Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bolivian negotiation 101 = blockades

What is the intention to live year around with strikes and blockades? this is not the times of getting out of a dictatorship; nor is it the attempts to grow politically like current president and his political party did before assuming power six years ago. Today’s editorial from Los Tiempos excerpts follow:

Blockades, a collective suicidal weapon
During the past few days,  as in the worst times when this was a routine practice, Bolivians are still victims again one of the most absurd manifestations,  which has among its main symptoms the inclination toward national suicide: blockades of roads.

The phenomenon has assumed such magnitude that it can already be considered as a feature of our idiosyncrasies that can not only be understood in political or sociological terms.

The irrationality of such conduct has reached its maximum extent during the last days when country-wide, and for the most diverse and surprising reasons, there have been blocked roads, side roads, avenues and streets. And on the same paths, already blocked, other do the same, as there are many fractions in which “social movements” supporting the Government, are divided; they are rivals, and on behalf of the “change process”, they are devoted to build their own barricades. [as if that would necessary to demonstrate to the political party in government, which fraction/group is stronger than the other; they are showing forces, they are at a stage where they want more shares from governmental power and influence…]

Meanwhile, on both sides of the blockades, thousands of trucks, traders, exporters, businessmen, and ordinary citizens find no one who could meet/attend their pleas and solidarize/empathize with their desperation. They can only expect to run with their heavy losses and cud bitterness that produces to live in a country in which the paths to progress and individual and collective well-being remain as closed as five, ten or more years ago.

A few years ago, when from the trenches of the political opposition, [the current ruling party] the movement to socialism brought the practice of the blockades to levels that defy all rationality, and it was subject to harsh criticism. But they [really] never served any [purpose] because the politically motivation that encouraged those blockers was stronger.

Indeed, the stifling of the national production apparatus through the blockades of roads was fully consistent with a political project that has seen with disdain the negative impact on the productive activity, since it had as its main and sole priority the conquest of power. [just remember current vice-president remark: we have the government, now we have to go after full control, full power]

Now the circumstances are very different, but the result is the same. The multiple demands of society, from the largest to the most banal, are channeled through locks and none of the bodies of the State apparatus is shown, even remotely, with the ability to deal with them. [in the past when coca growers or other members of current political party in government were engaging in blockades, police was sent there to cleat the paths, as it is in our old/new Constitution the right of wy; sadly during this government, when such blockade occurs by members of the party, no police, no action is taken; just look at the blockade in Yapacani, after six days of blockade, one of the groups wanted to overthrow the mayor, has succeeded by replacing this party affiliate with another one, and the rest of the society was forced to wait, forced to see their produce been rotten and missing business deals and contracts]

It is therefore obvious that we are, exactly the same way that many years ago, and much less justified in the light of any rationality and practicality, that it can not be understood. The blockades of today, as of yesterday, are a true national calamity, so [we] reject them most emphatically, this will lead us to national suicide…

So, in the Bolivia of this years of “alleged change,” it would appear as if blockades and strikes are the initial steps to negotiate anything, I mean anything…