Amigos de Sucre

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Posts Tagged ‘bolivia’

Another referendum in Bolivia

Friday, August 29th, 2008

President Morales has announced that the people of Bolivia are to get the chance to vote in a referendum on the future constitution of the country.  The referendum is due to take place on 7th December.

The big question is: will this be the final decision on a number of policitcal issues?

One of the changes concerns the re-election of the Bolivian President.  If he wins the vote, President Morales could be re-elected a number of times more than is currently allowed.  I for one am wondering why such a step is necessary.  After all, other countries have rules to stop a President from ruling ad infinitum, and it probably does them good to have a change very few years.  Removing this rule in Bolivia would surely be a step backwards?

The other major issue is that of autonomy for some of Bolivia’s wealther regions – something that was partially voted on back in May of this year, although the result was not recognised a national level.

So will it be different this time around?  Will the people get to chose more autonomy for their regions, as long as they agree to an indefinite number of terms for the President?

Bolivia, Chile and the (psst… Sea!)

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

It’s something that you never talk about as a visitor to Bolivia – well almost never: Bolivia’s access to the sea.  If you do, it stirs up hot feelings about at a topic that has been around for 125 years!

OK, here is the compact version of events:

– at the end of a war between Bolivia and Chile, Chile annexed land between Bolivia and the Pacific coast

– Bolivia was thus landlocked and it’s only access to a major port was by crossing the Andes and through Chile

A statue by Lake Titicaca commemorates the lost coastline

In fact, there is (or at least, was) a railway line that ran from La Paz down into Chile – the train running on it being an old S-Bahn carriage from Munich.

One of the easiest ways to think about the situation is to compare it with the connections between West Germany and West Berlin during the Cold War – they were there, but the West did not like being restricted by their neighbour and the East resented having to provide the access in the first place.

Chile allows Bolivia access to the sea, but on its terms.  Bolivia resents this, but does not really have much choice.

Take a look at the Bolivia coat of arms and you can count ten stars on it – one for each province in the country.  Except that Bolivia only has nine provinces – the tenth is the one that was annexed by Chile and remains on the coat of arms to show that Bolivia still makes a claim to this area.

So imagine my surprise this week when I read that Chile wants to give Bolivia better access to the port, such as being able to import goods without them being checked by Chilean customs.  I wonder how Bolivia will react?  More of a grateful “thank you” or will it be a case of “thanks, but we’ll like our land back and not just access to it”?

A video of the riots in Sucre

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

A while ago I blogged about the disturbances in Sucre. Today I found a video on YouTube that was filmed while they were taking place.

It’s a strange feeling to see fights and smoke in streets that are familiar to me!

Bolivia: the next Kosovo?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

You might think that the headline is a little over the top, or at least you are hopefully thinking “perish the thought!”

But actually, the ideas is not as far off as it may seem, as this report shows.

Apparently the U.S. sees Bolivia as a possible country to be split up into it’s regional areas – just as Serbia and Kosovo were split last week.  And why?  Allegedly because the U.S. does not agree with the current politics of the Bolivian Government.

I think that this is a pretty scary thought.  Whatever you feelings may be towards or against the Bolivian Government and its President, should a foreign power really be pursuing such a policy?

Have they considered the damage, that this could do to the people of Bolivia?


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