fascists attempt to split bolivia

evo morales’ plans to rule in concord with bolivia’s oligarchs are unravelling ever further, as the right wing of the ruling class have now effectively split the country in two and the central government has lost authority over five out of nine provinces, now patrolled by fascists. the workers’ movement betrayed by morales has been left with the task of fighting the gangs hired by the landowners to ‘keep order’. from la paz, september 3rd:

The oligarchy plans to consolidate its power in the east and in the valleys, with its fascist bands seizing control of roads and the streets as the Morales Government continues to place its trust in the ballot box.

With sticks and whips in hand and using their fascist bands as a spearhead, the oligarchy – governors, right-wingers and the 100 powerful clans who own the land and big business – are consolidating their power over the east of Bolivia and the valleys.

This Wednesday, after a marathon-length meeting, the self-proclaimed Consejo Nacional Democrático (Conalde) – a regroupment of oppositionist governors, civic committees and all the forces of the moderate right and fascism – called for an extension of road blockades across five of the country’s nine provinces, stopping the referendum on the new Constitution taking place and eradicating at root the popular mobilisation against the separatists and in favour of the indigenous president Evo Morales. 

The Conalde also called for the seizure of oil facilities, cutting off all gas exports to Brazil and Argentina, as well as the seizure of government institutions, if the Morales Government does not meet its demands (giving up almost $200 million a year in taxes on hydrocarbons, and recognising their separatist and unconstitutional “autonomous status”).

The central axis of this right-wing mobilisation has been the oligarchy’s consolidation of power in the eastern provinces of Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando and the valleys of Tarija and Chuquisaca, where since last week fascist bands have subjected the population to terror: degrading women, massacring trade unionists and trampling on indigenous people in full view of the police, who are afraid to act given the level of violence and the impunity with which fascist hit-men and paramilitaries are operating.

Fascist bands

This fascist orgy started last week right in the centre of the city of Santa Cruz, not long after President Morales had published a decree setting 7th December as the date for voting on the new State Political Constitution and elections for new regional authorities, in a move soon quashed by the National Electoral Court.

According to a report by the Santa Cruz news agency ASC-Noticias “a group called Resistencia, the “wives of October”, partisans of a Christian crusade, Acción Joven and other small groups of fanatics – who have little popular support but whose shock troops can shake the place to the core – are running riot, with no fear for anyone or anything, much like the Nazi “brown-shirts” who even Hitler could not control”.

“The night that Evo Morales announced the referendum decree (Thursday) they were in the central square of Santa Cruz. Firstly the wealthy ladies shouted themselves hoarse with openly racist insults against Morales, such as “wretched Indian”, “road-blocking coca-grower”, “he doesn’t know what raising a child means”, “gay” and such like”.

On Friday these groups went from shouting to using weapons against the indigenous people: “The wealthy ladies, having got hold of several colepejis (whips) shared them with those who had brutally assaulted women from the Central Obrera [the main trade union federation]. They were joining up with separatist cowards who attacked women, by kicking them, whipping them and firing at them. A stall-holder woman who had nothing to do with the matter was savagely assaulted, left drowning in blood for the “crime” of what she was wearing and being very poor, that is to say colla (from the Altiplano).

Government regrets

This brutal aggression was caught on television cameras and beamed around the world, but, as is de rigueur in these situations, the indigenous Government restricted itself to declaring its regret about the events.

“We are ashamed, for the country, for the region and for Bolivians. Given this situation, together with the moral condemnation expressed by citizens, the people of Santa Cruz and Bolivians, there must be an investigation”, said Alvaro García Linera, speaking from the mountains of the Altiplano.

After his attacks on unarmed indigenous people and women, a leader of the fascist Unión Juvenil Cruceñista, bloodied club in hand, summarised in statements on Santa Cruz television the aims of the groups who attack immigrants from the west of the country: “We will not allow them into the square (…) we want independence, not having this wretched race on our land”.

Terror in the south

With less blood but with just as much hatred against people from the Altiplano and trade unionists, fascist bands also mounted attacks in the south, in Tarija. The vice-minister of de-centralisation, Fabián Yaksic, denounced right-wing leaders for inciting violence in Yacuiba, the scene of blockades and anti-government protests.

“They have hired hit-men from over the border who have introduced a climate of terror, and we are going to put them on trial. The Police has to be there, and given the statements we have made we hope that the Public Prosecutor begins proceedings to put an end to this state of disquiet”. Senator Ricardo Díaz declared that behind the violence stood the interests of the 15 wealthy land-owning clans, owners of the haciendas [large estates]. “This is the strategy of the latifundistas, who are provoking violence and attacking women, and the Interior Ministry is doing nothing”, he said with dismay.

Attacks in Beni

Similarly, in the north – in the fertile lands of Beni where the clans rule by the whip-hand and a peasant family is less valued than a cow – on Tuesday night fascist bands tried to seize control of the tax department offices and the regional land regulation board in the provincial capital Trinidad. For several hours fascists used molotov bombs, handguns, rocks and sticks to try and take over these institutions, which were defended by the Army.

“The traditional right has now opted for violence as its tactics. There is a state of right-wing insurgency: the president of the Comité Cívico in recent days practically made a call to arms in what was a tacitly seditious pronuncamiento” commented the President’s representative Palmiro Soria, who has been subject to fascist death-threats.

“In the eventuality that there are deaths tonight, or if I or another political leader is to be killed, I will blame governor Suárez Sattori; the president of the Comité Cívico, Alberto Melgar; and the Rurrenabaque authorities”, he said.

After a siege several hours long the fascist bands retreated, but left with a stark threat. “We will give 48 hours, starting from now, for colonel Fernando Rocabado Soto, commander of the Sixth Division of the Army, to withdraw from the province of Beni, after he ordered and led the violent repression of the people of Beni”, declared the Comité Cívico president Alberto Melgar. He made a similar warning to Soria.

Melgar also called for “a march in support of the demand for autonomy and for the dignity of the people of Beni” to take place on Thursday evening.

Such is the tension in the region that Jorge Soruco, the Human Rights representative in Beni, feeling powerless, commented: “This is racist madness, insanity, which is impossible to bear; we are living in a time where crazies in the opposition who want to take control of territory by any means necessary in order to carry out hooligan acts fight the people using an extreme degree of violence”.

Deadlock

With all these actions and their decision to step up road blockades, the oligarchy are consolidating their power over the east of the country and the valleys by terror, conscious that they will not be able to advance into the Altiplano nor upset the overwhelming support President Morales has in the rest of the country.

All-in-all, the fight between Morales and the oligarchy has reached a deadlock. In Bolivia there are two governments and an overt dual-power situation, which was entrenched by the 10th August referenda, which confirmed the authority of both Morales (67% electoral support) and his main opponents. Evo cannot go to the cities of the east or the valleys, where his followers are beaten up without mercy and with total impunity.

Those attacked there by fascist hordes receive expressions of “solidarity” and “regret” from the functionaries of the Morales Government, along with an express ban on responding to these attacks and insults. “If social movements are responding to the provocations, we regret this, since this will not get us anywhere. Our response is a peaceful one”, warned the Minister of Labour Walter Delgadillo, who from a position of safety suggests that indigenous people and workers should turn the other cheek.

However, several youth and popular organisations, especially in the poor districts of Santa Cruz (e.g. Plan 3000) have begun to organise themselves and respond to the fascist attacks with sticks and stones. “When they come, we’ll blow them out” said one of these youths who, together with his comrades, this Wednesday evening confronted the fascist groups and forced them to run away, ignoring Morales’ functionaries’ calls for “peace” and “reconciliation”.

Between desire and power

In this situation, characterised by many as “the catastrophic balance”, the oligarchy is seeking to consolidate its regional control, while Morales hopes to make a deal with this élite (although they dismiss the idea and want nothing to do with him) in order to make it possible to govern and secure his re-election.

For now, the oligarchy, as much as it wants to, cannot get rid of the “indigenous president” and has turned to preventing his re-election in 2010 and blocking his new Constitution, whilst maintaining control of the land and the natural resources of the east and of the valleys. For his part, Morales, although he could do so, does not want to move towards destroying the power of the oligarchy, as more radical sections of the trade unions and popular organisations would like: namely by fighting for the expropriation of the latifundistas and the agricultural firms, and properly nationalising gas, oil and the mines.

Evo’s intention is to make himself an ally of the oligarchy and the 100 clans, sealing a great national deal to defend representative democracy and strengthen the workings of Andean capitalism, whose main axis lies in private enterprise, multinationals and small producers with direct state support. He also wants to pass a new Political Constitution which would grant, at least in formal terms, more rights to indigenous people, hasten the capitalist development of Bolivia and open the way for his re-election in 2010.

Two days ago this plan was blocked by the National Electoral Court, which annulled the call for a constitutional referendum on 7th December, although vice-president García Linera today declared that “by decree or by law, we are going to hold a vote on the new State Political Constitution: they are not going to stop us”.

“This is irreversible: there can be no backwards step (…) They will do what they will, insulting us and attacking the elderly and children, carrying out terrorist acts and burning houses”, he said, after warning that “there will be complications, because although the right is in the minority and is boxed into a few provinces of the country, it has turned violent, rabid and desperate, and wants to generate conflict. For this reason it is important that we Bolivians mobilise to defend our democratic rights”.

“Victory is assured, but it will require mobilisation, awareness-raising and support so that President Morales can go forward” he said with illusions in calling Bolivians to the polls once again at a time when the oligarchy prefer to seize control of the streets.

The insurgents’ document

The document produced by the oligarchy in recent hours leaves no doubt in this respect. “The members of the Consejo Nacional Democrático and civil society organisations in the provinces of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Cochabamba and Tarija, meeting in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, resolve:

“First – to step up road blockades immediately across the five eastern and southern provinces, using the pressure tactics used in Bolivian Chaco to get back the IDH [hydrocarbon taxes] and in defence of the gifts which represent the historic birthright of our peoples and the material basis to implement provincial autonomy. At the same time we warn that if the central Government pursues with its policy of confiscation, we will not be held to blame for any action which impedes the supply of hydrocarbons to outside the country”.

“Second – rejection of the national Government’s proposal to introduce a text for constitutional reform which lacks legality and legitimacy, and which was written with the blood of Bolivian brothers by a clique, outside the legal home of the Constituent Assembly, Sucre, for which reason we have decided not to allow any constitutional referendum to take place which would pass these measures in our provinces”.

“Third – ratification of our decision to deepen the implementation of our statutes for autonomy as sanctioned by our people, and at the same time applauding and supporting Chuquisaca’s decisive determination to call a referendum on provincial autonomy”.

“Fourth – denouncing before the Bolivian people the central Government’s persecution of provincial authorities and civic leaders, making judgments without any legal basis”.

“Fifth – calling on citizens, organisations and the democratic institutions of the country, with no discrimination of race, political positions or religion, to take part in the formation of a broad front for the defence of a democracy which works for the pacification of the country and the full return of democracy”.

translated from the spanish from http://www.econoticiasbolivia.com

 

2 thoughts on “fascists attempt to split bolivia

  1. I’m sure the World Bank and others are pleased to see this split. From my reading, although the recent election reaffirmed Morale’s place within Bolivia, the right-wing oligarchs are simply waiting until 2010 to retake the country – and in the mean time they are making any real progress by Morale’s administration impossible.

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