Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bolivia's Easter Elections


Sunday two weeks from now will bring more to Bolivia than Easter (and at my house a visit from the Easter Bunny). It will bring, yet another round of national elections. Just four months after the December vote that swept President Evo Morales solidly into a second term, Bolivians are headed back to the ballot box, this time to select the nation's governors and mayors.

While none of the races on the April 4th ballot offer up as much drama as some of the more recent votes – for President, for a new constitution, etc. – the vote represents another contest between Morales and his adversaries, and it will define much about the shape of Morales' dominance over Bolivian politics for the next five years.

The following report was prepared by Democracy Center staff members Jessica Aguirre, Aldo Orellana, and myself.

Jim Shultz

Bolivia's Easter Elections

Once upon a time the dance between Bolivia's ruling parties and the opposition was much like it is elsewhere in the world. The parties in power controlled the national government and used it to do their will (and in the case of Bolivia a good deal of graft as well). The opposition was focused at the national level, in the Congress. It's primary objective was to make the ruling parties look bad and try to position themselves to win the next national vote. For decades this formula produced a game of political musical chairs in which three national parties – the MNR, MIR, and ADN – rotated the presidency, all with an ideological consistent embrace of Washington Consensus economic policies.

The 2005 vote changed all that for three reasons. One was the historic election of Evo Morales and MAS, a candidate and party who were never a part of that happy tripod of old parties. The second was the virtual collapse of those parties (today only the MNR really exists, but in such an anemic state that "exist" is a generous word). The third was that, for the first time, Bolivia's nine departmental governors were elected directly instead of being appointed by the President, as they had always been.

The Governors Become the Opposition

When those three ingredients were mixed into a new Bolivian political soup the result was a big change in the way political power worked in the country. A national opposition to Morales became virtually non-existent. Instead the voice of opposition shifted to a handful of governors in the nation's eastern departments. They challenged Morales on the constitutional reform process, helped lead mass protests in the streets, and threatened mild forms of succession.

For a while that worked and the Morales presidency seemed stymied. Then three important elections in a row turned even the governors into a marginal force. In an August 2008 vote, Bolivians confirmed Morales' mandate but tossed out two of the leading opposition governors, in La Paz and Cochabamba. Then the MAS constitution was swept into effect by voters in January 2009, followed by Morales' landslide reelection last December.

So, what does it look like going into the April 4th vote?

Currently MAS controls five governorships, in Potosi, Oruro, La Paz, Cochabamba, and Pando. The latter three are departments where the MAS candidates lost in 2005 but where Morales was able to appoint successors to the three governors – two ousted in the 2008 vote and another currently in jail.

This time around, MAS aims to hold onto those and also expand its reach. According to polls MAS is poised to win the governorships in five departments. It also has a clear strategy for doing that, by reaching out beyond the traditional MAS base and recruiting candidates that, in 2005, would not have seemed like likely MAS faces.

The Races to Watch

In five of the departments the results are a virtual certainty, based on current polling, and the campaigns not especially interesting. In Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro and Potosi MAS is expected to lock up four governorships in a cakewalk. In Chuquisaca, Sabina Cuellar, an indigenous woman who was elected to her first term after breaking with MAS, is expected to be a win for the opposition.

Here then are the four governor contests worth watching April 4th:

Santa Cruz: MAS Makes a Challenge in the Opposition Heartland

Ruben Costas is a Santa Cruz staple. He has been governor of the most anti-Morales department in the country for five years (Costas, like most every other returning politician on the ballot resigned his office three months ago as is required under Bolivian law, but is still, for political purposes, the incumbent) Recent polls indicate make him a certain favorite to win another term, registering a lopsided 58 percent of voter support in the department.

Nevertheless, MAS has decided to give Costas a spirited challenge, in the candidacy of Jerjes Justiniano, a well-known activist who gained notoriety during the most heated of the Santa Cruz conflicts by calling for conciliation between the autonomist movement and supporters of the central government in 2005. When a recent poll showed the MAS candidate with just 22% voter support he optimistically noted, “I began at zero and now I have more than 20 percent." But most observers consider the chances of a MAS victory in Santa Cruz as being roughly that of the mountaintop Jesus in Cochabamba strolling down to Burger King for lunch.

Beni: MAS Pins Its Political Hopes on a Pin-Up

In another department that had previously been a hotbed of opposition to Morales, MAS is trying to pull a political rabbit out of a hat with the candidacy of 26-year old candidate Jessica Jordan, the former Miss Bolivia (pictured above). While the former beauty queen is definitely drawing more media attention than any other candidate on the April ballot in Bolivia, polls show her running with just 25 percent voter support, leading some to question the wisdom of the MAS nomination. The candidacy has, however, attracted the strong interest of Vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera (a known aficionado of beauty pageants) who pledged recently that if Jordan wins, he and Morales will become “foot soldiers” to fulfill her campaign promises.

Pando: MAS Seems Positioned to Win in an Opposition Bastion

A year and a half ago the department of Pando drew word attention when a band of MAS opponents attacked a group of Morales supporters in a bloody attack that left more than a dozen dead. The last governor elected in the region was arrested and jailed on charges of having planned the attack. Now MAS seems poised to win the governorship outright with the candidacy of the former mayor of the department's only city, Cobija. The race is close, to be certain, but recent polls show the MAS candidate with a slim 41% to 35% lead.

Tarija: An anti-MAS Incumbent in a Toss-up

Among the opposition governors, Tarija's Mario Cossio, the former head of the lower house of Congress, has usually tried to position himself as the moderate voice among them. But MAS is fielding a very strong challenge to Cossio with a popular former university rector, Carlos Cabrera. Polls show the race currently tied.

What Does it All Mean?

Regardless of the final MAS/Opposition split among the governorships, what is certain is that the opposition will be in a far, far weaker position then after the 2005 elections that thrust the governors into the leading role. There will be fewer opposition governors and those that remain will have political bases that are much less secure. Nor will there be any genuinely effective opposition to MAS and Morales at the national level. His December opponent, former Cochabamba Governor Manfred Reyes Villa, is now living in Miami to escape prosecution on corruption charges (which he claims are a political ploy by MAS).

With a strong majority in Congress, a weakened opposition among the Governors, and a MAS appointed judiciary, there are few obstacles in the way of Morales doing what he chooses in the foreseeable future.

To be clear, Morales and MAS are in such a dominant political position because the Bolivian people have willed it, in election after election for four years running. However, there are also many in Bolivia who worry that unchecked power is a threat to democracy and an invitation to authoritarian tendencies. And it is true that governments tend not to operate as honestly or as effectively as they should if they are not held in check by an opposition with real teeth. Nevertheless, no politician seems poised to offer MAS such an opposition because to do so would require winning a part of MAS' rock-solid-for-now base among the rural and the poor.
MAS supporters argue that its accountability comes from within, from the social movements that form its central base. But how that accountability from within actually happens in concrete ways is still unclear.

MAS has succeeded in becoming what is known in political terms as a "big tent", a tent so big that it includes not only MAS' core original base but a beauty queen and long-time functionaries of the old parties. The thing to watch now is how a base so broad will hold together. The thing to watch after the Easter eggs have all been eaten is whether the one called MAS begins to show cracks in its formidable shell.


Blogger locojhon said...

Jim et al,,,
Yeah,,,kind of hard to understand if you've never seen it before--democracy that is.
A real democracy like Bolivia has--with democracy defined in the old way, instead of the new--with the resources of the nation going to all, instead of the few; with self-determination, not rule-by-USA-puppets; where everyone participates in governance, not just the elite.
Here's a wake-up call--Bolivia's not like any other nation, and Evo is not like any other leader. You seem to almost bemoan MAS' ascendancy to ever greater popularity and power, and question how the broad base can hold together. The key is Evo. He has integrity; you can count on his word, and know that his deeds will be honorable. That is also something you haven't seen back home in the states in your lifetime. It is also the reason the USA will do what it can to destabilize if not destroy the economy of Bolivia, and to hinder the improving relations Bolivia is establishing with her neighbors.
In many ways--especially those dealing with human rights and social justice, Bolivia makes the USA look like the fascist state that it is increasingly becoming--and Bolivia makes the USA look bad in comparison.
Viva Bolivia, and Evo Morales!

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, first of all, Bolivia is NOT a democracy. It is a representative republic. OR a quasi-dictatorship - depending on how you look at it. When one person controls a party and that one party controls the vast majority of the officials - including the supreme court being appointed by the president himself - that's borderline dictatorship. CERTAINLY is not democracy.
Why no report on what the elections were scheduled on Easter? Bolivia says persons cannot congregate together for 48 hours from an election. That means no Easter celebrations and sets in motion a conflict for Good Friday - the most holy day of the year and arguably the second biggest national holiday behind Carnaval. I think it is very obvious why Evo selected that date. Has nothing to do with democracy.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know you're really desperate when the best candidate you can select is a political hottie neophyte ("prisoners should work in the mines"-- purported Roman empire historian Jessica Jordan, 2010 AD).

That being said, dat girl be phat!

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:06 Thank your for your comments because they help readers understand something about the twisted mentality of some (though not all) Evo opponents.

First, whether you like him or not it is a fact that Evo is the popularly elected (that would be democratic, FYI) leader of Bolivia. If you are so steamed that he won then maybe you should find candidates that people might actually vote for. I believe that is called democracy.

Second, wow, what a dictatorship, the President appointed the members of the Supreme Court! That of course makes the US a dictaorship as well, since in more than 200 years every single member of the Supreme Court there was also appointed by the President.

If people want to understand why the opposition can't field a candidate that can beat Evo it is because the oppostion can't seem to muster any arguments in its favor other than this kind of silliness.

I agree, Bolivia needs a serious opposition, but clowns like this guy ain't it.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey to the post above saying that the election is going to cancel Good Friday and Easter -- wanna take a bet on whether government troops go to the churches and tell people on Easter Sunday that they have to go home? How about if I win you agree to check into rehab at: GET A GRIP ON REALITY.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lost me when you said that the traditional parties, despite their ideological differences, followed the "Washington Consensus." Free market capitalism is not what we saw in Bolivia, or for that matter anywhere in LatAm except may be Chile. I understand that you still want to show you're anti-yankee credentials by keeping the "blame the US" mantra, but don't hide truth: Bolivians are corrupt, they elected corrupt leaders hoping to get a piece of the action.

People like "locoto" live in this world of denial, of victimhood, they refuse to see things as they really are: Bolivian political actors are not ideological animals, but simply corrupt beasts. In that respect, the MAS has not changed things one bit. Thousands have joined the MAS, not because they believe in a progressive agenda or want to installed a Castro-inspired regime in Bolivia, but simply because they want a piece of the action. My cousin Jessica Jordan is no exception. She has absolutely no capacity to be an Executive leader, but her weak moral character is just what MAS operatives like.

Bolivians are once again stuck with a choice of Evil vs More Evil.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They may or may not go to the churches and tell people they can't be there Easter Sunday... but I do know one thing that they block all the roads and don't allow any form of motorized vehicle. So yah the majority of the people CAN'T go to church. Is that going to stop us from gathering together to celebrate the Lord's resurrection?? No way no how!!

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Bolivians may be corrupt, and over many decades we could only vote for masters of corruption. Like no previous government, MAS has castigated those who have been found guilty of corruption, that cannot be denied. Now, people vote for MAS not because they are saints and uncorrupted, they vote MAS because they are the least worst party, or the best party; which ever way you want to look at it. The fact is that Bolivians want the opportunity to have a decent, dignified life where they have the opportunity to work and provide for their children, and the knowledge that their children would provide for their own children and so on and so forth for future generations. Previous governments failed miserably, now let MAS try it out. If they fail, undoubtedly some other party will shine, and it is up to you (the ones who complaint so much about MAS) to make sure, you have a good plan, strategy and leadership skills to do it.


5:31 PM  
Blogger locojhon said...

@anon 12:11pm,,,
Yeah,,,I'm the one in denial.
Except I'm the one who understands the machinations of the US in the internal affairs and governance of Bolivia--for at least the last 50 years.
And how have Bolivians fared in the process?
The free and fair election of Evo and MAS tell the story better than I can, even considering that the vast majority of all media is against him.
And how do Bolivians like what they have seen so far, in spite of that hostile media?
Based upon what he has been able to accomplish with a hostile senate and judiciary (until recently, at least) and highly corrupted government from the top on down (that Evo is now helping bring to justice), with his fights for social justice, with his nationalization of natural resources with the benefits going to the people, with his defense of Bolivia against outside forces (USA especially) and the effects of globalization--enough to re-elect Evo with an even greater margin of victory in virtually every locale.
You want to see denial?
Go grab a mirror, and then figure how to use it.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous David V said...

"(today only the MNR really exists, but in such an anemic state that "exist" is a generous word)"

Is there a sense of irony in a historical context, or rather more history repeating itself, the "revolutionary cycle" that changes the politics of a country completely repeating itself? That's how the MNR rose to power in the first place- they challenged the oligarchy at a time when voting rights were restricted (indeed, a virtual state of Apartheid), and two military regimes had attempted reforms before. Look at the election results from back then and you'll find that in 1956 (the first elections with universal suffrage) and again in 1960, the MNR won overwhelming victories in what was a totally new party system. (This btw is the source:

While MAS has succeeded in establishing itself as the dominant party and attracting a broader base, at the same time we can ask how much of it is down to Evo himself? More that, what happens when it's time for him to step aside? Will the party simply fracture or is anyone capable of carrying on? The lessons of history suggest the former is a distinct possibility. Or will it be more seen as a vehicle for Evo, and that like Peru and Ecuador, charismatic strongmen typically do not like crystallised party structures.

A further irony is that back in 2002, both Evo and Manfred burst onto the scene nationally at the presidential polls, they had certain things in common: both men were considered outsiders seeking to challenge the establishment parties. Manfred however has since become a figure for forces resisting change, and the majorly hardline elements of such- a twist of fate?

For a government to be accountable, there needs to be reasonable opposition but there is no chance of this happening, because the voices trying to present themselves a moderate opposition are too small nationally.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo and his drunk cocaleros paralized the country during the 90s with their road blockades and toppled a democratically elected president in 2003.
Patria o adobes!
465,584,374,796 deberemos!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Jeff G said...

Great report!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Evo is an idiot, he has no education, no leadership skills, no vision...and the rest of the MAS clan are a bunch of thugs looking for ways to steal money...

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo is not only an idiot, he is a thug...

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Locoto has eaten too many adobes or is high on adobes, which is it???

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Evo is not only an idiot, he is a thug..."

Glass houses anybody? I think we've seen appalling violence and thuggery from both MAS supporters and opposition supporters. That this is seemingly tolerated by leaders too is yet another indictment of a sick political culture. But hey, let that fly over the heads of leftist pacifists in the West...

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo and his goverment executed many people for their political purpose, and the jails are full with political prisoners.At this time is using for his campaing " international terrorists " storry. Yes !! Look of the faces of the guys. Killed, oe jailed !!! Which one is look like a terrorrist ???
Bolivia is Venezuela's clone. Communist dictatorship.
And you masistas and others you will see !! First will nationalize the big factorys, lands later the smaller, and you will get the food on cartellas.

Wake up !! Before is to late !!
You want to live like venezuelanos or cubanos in the next 50 years??

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the comment above:

No, I don't! I am actually torn between whether I want to live under the economic giveaways of Goni or the dictatorship of Banzer.

Which do you think would be better?

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see..."economic giveaways" (which were never so) attracted foreign investment, which have created enough wealth that are still financing the MAS' white elephants. I can't think of a single thing that Evo has done to benefit Bolivia's poor.

On the other hand, if you like people that spread racial hatred, jail people without due process, protects criminals, promotes corruption, advocates jailing of journalists, and otherwise makes a mockery of human rights, I think Evo and Banzer are not all that different. The good thing about Banzer is that at least he was not an openly proud pedophile.

I always find it curious how these so called progressives tear their clothes when the things like Plan Condor or the Desaparecidos are mentioned, but turn a blind eye to worse things that Evo himself was responsible for.

Anyone who is the least bit consistent about their morals and their interest for human rights, would be extremely concerned for what Evo is doing in Bolivia. I still have not found anyone that can point to a single positive thing that Evo's done. Even his bonuses are clones of Goni's policies. The only thing that Evo's regime is better at is pillaging the country for the benefit of the party. Heck, just on free advertisement alone, the MAS has stolen more than Mesa ever stole from Goni.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo is a sonofadobe.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. let's see: Banzer Pedophile? Much more likely than not. Should we go back to his catholick school's days as an ingle'ss teacher? Needless to abound on such eponymous pedophylliac credentials! Shrouded in a screen of close, and fake humility towards the populace, on marches the senseless flock of former victims, staunchly "defending" their former abusers from being exposed, deflecting such atrocities as common fare of the "other" (Evo if y'allz will), who shall remain as the open and proud pedestrian with a sportive passion. LPF/EFI

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:47 AM  
Blogger bowsie said...

Glass houses anybody? I think we've seen appalling violence and thuggery from both MAS supporters and opposition supporters. That this is seemingly tolerated by leaders too is yet another indictment of a sick political culture. But hey, let that fly over the heads of leftist pacifists in the West...

"Glass-houses", "thuggery", "indictment of...", "leftist pacifists".

Sounds like the clippings from my tabloid. You any good at puns?

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:55 AM  
Blogger GREENHEARTED said...

One thing Bolivians can be proud of -- and the rest of us should be grateful for -- is that Evo and his colleagues understand the urgency and catastrophic potential of the climate change emergency (he's no idiot). Those who don't understand it might not understand why he's quickly becoming a saviour, but his was pretty much the only voice of reason at the Copenhagen climate change summit, and his ideas (being worked on at the upcoming Cochabamba conference) are unique in the world.

Evo is putting Bolivia on the map as climate change is about to start wiping Bolivians off the map. He gets that climate disruption and chaos are already impacting millions of people around the world every year -- people who are losing their lives and their livelihoods, their food security and water sources, their homes and entire homelands.

So no matter what he does on the domestic political scene, he's already accomplished a lot -- on behalf of all the children, of all species, and all future generations -- on the world scene.

Julie in Canada

p.s. Does everybody call your president "Evo"? Term of endearment, is it? ;-)

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ay, Julie, Julita, Juliacita in Canada. Take a cold shower or get a room!

Let's hope the reason you wrote such nonsense is because an icicle in freezing Canada landed on your head impairing your judgement. No way someone can write so much (I can't even describe it) "stuff" in so few sentences and be able to walk upright or have less hair than Sasquatch.

At best, climate change "science" is uncertain and dishonest, and fraudulent at worst. Even worst is the hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty of those attending and/or supporting these utterly wasteful climate "summits" as in Copenhagen and Cochabamba, where more CO2 is spewed into the atmosphere than entire African nations during a year.

Would you be willing to leave your capitalist luxuries (which according to you helps wipe out millions of people around the world) in capitalist Canada to live in Bolivia near your "saviour?"

I didn't think so.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greenhearted should put her bong down and awake to the reality of Evo's policies and discourse. His position is not "green," his position is basically that the whole world should go back to a more primitive state of life where low consumption and low technology is the key. MAS ideologues see the Cuban standard of living as their goal. What does this mean for "all the children, of all species, and all future generations"? Basically, no meat, no toys, no technology, no modern agriculture, no leisure, no disposable income. In other words, the biggest loser would be humanity, and "nature's" interest would be above, let's say your kids need for medicine or clean diapers. So yes, good news to the sloths and pink dolphins in the Amazon, not so good news to the billions of people with no access to medicine, water, or food. Basically, pachamama is above them.

Now let's look at what he is actually doing or proposing to do at home: Bala project and road to Apolo/Ixiamas, Mutun project, Oil exploration in north La Paz, expanding coca cultivation. Any of these projects on their own are capable of dwarfing the Exxon Valdez's spill on Alaska. None of this projects would create a benefit or industry for the long term for average Bolivians. They are based on the same premise of predatory exploitation of natural resources so that they can be exported as raw materials. All of these would be done by foreign companies, none would result in a better educated population, and none are sustainable in the long run. Out his recently announced US$35Billion economic plan, there is absolutely nothing that you could considered green. Heck, even the Republicans and Tea-baggers have more green policies than Evo.

While a cocalero leader, he made sure that the budding tourism, eco-tourism, and organic farming industries were destroyed. He was the leader behind the horrible fate that the Andrade family suffered, not to mentioned the dozens of soldiers that were killed by traps, or hundreds of thousands of acres destroyed and contaminated by coca plantations.

Make no mistake, Evo is simply a hypocrite who will use the Cochabamba event as a platform to promote his hate based rhetoric. It would not surprise me that he will end his speech by yelling "Death to AMERICANS" (not america or capitalism, by death to innocent american human beings). Evo does not "get" anything, nor does he care about his fellow human beings. All that he wants is for his brand of socialims/comunism/marxism to be installed in the world...and to see ALL yankees (canadians included) dead. Who cares if the ideas coming out of Cochabamba are "unique" if all they are pie in the sky? If you really want to stop global warming, you need to propose something realistic that is palatable to all parties who matter, and that is the big economic powers like the US, EU, China, et. al.

Please do the world a favor, and do not think of Evo as your modern saviour, but educate yourself about his actions and his past. I agree that he's not an idiot, but understand that he absolutely does not care on bit about the environment. He just hates the Yankees and Canucks so much that he sees this issue as an opportunity to stick it to them.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Idiot from wikipedia:An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. More humorous synonyms of the term include addlehead, blockhead, bonehead, deadhead, dimwit, dodo, dope, dummy, dunderhead, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, numbskull, stupidhead, thickhead, and twit, among many others. Archaically the word mome has also been used. The synonymous terms moron, imbecile, and cretin have all gained specialized meanings in modern times. An idiot is said to be idiotic, and to suffer from idiocy. A dunce is an idiot who is specifically incapable of learning. An idiot differs from a fool (who is unwise) and an ignoramus (who is uneducated), neither of which refer to someone with low intelligence

Therefore Evo is an idiot.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe yes, but Evo is more intelligent than you, at least based on your "logic"

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on you!
Apologize to the aforementioned for comparing them to Evo.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My theory on why Evo is an idiot, and sadly why most bolivians are too:
Lack of Iodine in their nutrition.

Network for Sustained Elimination of Iodine Deficiency

What does iodine do and Why do we need iodine?

Iodine is needed by the body for the production of hormones. These hormones are manufactured by the thyroid gland and are therefore commonly known as thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones have many functions in the body, all of which are essential for normal physical and mental development, including growth. When the diet contains insufficient iodine, the thyroid gland cannot make enough thyroid hormone to satisfy the body’s need. The thyroid gland becomes enlarged due to its desperate efforts to produce the hormone; this enlargement is known as goitre, which is the outward sign of iodine deficiency.

While the goitre formed by the enlargement of the thyroid gland is unsightly and can, if too large, interfere with well-being and even cause problems in respiration, the real danger of iodine deficiency lies in the fact that there is not enough thyroid hormone for the body’s multiple needs. The damage done by this lack of thyroid hormone varies in severity depending on the time in life at which the deficiency occurs. The brain is particularly sensitive to iodine deficiency during its formation in early fetal and postnatal life. Also, physical growth and psychomotor development are most severely affected in early life and youth.

It is therefore obvious that iodine is essential for women of childbearing age, because the damage done to the brain in early pregnancy can occur before the woman is even aware that she is pregnant. Iodine deficiency can cause abortion, stillbirth, congenital anomalies, mental retardation and all forms of growth retardation. All these together are called iodine deficiency disorders, or IDD. The manifestations of IDD are most severe during pregnancy and infancy. The effects however persist into later life. Table 1 shows the different disorders associated with iodine deficiency at different life stages. The most extreme form of iodine deficiency disorder is cretinism. The effect of IDD on mental development does not however always lead to severe mental retardation or cretinism. The more common effect is a reduction in learning capacity. Studies have shown that iodine deficient children have intelligence quotients or IQs that are 10–15 points lower than those of children who do not suffer from IDD. This has grave consequences for their intellectual development, and for the development of their communities and their countries. An iodine deficient people cannot produce as much as they should, they cannot learn as well as they should, with disastrous effects on economic development.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Greenhearted should put her bong down"

Let's get this straight:
"his position is basically that the whole world should go back to a more primitive state of life where low consumption and low technology is the key."

Seriously? Not even meat?
"Basically, no meat, no toys, no technology, no modern agriculture, no leisure, no disposable income."

"let's say your kids need for medicine or clean diapers"

"So yes, good news to the sloths and pink dolphins in the Amazon, not so good news to the billions of people with no access to medicine, water, or food."

"Bala project and road to Apolo/Ixiamas, Mutun project, Oil exploration in north La Paz, expanding coca cultivation. Any of these projects on their own are capable of dwarfing the Exxon Valdez's spill on Alaska."

"Please do the world a favor, and do not think of Evo as your modern saviour"

"Greenhearted should put her bong down"???

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo has created very significant changes in Bolivia. Here's one that can be attributed to his policies:

LA PAZ, March 23 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA) – Poverty in Bolivia reached the lowest rate of the last 10 years, according to a Jubilee Bolivia Foundation’s report.

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) reported that from 10 million people, there are about six million poor -three million of them extremely poor.

The Economic and Social Policy Analysis Unit (UDAPE) pointed out that the moderate poverty rate decreased from 66.4 to 59.3 percent in the 2000-2008 period.

According to the unit, extreme poverty dropped from 45.2 to 32.7 percent in the same period, which represents less than 12.5 percentage points.

Take That! You paranoid, racist Evo critics

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bongs and whatever else she's inhaling.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prensa Latina, legal name Agencia de Noticias Latinoamericana S.A. (Latin American News Agency), is the official state news agency of Cuba, founded in March 1959 shortly after the Cuban RevolutionUnidad de Análisis de Políticas Sociales y Económicas

Unidad de Análisis de Políticas Sociales y Económicas - UDAPE

Av. Mariscal Santa Cruz, Edificio del Palacio de Comunicaciones P. 18 - La Paz, Bolivia

Tel. 591 2 2375512 - EMAIL:

So this is where you get your informacion from... Cuba and the inept government of Evo....

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get economic indicator data from the more trustworthy and endogenous Instituto Nacional de Estadistica de Bolivia (INE) instead of lazily copying and pasting whatever from PRENSA LATINA, the Cuban mouthpiece from the longest running military dictatorship in the world.

3,231 adobes of punishment for you. Take that!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the manfred, goni, tuto, banzer lovers:

Please, realize that your insults here sound much alike the right wing "tea party" scum that is treatening democracy in the USA. Please wake up; you will be surprised how the world that you keep trying to revert is ending faster than you can imagine.

With huge population, scarce natural resources, corrupted financial entities, and failed "free market" economic practices we are all doomed to suffer the consequences. (specially you people who are used to servants, no work, easy money, corruption and hypocrecy)

You are in denial, please go to church on Easter Sunday; talk to the catholic priest who will absolve your sins. I would rather go to vote than confront the pedophiles of your churches.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democracy is not to vote against a specific party or person, that is an aberration, Democracy is go to vote for someone who share your values, unfortunately, almost in any pseudo democracy it happens all the time, include the united states, but there the politicians are smart because there is only two parties.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My theory on why Evo is an idiot, and sadly why most bolivians are too:
Lack of Iodine in their nutrition."

And do tell, how does it explain it for Americans and others who live in other equally "unhealthy" democracies?

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Americans? South, North, or Central?

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You are in denial, please go to church on Easter Sunday; talk to the catholic priest who will absolve your sins." We are not allowed to go to church here on Easter Sunday - because of EVO!!! HE set the elections for that day to prevent people (or at least to make it illegal to discourage attendance) from going. WHO should visit the Priest????

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the looks of it... Bolivia is screwed... Banzar, Goni, Evo. Left, right or center, it does not matter. Bolivia was, is, and will always be a shit hole.

You morons can't even get a bridge built correctly. Keep chewing your coca as you descend back into a narco state full of ignorant sheep

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are full of shit, you see shit everywhere...

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 11:58 and 12:19 both make a good point. The shit abounds in Bolivia... especially in La Paz... it openly flows through the city and along the costanera... That coupled with the lack of oxygen and coca chewing ... It'no surprise that Bolivians can not build a bridge correctly, and clelebrate all the wars they have lost.
And your presidents are perfect examples of your screwed up societies... they all make Bush the clown look like Ghandi

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the early 1900s, raw sewage from a population of six million emptied into New York waters, polluting beaches and bays, causing a major health crisis. Between 1914 and 1917, it was reported that oxygen content in New York’s waters was reduced as much as 68 percent, and zero percent in some of the worst places, such as the Harlem River. Pollution was so bad as to warrant closing of the beaches and prohibition against swimming in 1927. The Harlem and East rivers, Newtown and Coney Island creeks, and the Gowanus Canal had become cesspools. People were dying of typhoid and dysentery because of eating contaminated shellfish or swimming in the waters; massive fishkills covered the bays. New York had truly become, as a Public Health Committee report declared, “a body of land entirely surrounded by sewerage.”

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You stupid Gringos, you have bigger problems that Evo will ever give...
911 was an inside job, invassion and killings of millions of arabs for oil... and who think you are better people???
you should wake up! Dummies...

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite all the bitching, Bolivians still can't even build a bridge correctly... 21st century and the shit still flows... Keep chewing the coca... narco state... and the visa line in front of the Spanish and US Embassies are still long.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anaon 1:14
The idiot spewing the anti-bolivian stuff is bad enough, but you are not doing us any favors going back almost almost years to compare sanitation issues.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The majority of our oil comes from Canada... we could have easily invaded Venezuela if we wanted to take oil. You moron. Don't cry becuase you live in a third world screwed up country... keep chewing your coca.

Bottom line to learn here is don't mess with gringos or you will end up like Iraq.

And Bolivia is such a little speck of shit .... it does not matter.
The only reason we have not done the same to chavez is because like the coward bitch he is, he is still selling oil to the US... and most of the US does not even know who Morales is... ignorant maybe... but the bottom line there is is that Bolivia does not matter.
Chavez is just a pimple on our arse... and Morales a small speck of shit on our Gringo shoes

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Homer Simpsons of this blog:
It is not too late to change you goverment, which is turning out to be one of the worst in history...

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheneybusch are not in power anymore Moron.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim: are you sure Sabina Cuellar is standing in Chuquisaca? I thought she was standing down and Jhon Cava was the main opposition candidate?

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News for the gringo imperialist:
The Arabs will never let you win...nor will Bolivia or Venezuela...
Research Vietnam idiot...

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo has won three national democratic elections in a row. Many Bolivian children are seeing that they can reach to high positions based on merit and not based on the whiteness of the skin. If the rants of the paranoid opposition seem perplexing to an outsider, it's because for the most part it is an ingrained racist attitude and they have to be called for what they are. Bolivia did not go through a period of political correctness or social justice until now. All an outsider needs to do is go to a restaurant where "white" people meet and half of their conversation is about "Shithead Evo" while the cooks,waiters,vendors quietly work, pretend not to listen but go to the polls to support MAS.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting find:

Now if it is true that Goni is a US citizen, that opens very interesting legal possibilities

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Needless to even go there, on goni's account! his gringosity is above reproach, but faced with his crimes, his dear Tio Samuel is gonna drop the bastard faster than Jessica's gossip on line.


1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound like a scum lawyer...

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well what will you expect from people with law profile of education and experiences. What will you expect from a former coca farmer. He will always thinking in such categories. Bolivia is still the worst and poorest country in South America, and the corruption is on top like in friend Hugo's country. A country ruling with such big mouth and always against the West cannot have a good end. Do the math for a just 9 million people country. There is no hidden secret that Bolivia is with Columbia still drug producing country and that will be a big problem for them. Then Evo's Indio friends still smuggling whatever goods into the country while paying it cash with dirty money. Further, as louder they shouting about democracy and fighting against the habits of his old tribes as more smells very sticky. It is like the liar who always demonstrate of talking the truth. The corruption is still the same as always in the country, but only change on the current rulers. The habits also the same as always and even blaming more the international community in whatever business matters. I am sorry, but the country is moving in the wrong direction even if some people don't believe it. There was never a reality of David over Goliath. You can swim against the storm and that is the real problem what will heading the country. If the country will make it more and more uninteresting or unattractive for whatever industrial nation or western country to support or invest in Bolivia the country will turn more down to the poorest. Please keep in mind when continuing the coca business and blah, blah against the rest of the world then nobody will be interested in such minor country like Bolivia. The most important should be for Bolivia that the rest of world doesn't need Bolivia while Bolivia needs a lot from them. Please look at the numbers and facts. The country cannot exist only while chewing coca leaves. The country is ticking bomb regarding to all these infections and diseases, and Evo and his clans doing nothing for helping the people. Forget about what lies they are talking to the media, nothing happened like always in the country. Well, let's watch what might will happened down under in Bolivia over the next two years, the north is not that stupid as such Bolis shouting. Good luck anyway since I feel sorry for them at all because they cannot make be themselves at all.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim considers Evo a personal friend; Evo visits Jim in his own house, at least is what he said to me. So how is Jim going to write in an impartial way?
What to say about MAS people positioned themselves so no opposition leader could enter the Congress to vote? Evo won everywhere because he employed ways to not let opposition leaders acces to vote.
I hope that Evo will do good things for Bolivia, but I am still very concerned about his ways. I do not trust his Vice. He is a demagogue. I hope Evo is not.

6:04 PM  

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