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Bolivia In The Middle Of Democratic Revolution Politics Essay

Bolivia has become a politically and socially deeply divided country. Since the year 2000 social conflicts have intensified significantly. Some blame the tension to the economical dissatisfaction in the country, which is due to Bolivia’s neo-liberal economic policies. These events resulted in a revolt in October 2003 by which the former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada was banned from Bolivia. His presidential follower was Carlos Mesa who resigned his presidency in June 2005.

Evo Morales was elected in December 2005 and his victory was an expression of the power of most people who included workers, indigenous, laborers and country population. Even left-liberal members who wanted a fundamental change in the government voted for him. Morales became the first indigenous president in the story of Bolivia, and his party MAS (Socialism Movement / Movimiento Socialista) gain majority in the parliament. Since then, the president Evo Morales has transformed Bolivia into a new era.

The project “Re-founding Bolivia” was taken widely accepted and appreciated. The MAS now has three-fourths of the majority in the Parliament. The new constitution was widely approved by the population and the people’s recognition of the country government has such a great political legitimacy and acceptance. These events seem to lead to a democratic revolution itself. Like President Morales said “We are the government of the social movements”.

From an International perspective the government of Bolivia has been proclaiming his popular movements as a guideline for Latin America. However, we need to think about these situations and evaluate if the social justice is a positive solution. Direct democracy and solidarity are the main elements that should build a positive political charge.

The socio-ethnic hierarchy pyramid of the Bolivian society, a legacy of the colonial period, has marked and shaped the personal and political relations in the country, until the beginning of the 21st Century. The indigenous or the indigenous-mestizo population kept the lowest social status and were marginalized socially and culturally. The concepts of nation and a modern country were merely based in the Western notions and the dominant European middle and upper classes. Therefore in Bolivia the interests and self-image became the basic status around the population. 

The MIP (Movimiento Indigena Pachakuti) The movement of the indigenous Pachakuti is pursuing a radical project of total Indianisation of the political power structures. Through this movement the political disclosure is referred and based on the construct of “indigenous identity”. Aymara people in Bolivia generalize heir culture as if they are “traditional people” original and the pioneers of their race. This input is based on the connection to the Marxist ideas and it builds popular movements as tradition. The representation of that movement is reflected with the different social classes, regions and the ethnic identities, having the possibility to become the strongest left parliamentary force. 

The data taken from the 2005 elections in Bolivia, demands social movements and their government social program has a negative view of the “white” power groups. These problematic have involved massive interventions in their living and the right way to rule. Some key figures in the first term were the urban civic committee of the lowland departments. Secession threats, racist rhetoric and attacks are accompanied by violent confrontations.

First Mandate 2005 - 2009

Evo Morales owes its popularity mainly to the fact of his 2005 campaign promised re-nationalization of the oil and the gas sector, with the increase in taxes, therefore the increase of government revenue from gas exports. These meant the cancellation and the renegotiation of the contracts with the international participant companies. In addition, a new formula of revenue in distribution, favor the government finance, investment, infrastructure and social programs.

More election promises were implemented democratically, until legitimize the Assembly Constitutionally. With this new path President Evo Morales include the administrative, political reorganization of the country, including the grassroots participatory structures. Also, poverty reduction programs were adopted, particular social programs for students, pensioners and pregnant women. With the reform law of land, the state granted to indigenous communities, not productively usage of large states of land, in favor of expropriation. The implementation of the reform of land brought up massive resistance of agricultural entrepreneurs in the lowlands, but is actively pursued.

While under the provisions of “Coca si, Cocaina no” coca was cultivated and legalized. This was an imposition and destruction o the United States policy and military approve. This coca cultivation is not mean to be for cocaine process whatsoever. However, the drug production and trafficking should be tackled systematically. The activities of the government in this field are relatively weak. –Vice President Alvaro Linera admitted how this is very little visible; to move apart the social programs for the implementation of the requirement of social movements.

According to the true policy of the major projects in the field of natural resources, criticism started to affect the communities and become not sufficient as a consultation and participation in major project decision opinions.  Bolivia is the initiative of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who joined and alternative Latin American development Bank. New political friends, of which Bolivia is hoping to invest, are Iran, China and Libya, while another campaign promise was to combat corruption as well.

Conflict and Confrontation

The first term was marked by the conflict with the lowland departments, especially with the Citizens Committee of Santa Cruz. This conflict scenario had already begun before Morales was elected president to 2005. The focus was on the gas-oil policy. In addition to the reorganization of the distribution of revenue from the gas sector, the new Constitution as an expression of political change (el cambio) and the reform of land law at the expense of the large estates other key points of conflict.

The political confrontation intensified when Morales announced a referendum about the new constitution. Previously a referendum was taken to decide on the destiny on Morales and Linera in charge. The referendum was demanded by the opposition and on August 10, 2008; Morales entered the cabinet with two thirds of the votes from this referendum. Despite the votes, a split city and country areas he was recognized. Morales was able to score votes in the country regions however the opposition got most of the votes in the urban areas. Never than less, supported by his voters, Morales continued and the Political escalation went to the next round. The opposition refused political negotiations and reacted with a blocking-strategy, which led to destruction of public property, injuries and even deaths. Bolivia was now on the edge of a civil war. After both sides opened up for negotiations more than 100 articles were changed to comply with the critics of the opposition, however intense conflicts with the opposition were still present.  

 

“Evos” personal victory – 2009 Elections

The new government will continue to receive resistance from the opposition, despite the majority of votes in both chambers. Especially new laws about the avocation of judges of the high court, the autonomy laws from 2008, die indigenes autonomy and die application of the agricultural reform, offer significant conflict points to the opposition.

On December 6, 2009, Bolivia once again had to vote. This election was not just a representation of the general satisfaction of the past government period, but also would be used as a measurement tool for the acceptance of the change in progress, which this government started. Morales und his party MAS were able to top their success from 2005 and this was manually due to the strong personality of Evo Morales, who establish significant trust and support within the voting community. This is also shown in the regional, - municipal- and mayor elections from April 2010. The MAS was able to increase their counts of prefects, however had a decrease in agreements in seven departments. The opposition continued to maintain the majority in the departments Tarija, Santa Cruz and Beni.

Bolivian analysis concluded that the president was unable to transfer his popularity to his party. The results showed furthermore, that voters from urbanized areas are skeptical about the concentration of power which is been enjoyed by the MAS party and by “Evo”.

The new Constitution

The concept of the "plurinational" state is now constitutional guideline: the 36 indigenous languages were recognized as official languages, the social, economic and cultural human rights were upgraded - including the collective right. Democracy was strengthened by participation, representation and numerous plebiscites and grassroots elements. The administrative reorganization, according to four levels of autonomy will be: Department, Region, municipalities and indigenous autonomous areas. These types of autonomy overlap to some extent geographically, which requires consultation and coordination laws. This reorganization remains controversial. Special conflict substances are the autonomy statutes of the lowlands and the indigenous autonomy: "The right to autonomy, recognition of their culture, institutions and the consolidation of its territorial entities" is justified by the "pre-colonial existence of the traditional indigenous compassions and peoples.” The Recognition as indigenous autonomy was based on the basis of statutory criteria.

The political role of the indigenous peoples will also be strengthened institutionally, such as through their own candidates for the parliamentary elections and the guarantee of participation in the parliamentary elections in rural areas and those departments where we can find minorities. The indigenous justice is equal and parallel to state legal system. Indigenous peoples have the right to manage their affairs on their authority and in accordance with its norms, values and procedures, all this, to ensure that the different legal practices of the indigenous peoples are taken into account. However, according to the Constitution, the "right to life", the "right to defend" the Constitution established rights and the parent. Relevant laws and regulations in parliament that look for clarify many details are not compatible with human rights.

The natural resources as gas and oil have become the legal merits of the nationalization, however, there is exploitation and distribution of these natural resources. A major guideline on trade should be the fight against poverty and inequality. The rights of women in all areas have been strengthened. Women and men are equal. Any discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, ideology or language is prohibited and sanctioned. Under pressure from women's and human rights organizations, the government has announced to give the appropriate legislation and implementing regulations priority in the new parliament.

 

In conclusion

Evo Morales launched his project of founding Bolivia in a democratic way, hoping for a transformation process, but the routing is very competitive. As of democracy, the progress in the indigenous areas has turned to a strong political participation point of social movements. As cliffs proves not only the confrontation of the political opposition, but also the various social movements. With Evo Morales there are sometimes very different interests’ purposes and always the maximalist demands, which sometimes are not compatible, because they make an uncertain path.

 

 

Work Cited

"permanentrevolution." Evo Morales' relation to Bolivia's social movements. 01/13/2010, 01/13/2010. Web. 18 Oct 2010. <http://www.permanentrevolution.net/entry/2932>.

"Che and Evo: ¡Hasta La Victoria Siempre!." Demockracy. N.p., 12/12/2008. Web. 18 Oct 2010. <http://demockracy.com/che-and-evo-hasta-la-victoria-siempre/>.

"thirdworldtraveler." Revolution in Bolivia. N.p., 01/06/2005. Web. 18 Oct 2010.

<http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/South_America/Revolution_Bolivia.html

"Suite101.com." Evo Morales Favored for Re-election in Bolivia. N.p., 11/20/2009. Web. 18 Oct 2010. <http://www.suite101.com/content/evo-morales-favored-for-reelection-in-bolivia-a172070>.

"US Department of State." Bolivia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct 2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35751.htm>.

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