energética y la pérdida de nuestros mercados naturales. ¡Pronto por cada dólar que entra por vender gas saldrán 50 centavos para importar combustibles!. ¿Quién pagará por los daños?. En plena campaña eleccionaria se utilizan los recursos del Estado para hacerle creer al pueblo que los fracasos son éxitos, como mostrar el taladro chino perforando en el Campo Víbora, escondiendo que solo lo trajeron para ganar votos en agosto del 2007, y que estuvo parado un año, o afirmar que ahora si se viene la industrialización del gas, o inaugurando trabajos en Camiri. ¿Será que el cinismo no tiene límites?.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I just want to second what Anon. 4:03 (the 5th comment) above says: Article 166 of the new constitution clearly states that a candidate becomes president either by receiving 50% +1 of the votes OR by receiving over 40% AND a more than 10% lead over the 2nd place candidate. If neither of these happens, there is a run-off. I THINK this post is inaccurate in stating that it's "for this election only."

Also, it was my understanding that part of the accords that came from negotiations with the opposition a year ago was that Morales would only have one more term. If so, that should be in writing. Anon 4:03 refers to the Transitory Dispositions and says they are "part of the new constitution." So, it sounds like the one-more-term-only thing was more than just a spoken promise. I do harbor a fear that Morales might try to change this toward the end of his next term - something I have to believe would go badly for him - but I think if he did so it would clearly be in violation of what ought to be legally binding agreements.

Also, an anecdote: there was absolutely no line when I registered to vote with the new biometric system in Chilimarca. The entire process took about 5 minutes.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quien ganara las elecciones del 6 de Diciembre?
Antes de responder, por favor lea esta nota.
Todo indica que Evo va a ganar las elecciones y tambien el control total de el congreso y de el poder judicial
a menos que nosotros los bolivianos hagamos campaña por los proximos 30 dias y el dia de la eleccion
votemos por otro de los candidatos y salvar la democracia y el balance de poderes en Bolivia.
Hacer campaña es nuestro derecho constitucional y una obligacion que tenemos con el pais donde nacimos.
La corte Nacional Electoral CNE autoriza/permite a la gente a hacer campaña en tiempo de elecciones.
Sino hacemos nada y el MAS gana la presidencia y el congreso, Evo tendra el poder de un rey. el poder absoluto
Un rey al que ningun boliviano(a) se atreveria a reclamar algo por miedo a ser castigado.
Leopoldo, uno de los candidatos, sigue preso sin haber sido juzgado y el gobierno le niega la libertad de expresion. Ayudemos a Leopoldo a hacer su campaña!
El actual gobierno de EVO no respeta la ley ni los derechos de las personas y puede llevarse a cualquier Boliviano
a la carcel de San Pedro en La Paz. Es por eso que en cierta forma TODOS SOMOS LEOPOLDO!
El presidente se enoja muy facil y reacciona de una manera muy primitiva (ataca, maltrata, abusa y intimida) a la gente y a los periodistas que hacen preguntas inteligentes. Su actitud es un mal ejemplo para la gente del pais.
Esta actitud del gobierno no solo debe enojarnos, sino que debemos hacer algo.
Que podemos hacer? Conversar con nuestra famila, amigos, estudiantes y todas las personas que conocemos en todo Bolivia y
a los amigos de la rede social facebook y pedirles que este 6 de Diciembre den su voto por otro candidato.

Este Diciembre no solo eligiremos presidente sino tambien diputados y Senadores para el congreso de Bolivia.
La eleccion de el congreso es muy importante ya que los senadores fiscalizaran y pasaran leyes que impactaran directamente en
el futuro de todos los bolivianos
Debemos elegir sabiamente y si elegimos mal, debemos conservar el poder de poder cambiarlos en 5 años y no en 50 años.

Queremos que la droga nos robe a nuetrso hijos? NO
Queremos que Bolivia sea de Chavez? NO
Queremos que el gobierno nos de permiso hasta para ir a la frontera? NO
Queremos ser gobernados por personas que nunca han formado una familia formal (esposa y hijos) o administrado una empresa?. NO.
Los 8 partidos politicos tienen un plan de gobierno, es una pena que el presidente Evo no quiso mostrar y devatir su plan de gobierno.

MANFRED o SAMUEL son personas que pueden unir al pais y mejorar la calidad de vida de todos los bolivianos, ambos
tienen un plan de gobierno similar.
Talvez Manfred y Samuel sean ladrones como los de el MAS, pero crearan fuentes de trabajo, nos uniran y cuidaran
la libertad de los bolivianos en todo el pais.
Ojo: Yo soy Un boliviano que siempre voy a estar de el lado de Bolivia, pero no siempre voy a estar de acuerdo con todas las decisiones del gobierno en turno.
Evo quiere el poder total

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"roban pero trabajan"...disgusting ideology!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....where Morales has made socialism work for the people--and the citizens are obviously well-pleased...."

Who is pleased, his cronies and the poor un-educated who get paid by him to support in fear and vote for him are pleased. Thats what socialism is...

"socialist feel that inequality stems from greed of achievers"

The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level."

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."
-- Winston Churchill
-- Norman Mailer

12:12 PM  

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