Monday, December 19, 2005
Bolivia elects Evo Morales, an Indigenous Coca Farmer.
Evo Morales, 46, an Aymara Indian and former coca farmer who also promises to roll back American-prescribed economic changes, had garnered up to 51 percent of the vote, according to televised quick-count polls, which tally a sample of votes at polling places and are considered highly accurate. He said he is against cocaine, but for coca.
At 9 p.m., his leading challenger, Jorge Quiroga, 45, an American-educated former president who was trailing by as much as 20 percentage points, admitted defeat in a nationally televised speech.
Bolivia has had an upsurge on political action in the last five years, starting with the April 2,000 struggle in Cochabamba, over privatization of water.
In May-June 2005, a country wide strike took place, centering in La Paz, shut down roads, held meetings and rallies, calling for the nationalization of gas. The rank and file of Evo Morales's party MAS (Movement Toward Socialism), joined in. It was a situation of dual power. On one hand was the mass movement of workers and peasants, and on the other side was the oligarchy, and sections of the army. The army was politically split. There was talk in the oligarchy of splitting up the country. It was a revolutionary situation. The masses were realizing there demands were not going to be met by parlimentary means.
There was no leadership who knew how to take power. In the last minute, a deal was reached, calling for early elections.
Evo Morales always believed in the electoral path. Morales has gone out of his way to reassure the ruling class and imperialism, even having meetings in Europe with Repsol and other multinationals with interests in Bolivia, meeting the ambassadors of EU countries and even having a secret meeting with the US embassy. His vice-presidential candidate, former guerrilla ideologist Garcia Linera, made it clear from the beginning that he thinks socialism is off the agenda in Bolivia and that he favours the development of some sort of “Andean capitalism”. Nevertheless, the imperialists and their Bolivian agents feel extremely uneasy about the likely victory of Evo Morales in Sunday’s elections. They are not so concerned about Morales himself, but they are terrified of the forces that stand behind Morales.
I believe Morales should be supported, not as a savior, but as a leader, who may be pushed by the expectations of the mass movement.
In a very significant move the US took some 30 surface-to-air HN-5A missiles from the Bolivian army. These are highly portable and easy to use missiles of the same kind used by the Iraqi resistance.
Posted by Frank Partisan at 12:25 AM