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Archive for April, 2009

Offer for Spanish learners on Twitter

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

If you’re learning Spanish with a view to visiting Bolivia, then you may be interested in the offer that I read this morning on Twitter.

The Notes in Spanish store is offering 47% off ANYTHING until midnight tonight (EST).  The site offers podcasts for learners of Spanish at different levels, and the store contains the transcripts, vocabulary lists and exercises that accompany them.

But not only will you need to hurry to take advantage of the offer, you’ll need the promotion code as well.  You’ll find it on this Twitter feed.

Open Veins of Latin America

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The latest bestseller book may not come directly from Bolivia, but it deals with the history of the South American contintent as a whole.

I am, of course, talking about “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” by Eduardo Galeano.  A book that only last week was probably little known, even amongst Latin American enthusiasts, but has now risen to fame after President Chavez of Venezuela gave a copy to President Obama.

The book is available on Amazon, although it currently shows delivery times of up to 6 weeks!

Morales ends hunger strike

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

One of the main German news programmes reported last night that President Morales has ended his hunger strike.  He has good reason too, as the Bolivian senate has now approved his electoral reforms, meaning that he can re-elected in December and remain in office until 2015.

Some last-minute bargaining tactics meant that he had to make some concessions himself, but in return he can introduce the collection of biometric data to allow for digital fingerprinting after the election.

A president on hunger strike

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I had to look twice at the headline on the BBC News website yesterday: “Bolivian leader on hunger strike”.  Surely they didn’t mean Evo Morales?

They did.  But then, there are not many other Bolivian leaders that get reported on the news here.  President Morales has gone on hunger strike until the Bolivian senate passes a new law.

It all sounds a bit crazy and certainly something that I would not expect to happen in Europe.  Can you imaging Gordon Brown or Angela Merkel going on hunger strike to get their respective parliaments to pass new legislation?  Or indeed any of their predecessors?

So what’s it all about?

Well, if I understand everything correctly, then the law should reform some of the electoral boundaries within Bolivia.  Now, when a country like the United Kingdom reforms their electoral boundaries an electoral commission takes into account social developments such as the number of people living within a given area.  It then makes recommendations to parliament as to the changes.  Ideally this happens in the middle of a Government’s term of office, so as not to affect the outcome of any elections.

In Bolivia’s case, the changes appear to be along ethnic lines and already the media is predicting that President Morales would stand to benefit in future elections from the changes.

The electoral boundaries should be drawn up to make elections as fair as possible, and the elected members of the senate have a responsibility to make that this is the case.  Trying to force the senate into approving those boundaries beyond their will surely has no place in modern democary?


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