The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Bolivian straws in the wind

An AP piece (November 5) highlights a new name for future reference:
El secretario ejecutivo de la Central Obrera Regional de El Alto, Roberto de la Cruz
anunció hoy que una asamblea del sindicato y de dirigentes cívicos decidió cercar a La Paz, como aconteció en octubre, cuando esa acción obligó a la dimisión del presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.

La Paz bears to its neighbouring city El Alto something of the relation of Dorian Gray to his portrait in the attic. As if the ghastly banlieues of Paris did not circle the rich nugget of Paris intra muros but sat by it side by side, the one with all the splendours, the other with mostly miseries!

Not surprisingly, El Alto, chock full of campesinos decanted from their land for one reason or another, seems to be the reddest of the red of the opposition (its urban element, at least) to the Carlos Mesa government [1].

De La Cruz, it seems, is a man to watch:
De la Cruz, probablemente el líder actual más radical y poderoso del sindicalismo boliviano, estuvo preso hasta mediados de año acusado de haber encabezado en febrero la quema de la sede de la Alcaldía de El Alto...

(There is a second source for the burning down of the Town Hall, but it doesn't mention De La Cruz having led the charge.)

The piece also mentions that Evo Morales is not best pleased at Mesa's announcement (November 4) that coca eradication activities will continue in Chapare, home of Morales' core support.

A second AP piece (November 5) (picking up [2] on a piece from El Deber of Santa Cruz, Bol) highlights the US role in teaching
militares y civiles bolivianos de la Escuela de Altos Estudios Nacionales estrategias para enfrentar los conflictos sociales del país.

A party of US Marines is apparently providing the instruction in Santa Cruz, and the US Ambassador to Bolivia, David Greenlee, is on hand to do - I have not the faintest idea what...

By chance, who should be in Santa Cruz at the same time as all of this but Evo Morales - scouting the Alternative Summit threatened for the fringe of the Iberoamerican Summit which I mentioned yesterday. When he found out Greenlee was in town - cue rant!

  1. There is a long study (120 pages, around 1.8MB) from 1998 on the Université de Savoie site Etude de l'évolution de l'agglomeration de La Paz-El Alto - which is full of photos, charts and maps, and looks like an excellent place to start detailed research on the subject. (Not something I'm planning in the near future!)

  2. In fact, the El Deber piece says nothing about conflictos sociales - merely talking of estrategias y tácticas militares. Is this a stretcher from AP, or does it have other information?

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