Manfredo Kempff writes in El Diario:
A system that deceives
No one can question that now exists in the country a strong Government, which in no way means that democracy has been strengthened. A strong Government and a weak democracy, although contradictory, can live well without any future. The democratic years from 1982 were not a cup of milk, we know it well. Especially since the beginning of the century, with the overthrow of President Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa fall, showed an ugly face in Bolivian politics that pointed out the possibility of some unwanted and uncertain paths.
The time of conspiracies – in this case pre-eminently civilians – had returned to be present in Bolivia. Sanchez de Lozada did not collapse because his Government would like to sell gas to Chile. That’s a major blunder. Dropped because they conspired against him, taking advantage of an atmosphere of excitement that came from the so-called “water war” in Cochabamba, who tried to knock down the general Banzer. They were the first attempts of what we call populist coups, as dangerous as any coup. As an example, the shooting of October 2003 in La Paz was to stop a true popular insurgency that had defined goals of assault to power. Mesa came to the ground because people who cheered him in the plaza Murillo and El Alto wanted the control for them and removed their support by isolating him, something that was not casual.
There is no doubt that among the coup leaders were now the feared “social movements”, associated with intellectuals of the left, NGOs, people who had done a career with human rights and the Ombudsman, and naturally many personalities who were horrified with so many dead and injured, as it is the case of some members of the Catholic hierarchy. It must be understood then – even if it hurts to those who celebrate more than 30 consecutive years of democracy-that we are wrong in our sums because Sanchez de Lozada and Mesa were overthrown, no more euphemisms.
Then it came time to power of H.E. [his excellency] and all that structure of populist coups which not even H.E. was the only leader. Fallen Goni and Mesa, a disrepute and denigrated to the core “agreed democracy” – as if there is something worse than democracy without pacts–was not difficult for the MAS to battered this system than with the stigma of neo-liberal and homeland-sellers, that had fallen into disgrace. Many people of good faith opened, finally, a moment of new alternatives, which would disappear the old “oligarchic” faces and appear new, most honored, transformative, sensitive and also own: cholas and indigenous people.
If it were not for H.E. that has forced his candidacy for a third term of Government, in search of the re-reeleccion, saying that it reflects the mandate of the people when we know that it is an insult to the Constitution and to the country, we would be now towards consolidated institutional road. It was a naivety that many compatriots thought that we were going a new democracy better and in a different way. Since statements by H.E. and his faithful in regard that indigenous peoples had not arrived to the Palace as tenants but to stay, since they talked about 50 years in power, up to the less informed citizen should give note that formal democracy had its days numbered. H.E. might be who opened the doors to a wide democracy but closed them and only he, was master on behalf of the people, with the support of its Congressional majority, of elected judges by the MAS, and an Electoral Tribunal which does not deserve confidence.
We must not be too visionary to realize that all this overtime is due to a plan that has not even drawn in Bolivia, since we pride ourselves to defend our decisions sovereignly. Did Chavez in Venezuela, have just done Ortega in Nicaragua, the same road is going Correa in Ecuador, and failed to do Mrs. Kirchner in Argentina because she did not control the Congress. Then, here it’s perfectly identified with the populist cause, regimes that do not think leaving the remote control. They are systems that have captured all the powers of the State or way of doing so.
Do we live in a democracy? Difficult to answer if it is that some Bolivians voted just knowing that we do not choose. We do not choose because the horse of the corregidor takes such advantage in resources and influence that seems impossible to overcome it. This does not mean that we should lower our guard and not to give a fight. If before there was the richness of the miners to remove Governments, power today is the money of our gas, our exports, used to expensive fees and bonuses to the people exhibiting the Executive to promote it. Electorally. Does not look encouraging but anyone sees that to the MAS, will be defeated when runs out of resources. That step, to say it clearly, when the nation is bankrupt.
Very well written, we lost democracy to a “social movement” coup-d-stat, now ochlocracy rules the country and narcotrafficking is booming. We are following the steps of Somalia, due to the large voting majority of those who are not informed, by those who engage in illicit activities.