Friday, August 12, 2005

Elections in Bolivia

These days I have been pleasantly surprised at the coverage that some blogs made about the bolivian political situation. You can see the campaign is very active. The political parties the usually took all the power in previous governments (MNR, ADN, MIR) are not the main protagonists in this new season. There are new parties but some of the candidates have emerged from the previous parties. So you can't really say that the political landscape has changed that much. Of course, that will depend on the collaborators that they will choose to run the country.

When explaining the political situation to some of my friends, I said to them that I do not believe Evo Morales, candidate of MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo), is going to win. He is the leader of the main party that leads the alternative political groups (that is alternative to the ones traditionally in power). While previously he had good support from the people, he lost support because of the troubles that Bolivia had been in, some months ago. Initially he tried to portray himself more moderate than he was, but later, he became more extreme when he saw that the other alternative groups were accusing him of being too moderate and conciliatory. In the end he decided to go for the extreme proposals (nationalize gas) and extreme measures (block roads) losing the support that he previously had.

I have been reading that a political analyst Alvaro Garcia Linera, proposed that all the left forces (what I have been haphazardly been calling alternative) should unite for the december elections. While now, at least a leader of a political party (MIP) sneered at the proposal, it may well be possible that later they decide to unite for the elections. Most often in politics, these leaders just see their short-term gains, however, these movements are becoming more important day by day. If these groups would unite under a project, to me they would project the image of finally being organized for construction and compromise rather than easy criticism and destruction. Enough of my ignorant ramblings! Let's see what the blogs say!

At barrio flores Eduardo talks about Joaquino, the Potosi mayor, running for presidency. His party, Frente Amplio, is an alliance of several mayors of bolivian cities. I can recall reading a report from CEDLA or CEDIB (use google my dear reader) talking about corruption in municipalities. This report gave quite a good image of the work being done in Potosi and La Paz. They mentioned that bureaucracy was being reduced and the townhall was made more efficient. I wish I could find that report (I tried yesterday) so you could read it. If a reader can find it, I will be grateful if you can provide me a link. If the information in the report is accurate, we can expect that the people of these party doing an acceptable job in running the country.

Miguel is quite a prolific blogger, he produced many posts about the electoral situation in Bolivia. In this one he describes the proposal to unite leftist parties by Garcia Linera. You will find a lot of information there and in the comments. It might be interesting to know for you that Alvaro Garcia Linera and Felipe Quispe were part of an armed group that performed some attacks on bolivian infrastructure.

Miguel's most recent post deals with Tuto Quiroga's candidature and his group Alianza Siglo XXI. While Tuto Quiroga represents the counterpart to the (gas nationalization) proposals put forth by, say, MAS. He is seen as supportive of the current neoliberal policies. However he managed to make alliances with citizen groups in El Alto, which is the city that started the problems some months ago.

There has been interesting analysis by Jim in the democracy center. You can read this post and its comments about the Garcia Linera proposal. Another post questions the ability of the MAS to govern Bolivia if they get the presidency.

Never too old to learn new things

I always watched with some envy the skaters that would pass nearby when i was biking. I used to think that i would eventually learn to do this. The motivation came when i saw a huge caravan of them skating past my apartment. There were a few hundreds of them. It is very pleasant to skate in the Netherlands, everywhere the ground is flat and there are bike roads everywhere. You don't have to worry very much about cars.

So i decided it was time to learn now and decided to buy a pair of skates with my accomplice. I still didn't have the pleasure of skating for kilometers aroudn Utrecht. I am still to inexperienced to risk crashing into someone else. So i usually go into the park (Wilhelmina park) and spend an hour trying to learn something. It definitely helped that at this age i lost my shame. Everybody was laughing at my comical attempts to keep my balance. The first time it was impossible since every step i took just made the situation worse. If you have seen movies in which an unfortunate victim is sliding over some slippery surface with the feet and legs going in all directions, you have the picture.

Unfortunately it has been a bit hard to practice because the weather over here is horrible. Is it summer yet? We still don't see much of it. I still have hopes that the sun comes out more often to be able to practice my newly acquired skills!

There is still hope that Alexey can still learn though. Just a few more falls! And once i know how to go fast the nice wounds will start to arrive. I owe a debt to my accomplice and skate teacher (she also makes pictures of my accidents as you could see before).