Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Evo's Bid To Stay In Power

Ben Raderstorf and Michael J. Camilleri have a good op-ed in The Washington Post about Evo Morales, who is running for president (yet) again in Sunday's election. They note that Bolivians show clear signs of tiring of his presidency and they express concern that he will gradually govern in a more authoritarian manner. He has centralized power over time.

Basically, this is a question of whether Bolivia looks more politically like Venezuela and Nicaragua, with suppression of dissent and closing off of democratic spaces, or more like Ecuador, where Rafael Correa walked away. Correa's choice is more democratic and better for the country in the long term, but unfortunately he doesn't make that choice look very attractive. He is living in exile, hounded by the Ecuadorian judicial system and funded by the Russians, where he frantically and unsuccessfully tries to make himself politically relevant using Twitter. That doesn't tilt the decision-making calculus in a democratic direction.

One twist here that they point out is the notion that Morales is courting agribusiness. As Linda Farthing argues in a recent issue of Latin American Perspectives (a leftist academic journal):

Over its 12 years in power, Bolivia’s MAS government has made significant advances in expanding inclusion and reducing poverty. In the process, it has steadily been transformed into a hegemonic force that is increasingly dependent on expedient and pragmatically based compromises with economic elites. Concurrently, social movement influence and participation in the government have steadily declined. After 2009, when an uprising by Eastern elites had been quashed and MAS gained a congressional majority, the MAS missed an opening to advance its original project of structural change, opting instead for a more expedient strategy that has kept it in power at the cost of accommodating elites and debilitating social movements.
That sounds rather Nicaragua-like. But will it make him lose?

Morales currently leads in the polls, though there was controversy (and even threatened legal action) when a new poll showed him failing to win a first round. He needs either 50% or 40% with a 10% margin over the second place finisher, and the opposition is not united. It would be a surprise and a major shift if he actually lost.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP