Counting the votes in Bolivia

Washington and the Oligarchy Win in Bolivia: Referendum Ratifies the Country’s Dismemberment

Heinz Dieterich – Rebelión

Translation: Machetera

The August 10th recall referendum in Bolivia, contrary to certain triumphal interpretations, is a clear defeat for the government that not only reinforces the country’s de facto division, but grants the subversive separatists a halo of legality that they did not possess before.

The government’s position has not moved forward because it was already known beforehand that Evo counted on around 60% of the public’s sympathies. Those who did consolidate and emerge more powerful were the prefects of Santa Cruz, Rubén Costas, with almost 70% of the vote, and of Beni, Ernesto Suárez, with around 68%, both (regionally) surpassing the vote for Evo. As a consequence of the voting, the separatists now “legally” govern five of the nine departments (provinces) of the country.

Rubén Costas, the undisputed leader of the sedition, has interpreted the vote as a “new ratification of departmental autonomy” and has announced a program for an autonomous republic that includes the implementation of its own legislative assembly; standards such as an “autonomous living wage”; the election by popular vote of sub-governors and co-leaders; the “control, taxation and distribution of the resources pertaining to the department”; the creation of a departmental tax agency and the constitution of its own police force.

The referendum debacle was predictable for two reasons: a) the social administrative strength of the oligarchic imperial subversion was well known and b) it was known that the subversion would not respect any kind of democratic mandate, just as it has done during the last two years. What sense was there then, in holding a referendum where nothing could be gained and in which, to the contrary, the separatist sedition of the last 18 months would be legalized and legitimized?

The decision to hold a recall referendum is typical of the liberal thought that hegemonizes the praxis of the Bolivian government which continues to cling to illusions of a bourgeois regime and that continues to play in the field of bourgeois legality and legitimacy while facing a fascist enemy, all the while losing one real bastion of power after another, until it will have to turn over power entirely.

The Bolivian government and the national and international liberals who advise it, does not want to acknowledge that the Bolivian situation is that which Mao Tse Tung synthesized in 1938, when he said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” In all conflicts between democratic power (Evo’s government) and seditious/anti-democratic powers, force is decisive: in the Bolivian case, the organization and the weapons of the two adversaries.

The more time Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera waste in meetings and declarations by artists and intellectuals, ratifications of constitutions, Nobel peace prizes or referendums, instead of organizing the real power that will decide the Bolivian theatre – which is evolving toward a handover of power to the neoliberals or civil war – the more their position is weakened.

The defeat of constitutional power by the seditious faction, in Bolivia, aggravates the situation in the Southern Cone that has been generated by the end of the Kirchner project in Argentina. Both defeats are due to mistakes in the national direction: in Kirchner’s case, the arrogance of power, and in Evo’s and Álvaro’s, the hegemony of liberal thought and the absence of vision from the popular-indigenous vanguard.

The first independence, from 1808 to 1825, was lost through the objective conditions of the Latin American revolution that made it impossible to win it permanently. If the present battle for the Grand Patria is lost, it will be due to subjective conditions: the lack of awareness of the Latin American political classes in power.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

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