Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Machine Gun and The Meeting Table: Bolivian Crisis in a New South America

By Benjamin Dangl

On Monday, September 15, Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived in Santiago, Chile for an emergency meeting of Latin American leaders that convened to seek a resolution to the recent conflict in Bolivia. Upon his arrival, Morales said, "I have come here to explain to the presidents of South America the civic coup d'etat by Governors in some Bolivian states in recent days. This is a coup in the past few days by the leaders of some provinces, with the takeover of some institutions, the sacking and robbery of some government institutions and attempts to assault the national police and the armed forces."

Morales was arriving from his country where the smoke was still rising from a week of right-wing government opposition violence that left the nation paralyzed, at least 30 people dead, and businesses, government and human rights buildings destroyed. During the same week, Morales declared US ambassador in Bolivia Philip Goldberg a "persona non grata" for "conspiring against democracy" and for his alleged ties to the Bolivian opposition. The recent conflict in Bolivia and the subsequent meeting of the heads of state raise the questions: What led to this meltdown? Whose side is the Bolivian military on? And what does the Bolivian crisis and regional reaction tell us about the new power bloc of South American nations?
Full article, photos here: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1478/1/

Benjamin Dangl is the author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia (AK Press), and is the editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events, and UpsideDownWorld.org, a website covering activism and politics in Latin America.
Email: BenDangl(at)gmail.com

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