Antonio Soruco Villanueva
Bolivia is on the brink of a class war, said Antonio Soruco Villanueva in La Paz’s La Razón. Thousands of peasants have descended on La Paz, blockading roads and demonstrating outside Congress. Ostensibly, they are demanding the nationalization of the natural gas industry—an impossible request given the billions of dollars invested by foreigners. But “underneath those ponchos, the true motives are hidden.” The demonstrators don’t really believe that their lives will improve if the government takes over the gas pipelines. “Their fight is vindictive.” It’s a battle of ethnic Indians against whites—“even though at this point the country no longer has either pure whites or pure Indians.” It’s the classic cry of have-nots, those who prefer nationalism over globalization, statism over autonomy, authoritarianism over democracy. President Carlos Mesa has now given in to the demand for a new citizens’ assembly to write a new constitution. But “what kind of government” will these angry people choose?
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