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Bolivia

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Bolivia’s perfect storm: Pandemic, economic crisis, repressive coup regime

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

August 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left —The rising toll of diseased and deceased from the Covid-19 pandemic has hit Bolivia particularly hard, in a continent that is now in the lead in global contagion rates. As of August 8, more than 100,000 cases were officially confirmed or suspected, with 3,600 deaths among a total population of just over 10 million.

The coup government, installed in November, has mismanaged the crisis from the outset. Hospitals are understaffed and ill-equipped, testing is minimal, and the main response by the de facto authorities is to threaten lengthy jail terms for those who circulate “inaccurate” information about the pandemic — in a country where only a minority of workers are employed, the vast majority eking out a living in the “informal” economy of street markets and self-employment.

Typical of its approach, the interim regime headed by President Jeanine Añez was quick to expel more than 700 Cuban healthcare workers who, under the previous government, had provided needed services in remote areas and helped to train new medical staff.

Bolivia’s 'caretaker' government makes radical foreign policy changes ― and wins over powerful allies

 

 

By Guillaume Long  

February 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from CEPR — Foreign policy, an area very much in the hands of the executive branch, has afforded Bolivia´s de facto president Jeanine Añez, who does not behold a parliamentary majority, an ideal outlet for her radical program. Within days of taking power, the Añez government had cut off relations with Venezuela, expelled its diplomatic staff, recognized instead the self-proclaimed government of Juan Guaidó, and swiftly abandoned the ALBA group of states to join its right-wing counterweight, the Group of Lima. Bolivia soon reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel and rekindled close ties with the United States that had been seriously eroded since the US ambassador to Bolivia had been caught having secret meetings with key opposition figures in the midst of a violent separatist movement aimed at ousting Morales’s government in 2008.

Bolivia: Final statement of the World Conference of the Peoples “For a World Without Borders towards Universal Citizenship”

 

 

June 24, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Dawn News — This is the final statement of the World Conference of the Peoples For a World Without Borders towards Universal Citizenship, which took place at Tiquipaya, 400 kilometers from La Paz between June 19-20:

 

Pablo Solon on ‘Vivir Bien’: Going beyond capitalism?

 

 

To overcome the systemic crisis of humanity and Mother Earth 
we must turn to indigenous ecological concepts, says Pablo Solón in his new book

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

 

September 30, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left -- In his balance sheet of Bolivia’s “process of change,” Bolivian intellectual and activist Pablo Solón advanced some proposals for a new course inspired by the ideas of Vivir Bien, a philosophy associated with the indigenous peoples of the Andean countries of South America. Vivir Bien, roughly translated as “living well,” is incorporated as a guiding principle of the state in the new constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia.[1]

 

Bolivia VP Alvaro Garcia Linera on the ebbing Latin American tide

 

 

Extracts of vive-president Garcia Linera's address at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (May, 27, 2016).

 

September 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — We are facing a historical turning point in Latin America. Some are talking about a throwback, about restorers moving forward. The truth is that in the last twelve months, after ten years of intense progress, of territorial diffusion of the progressive and revolutionary governments in the continent, this progress has stalled, in some cases it has given ground, and in some other cases its continuity is in doubt. Wherever conservative forces have succeeded, an accelerated process of reconstitution of the old elites of the 80s and 90s, which seek to take control of the management of the state, is under way.

 

Bolivia’s ‘process of change’ needs a change in course – Pablo Solón

 

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

 

September 8, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission — The global drop in commodity prices has been detrimental to the development strategy of many Latin American governments, some of which had used the new income from increased exports of largely unprocessed resources, accompanied by higher royalties and taxes, during the last decade to reduce poverty levels and reinforce and institute new social programs, while attempting to create new industries oriented to the domestic market or adding value to their exports.

 

After vice-minister beaten to death by miners, Bolivia reflects

 

 

By Pablo Stefanoni, translated by Federico Fuentes

 

August 31, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal originally published in Spanish at Nueva Sociedad — The conflict between the Bolivian government and cooperative miners is new not in terms of its dynamic, but in terms of its scale: the brutal death of a vice-minister, beaten after being kidnapped, has cause a commotion in a country accustomed to radical social protests. Moreover, the crime has put in doubt the advances made towards creating a “strong state”, Evo Morales goal since 2006: not even during the 2003 Gas War, which brought down the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada government, has a similar type of aggression occurred against such a high level functionary.

 

A tactical defeat in Bolivia: Evo's re-election referendum defeat and the future of the process of change

 

By Alfredo Rada Vélez, Bolivian vice-minister for coordination with social movements

 

March 17, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from La Razon by Sean Seymour-Jones -- Let’s start with the positives. On February 21, rural voters stood firm in their support for [Bolivian president] Evo Morales. I’m talking about the rural communities of La Paz, Oruro, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Potosí, as well as the bastions of San Julián and Yapacaní in Santa Cruz, and various provinces in Pando, Beni and Tarija. The Yes vote also triumphed overwhelmingly in Huanuni, Colquiri and San Cristóbal, home of the strongest miners unions. The vote of factory and construction workers, the largest proletarian components of the COB [Bolivian Workers Central], was felt in the working class neighbourhoods of La Paz, in the most populated districts of El Alto, as well as in Vinto, Quillacollo in the plebian zone in the south of the city of Cochabamba, and in the barrios and in Plan Tres Mil in the city of Santa Cruz. The vote of other urban neighbourhood sectors was particularly important in El Alto, La Paz, Cochabamba and Oruro. In other word, the indigenous-working class-popular base of the process of change continues to back Evo, as this was the main class composition of the support received.

 

Is South America’s ‘progressive cycle’ at an end? Neo-developmentalist attempts and socialist projects

Protest by Indigenous Women against Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in August last year
.

by Claudio Katz, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

February 5, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission — In this ambitious and compelling overview of the strategic and programmatic issues at stake in South America today, Argentine political economist Claudio Katz expands on many of the observations he made in an earlier interview while critically analyzing contrasting approaches to development that are being pursued or proposed. Translation from the Spanish and endnotes are by me. – Richard Fidler

Summary

Social Movements and Progressive Governments - Building a New Relationship in Latin America

Marta Harnecker (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

 

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Richard Fidler

 

January 2016 — Monthly Review, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission — In recent years a major debate has emerged over the role that new social movements should adopt in relation to the progressive governments that have inspired hope in many Latin American nations. Before addressing this subject directly, though, I want to develop a few ideas.

 

The situation in the 1980s and ’90s in Latin America was comparable in some respects to the experience of pre-revolutionary Russia in the early twentieth century. The destructive impact on Russia of the imperialist First World War and its horrors was paralleled in Latin America by neoliberalism and its horrors: greater hunger and poverty, an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, unemployment, the destruction of nature, and the erosion of sovereignty.

 

Bolivia's green gains the media and critics are not talking about

Bolivians receive free tree saplings as part of the "My Tree" program, which combats deforestation. Photo via TeleSUR.

For more on Bolivia, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Bolivia's President Evo Morales announced in May that his government was allowing oil and gas drilling in national parks, mainstream and progressive media outlets alike were quick to condemn his supposed hypocrisy on environmental issues.

Writing for the Associated Press, Frank Bajak argued that although Morales is known internationally for his outspoken campaigning on climate change, at home he faces constant criticism from conservationists “who say he puts extraction ahead of clean water and forests”.

Bajak said this contradiction was a result of Morales’ strategy of developing extractive industries as a means of cutting poverty, regardless of the environmental cost.

'Extractivism' debate continues: Beyond lithium (and other poisons)

The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia are home to over half the world's lithium deposits.

By Don Fitz

April 17, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Policies that expand “extractivism” in progressive Latin American countries bring up a host of contradictions: How do the short-term benefits of financial gain from extraction compare to its long-term destructiveness? What options are available for reducing poverty without increasing mining, logging and GMO monocultures? Could the climate change effects of extraction actually hurt the world’s poor more than helping them? How can struggles against extractivism chart a path to economies based on human need rather corporate profits?

The lithium fantasy

Bolivia: Voters reaffirm ‘process of change’ but warn governing MAS

Bolivia Elections

Voting in Bolivia’s elections, March 29, 2015.

For more on Bolivia, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

April 6, 2015 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Up to 90% of the electorate voted in Bolivia’s “subnational” elections March 29 for governors, mayors and departmental assembly and municipal council members throughout the country. These were the second such elections to be held since the new constitution came into force in 2009, the first being in 2010.

Eric Toussaint: SYRIZA, Podemos and the way towards power for the people

Click for more on SYRIZA, Podemos, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Adam Clark-Gimmig

February 18, 2015 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experience proves that left-wing movements can come to be in government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more.

The problem is currently being faced in Greece with SYRIZA, and will have to be faced in Spain with Podemos (if that party wins the general elections in late 2015), as it was faced in the past, in Venezuela with the election of Hugo Chávez as president in December 1998, in Bolivia with Evo Morales in 2005, in Ecuador with Rafael Correa in December 2006, or several decades earlier with Salvador Allende in Chile in 1970 |1|.

ALBA after ten years

ALBA
By John Riddell

February 23, 2015 --  Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.

* * *

Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.

Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.

Thoughts on reform, revolution, social change and elections in light of SYRIZA's win

Hugo Chavez and supporters at Chavez’s final campaign rally in Caracas on October 4, 2013, three days before his re-election as president.

Click for more discussion of SYRIZA, Latin America and revolutionary organisation

By Mike Treen, director of the Unite union in Aotearoa/New Zealand

February 19, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party in Greece and a possible victory of the similarly radical party Podemos in Spain has raised the hopes of millions of people across Europe and the globe that we can put an end to austerity-type policies, put in place policies that will protect working people from the capitalist crisis and advance society to a new era of social justice governments.

(Updated Jan. 28) Greece: Venezuela welcomes SYRIZA victory; International left celebrates

[Please return regularly for updates.]

January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela's government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, 2015, reports TeleSur English. Tsipras has been inaugurated as the country's prime minister.

A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”

Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua tweeted: “The Greek people, after a long and historic battle against neoliberalism, has crowned itself a wonderful victory. Syriza is fresh air for Europe!”

Lateinamerika: Ende der 'Rosa Welle' vorschnell prognostiziert

Dilma Rousseff.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4184.]

Von Federico Fuentes; Übersetzung: Christian Klar

01.12.2014 -- amerika21.de -- Seit Anfang des Jahres haben zahlreiche Zeitungen vorhergesagt, dass sich ein Niedergang der sogenannten "Pink Tide" abzeichnet. Der Begriff "Pink Tide" wird verwendet, um die Welle von Regierungen links der Mitte in Lateinamerika zu bezeichnen, die in den vergangenen Jahren durch Wahlen an die Regierung kamen. Eine Reihe von ihnen waren bereits wiedergewählt worden und Meinungsforscher und Kommentatoren gleichermaßen erörterten, dass für viele nun ihre Zeit an der Regierung um sei.

Stattdessen sahen die Brasilianer am Sonntag, den 26. Oktober, Dilma Rousseff als wiedergewählte Präsidentin eine vierte Amtszeit in Folge für die Arbeiterpartei beginnen. Noch am selben Tag gaben die Wähler im benachbarten Uruguay der amtierenden Frente Amplio (FA) eine Mehrheit in beiden Kammern des Parlaments, und FA-Kandidat Tabaré Vasquez geht als heißer Favorit in die zweite Runde der Präsidentschaftswahlen, nachdem er 49,5 Prozent der Stimmen in der ersten Runde gewann – im Vergleich zu 32 Prozent für seinen zweitstärksten Rivalen.

Latin America: Why predictions of an ebb in the 'Pink Tide' proved premature

On October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration.

By Federic Fuentes

December 7, 2014 -- first published in TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Since the start of the year, numerous newspapers have dedicated article after article to predictions of a looming demise of the so-called “Pink Tide”. The term is used to refer to the wave of left-of-centre governments elected to power in Latin America during recent years.

A number of these governments were up for re-election this year, and pollsters and commentators alike argued that for many, their time in government was up.

Instead, on October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration. That same day, voters in neighboring Uruguay handed the incumbent Broad Front (FA) a majority in both houses of parliament, and FA candidate Tabare Vasquez went into the second round of the presidential elections as hot favorite after winning 49.5% of the vote in the first round (compared with 32% for his nearest rival).

Challenging the globalisation of indifference: Pope Francis meets with popular movements

The author, Judith Marshall, meets Pope Francis.

By Judith Marshall

November 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have recently returned from three fascinating days in Rome where I participated in a World Meeting of Popular Movements. This event brought to the Vatican a throng of articulate delegates from among the poor and excluded of the 21st Century, people fighting for land, for housing, for work and for dignity. Pope Francis was a central force in creating this gathering in Rome. Our meeting with him in the Old Synod Hall of the Basilica was a high point.

The meeting brought together 150 delegates. Thirty of them were Bishops from various parts of the world whose ministries include strong accompaniment and support for movements of the poor. The other 120 came from various popular movements working on the thematic issues of the meeting – Terra, Labor, Domus. Men and women fighting for land, work and housing were present from every continent. In a statement from the organisers, the logic was clear.

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