It seems the MAS has won in Bolivia. I would say the ticket of Arce/Choquehuanca is really interesting. There is room for hope but as always I trust more on Bolivians in the streets than those in government. The role that Evo Morales is going to play remains an open question
As I mention in a previous thread on Bolivia the role of Morales was transformative and I mean it he is already an importing chapter of Bolivian History
I don't just mean than Morales lead a solid economic growth an important reduction of poverty rates. Some argue he was lucky because of price of commodities were high during his term but things are much more complex than that
The management of the Bolivian economy was highly creative and innovative to a point even the libertarian Mises Institute had some praise for Morales and Ron Paul expressed interest in Bolivian fiscal policy during an interview
With that I mean Bolivia under Morales was a fairly more heterodox system that what people think particularly on economic matters but not just on that front
On other issues the election of Morales was the first victory for a indigenous politician to become president in country like Bolivia for so long marred by a toxic racism so that wasn't just a symbolic change but a tectonic shift
Morales even introduced a Plurinational Constitution that recognized the ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity of a country like Bolivia. There is a sense that he empowered indigenous population through his country and that to some degree is accurate
Morales put the eyes of the world in Bolivia. He had the leadership and conviction that surprise many including supporters and critics. He won many diplomatic battles that even if seen by some as small were really important
Morales also put in international agenda the rights of the Pachamama (Mother Earth in Quechua and Aymara) and also the rights of indigenous people. This with his own leftist and anti-imperialist streak
So far it sounds great yet as always politicians are way more complex and well Morales and García Linera as well as some elements in the MAS had a not so great role in other issues
We have to mention that while Morales and to a less degree García Linera were the most public faces of the MAS for obvious reasons like being in office the MAS was much more diverse than what people think that being said some factions defected and some new factions have been born
Now for all of his talk about indigenous rights and ecology the position of the government toward the TIPNIS conflict shows how much that rhetoric was in conflict with real policies. How in pursuit of economic growth everything could be done
Continuing with indigenous rights in the tropical regions of Bolivia there are also indigenous people and their lives are in threat by man-made fires done by cattle ranchers who try to have more space to expand their business
Now this has been done with the knowledge of MAS and I feel there exists the possibility it to continue because of the complex alliance the one the MAS has done there but this is more than just an economic and environmental issue
Even if a Plurinational Constitution has been signed it's true the MAS has centered a particular interests in the Andean indigenous groups particularly the Aymara which how many MAS members both on the ground and politicians identify
The Aymara identity is a fascinating and complex topic tough for the purposes of this thread we would point out that Aymara and Quechua shouldn't be above other indigenous identities but on the practice that has happened
Which has lead to many indigenous people in tropical areas joining political parties opposed to the MAS in order to protect themselves from environmental degradation that could come along if the man-made fires extend
There are many issues from education to the healthcare system which could also raise concern about the limits of the MAS in office but I do think is better for the purposes of our thread to focus on social issues
There hasn't been decriminalization of abortion, legalization of gay marriage and stop prosecuting of sex workers which generates anger among many feminists
Not only that many point out that many MAS politicians including Morales and García Linera repeat the same sexist and homophobic logic of leaders of previous eras in Bolivian politics
That's not the end questioning while praised overseas García Linera was the author of an internal letter that circulated in the MAS against free thinkers that is dissidence against the leadership of the MAS
Which is particularly sad since Bolivia is very diverse and people with different ideas could enrich Bolivian politics as María Galindo of the anarcha-feminist collective Mujeres has pointed out many in the MAS were drunk of power
Now let's talk briefly about the Arce/Choquehuanca ticket. Arce is pointed out as the architect of Bolivian economic growth there is something to that but also Bolivians work on average much more hours than most other workers in Latin America
Arce is going to focus on the economic recovery from the pandemic as well on trying to continue the economic growth as well as the reduction of poverty
One great question is what role does lithium is going to play in the economy I would say that is going to do more with the dynamics happening in developed countries since electric cars are still expensive
There remains a lot to be done in education there have been some interesting efforts to expand the access but a lot is to be done if Bolivia wants to lower their dependency on natural resources and Bolivians are full of talent
The pandemic hit badly Bolivia not only because of incompetence of Jeanine Añez but also because it was sector were there wasn't that much improvement in the years of power of the MAS there needs to be important investments there
Now to talk about Choquehuanca as I mention in a previous thread on Bolivia in an interview he said he's open to an investigation of Morales who has a lot of processes against him. I can't imagine many in other geographies saying this of the leader of their party leader
Choquehuanca is of indigenous descent and more in contact with the more rural indigenous base than Arce which represents more the mestizo elements of urban middle class but beyond their ethnic and cultural backgrounds there are more differences
Choquehuanca was favored by the base of the MAS to be the presidential candidate but Morales picked Arce I think because of the calculus of winning the middle class urban mestizo vote which is significant
For that is likely that Arce is going to be more in debt than Choquehuanca with Morales. That being said Choquehuanca has always been a much more open politician willing to listen dissident opinions so maybe even that wouldn't have change that much
I don't buy that Arce/Choquehuanca ticket are just going to be puppets of Morales that being which role does Morales is going to play still remains an open question as I said at the start of thread that being said I feel in foreign policy he would have somethings to say
As I said at the start of thread there is some room for hope but my main sympathy is not for the MAS rather for the social movements of Bolivia known for their rebel spirit no matter who is in office. They are a true inspiration and I wish the world could learn more from them
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