Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Will Bolivia elect elections?

In a previous post I explained the problems that Bolivia is going through to have a general election in December. Last week the Bolivian blogosphere thought that this problems were solved. Given the inability of the region representatives to reach an agreement, the current president, Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, issued a decree stating the new distribution of congress seats among the regions. Oruro and Potosi lose each one seat, La Paz loses two while you have Cochabamba winning one and Santa Cruz winning three.

All that was left was for the congress to approve the decree. However, it was not clear whether the congress would approve the presidential decree, so it was decided to postpone the sessions to this week. By then it was already known that the representatives of Santa Cruz were not going to participate in the session. While they wouldn't block this decree, they would save their faces by showing their disapproval somehow. Alas, the positions have radicalized again from last week. Now Oruro is not participating in the session, the Potosi representatives might vote it down and some La Paz deputies are considering filing a unconstitutionality demand against the elections.

Last week, I was waiting for this process to unfold before posting. I was sure that this decree would pass and all the circus these days was a way for the congressmen to avoid any kind of association with the decree. For months the congress avoided hard choices and procrastinated. I thought that the goal of the congressmen was having the president saving the day so that they can go away with clean hands. That is, they cannot be accused of working against their regions. Now there is the danger of further disagreement and delay.

In that last post I also pointed to an anti-university manifesto. Now Oswaldo has posted a follow up to it. He moderates a little bit one of his proposals (close the university altogether). He also answers to one comment criticizing him of just voicing ideas. He allegedly organized an assembly from which a letter came out to the university authorities. He goes on to criticize the university's love of money.

Last time I was pondering his extreme positions in my head. Closing the university is too much, but change has to be done by external factors it seems. As is currently, an academic has little choice but to play with the system. Although most authorities are elected, authoritarianism is a big component of university organizations. The academic (and staff) must strictly observe the hierarchical structure.

Pressure for improvement from the government has to weaken the sacred "autonomía universitaria", which means a hard struggle against the university. The electoral offers would have to include university reform so that this process has legitimacy in the face of the "autonomí­a universitaria" argument. Maybe in the next elections.


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