MAS to Mobilize for Constitutional Change


(La Prensa) – The government of president Evo Morales ordered the social organisations linked to the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) to mobilise at least 100,000 campesinos and indigenous peoples to the city of Sucre on September 10 with the aim of “retaking the reigns” of the constituent assembly, today grid locked by the debate over the capital.

Moreover, they denounced the involvement of the Embassy of the United States in conspiratorial plans and the financing of advisors for the opposition group, Podemos, in order to destabilise the socialism administration.

This program of action was adopted on Friday, August 24, during a closed meeting held between president Morales, vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera and the vast majority of the leadership of MAS, together with the representatives of more than 20 entities.

With this decision, the MAS leaders explained that the government has decided to play its strongest card to try and unlock the constituent process and confront the offensive of the opposition regions headed by Santa Cruz and followed by Tarija, Beni, Pando, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and the opposition parties led by Podemos.

The meeting, carried out in the building of the Vice Presidency, counted with the participation of the Federation of Cocaleros of the Tropic of Cochabamba, the United Union Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB), the Union Confederation of Colonizers (CSCB), the Federation of Women Campesinos Bartolina Sisa, the Federation of Campesinos Tupac Katari, the Indigenous Confederation of the Bolivian East (CIDOB), Federation of Unionists, and the federation of neighbourhood committees of La Paz and El Alto.

A source high up in MAS, who was in the meeting, relayed to La Prensa some of the details of the meeting held by Morales and Garcia Linera with the social movements aligned with MAS.

According to this source, the vice president, during his intervention, warned that the civic sectors linked to the “right” are violently mobilizing with protests in Sucre and stoppages in six departments, with the aim of interrupting the current process of change being carried out by president Morales.

The vice president pointed out that the leader of Podemos, Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, had asked people to not recognize the law.

Garcia Linera affirmed that the most painful part of this current process was that the assembly delegates, authorities and militants of MAS are being attacked by civics from Chuquisaca. He signaled that, in this context, walking down the streets of Sucre with a poncho or pollera [indigenous dress], speaking Aymara or with dark skin was a crime. He recalled that the president of the assembly, Silvia Lazarte, had been called an “ignorant chola”. In this sense, he questioned why, when faced with these racist and violent attitudes, the social movements have remained quiet, leading to a situation where MAS has had to declare itself clandestine. The vice president signaled that not even during the dictatorship were such abuses seen.

He also denounced that the civics that were mobilizing with protests and stoppages, were seeking to weaken the government of president Morales and destroy the program of change by creating instability. The aim of the right, according to Garcia Linera, is to destroy the government and return to power.

Within this framework, Garcia Linera announced that the only way for the organizations aligned with MAS to respond to this attack by the conservative sectors is through social mobilization. He said that MAS was not going to respond with bullets nor with police repression, but rather with the social organizations.

Garcia Linera assured the social sectors that they are the life and blood of the government of president Morales. In this sense, he indicated that the time had come for the organizations to call upon all their militants, with a loud and dignified voice, to defend the MAS administration. Moreover, he appealed to the social movements to defend the constituent assembly via a grand mobilization that said enough to the right.

The vice president affirmed that the current process of revolution must defend itself through struggle and mobilization, given that without it, they would be leaving the government all on its own and helpless. Due to this, the only form of modifying the state structures to take away the money and land from the oligarchs and transnationals is through street mobilizations.

Faced with the offensive from the civics of the “half moon”, Chuquisaca and Cochabamba, Garcia Linera – according to the MAS source – appealed for the mobilization of the social sectors.

The vice president signaled that the mobilization had to be strong, for which it was necessary to mobilise 100,000 people to go to Sucre. He announced that 10,000 would be of no use. He pointed out the necessity to send 10,000 “red ponchos”, 10,000 cocaleros, 10,000 from El Alto, 10,000 colonizers, 10,000 indigenous people from the lowlands, 10,000 originarios, 10,000 bartolinas [women campesinos], 10,000 unionists, 10,000 campesinos and 10,000 workers. There needs to be 100,000 peoples said Garcia Linera, so that not even a single fly would dare to insult the assembly delegates and indigenous representatives.

For this he ordered them to mobilize with the whipala flag out front, without insulting anyone, but to point out that this is the majority of Bolivia, and this majority will be respected.

In this sense, he said that the social movements had to fill Sucre in order to convert it into an indigenous, popular, worker and campesino city. The functionary highlighted that this was the only way that the opposition civics would respect the campesinos and indigenous peoples. He signaled that the opposition had to apologies to Silvia Lazarte for having insulted her in a derogatory way and for having burnt the whipala.

He recommended that the mobilization be peaceful and democratic, but also firm, in order to defend the rights of the originarios.

He highlighted that no white person could denigrate the indigenous representatives. They had to go in a huge multitude, affirmed Garcia Linera, thousands and thousands, like never seen before in the history of Sucre. He assured that only if the indigenous peoples and campesinos are many would there not be confrontations. If they were few it would be like Cochabamba, during the social explosion of January, but if it is 10 versus 1, nothing will occur.

The vice president assured that, in this way, MAS was going to put back on track the constituent assembly. He warned that the mobilization was the last salvation for the constituent process and mentioned that if it was not strong, then the constituent assembly would be left agonising. On September 10, Garcia Linera expressed, the city of Sucre had to be filled with whipalas, to give a clear signal that the indigenous, campesino and popular movement will not allow itself to be insulted.

Evo warned that the issue of the capital was seeking to destroy the assembly.

According to the source from MAS consulted by La Prensa, following the speech by Alvaro Garcia Linera, president Evo Morales announced to the social movements aligned with MAS that the demand by Chuquisaca to move the powers to Sucre was part of a strategy by conservative sectors to stall and destroy the constituent assembly.

The head of state spoke for more than 30 minutes about the current crisis affecting the constituent process and backed the decision to mobilise the social movements to Sucre so as to stop the attacks by the sectors considered by MAS to be conservative and oligarchs. Morales signaled that the popular movement found itself in a moment of ideologic, popular and cultural struggle against the people who did not want the change proposed by MAS.

The head of state said that the sectors of the right are not only worried by the recuperation of natural resources by the state; they would not forgive the aid from the government of Venezuela to the mayoral offices and the small farm producers which is affecting the interests of the Farmers Confederation of the East (CAO) and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Santa Cruz (CAINCO). Morales affirmed that the conservative sectors would not forgive MAS for the fact that a woman of the pollera, alluding to Silvia Lazarte, was the president of the constituent assembly.

With the issue of the two-thirds, signaled the president, the right attempted to derail the constituent assembly, the same occurred with the issue of autonomies and is now occurring over the demand over the capital.

Defense of the charges against the tribunal

During his speech in front of the social movements, president Evo Morales backed the MAS decision in the chamber of deputies to support the opening of a trial of responsibility against four magistrates of the Constitutional Tribunal.

He said that there was nothing better than one power of the state, in this case the executive, making demands of another power, with the aim of guaranteeing the independence of the powers and attacking the corruption of the judicial system.

President Morales indicated that he could not understand how the Tribunal had declared the decree he signed to designate the four ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice as constitutional, but then suspended those that had been appointed for an interim period.

The president says that the United States is advising Podemos

President Evo Morales announced that the opposition prefects, such as Manfred Reyes Villa in Cochabamba, have been found working on a conspiracy against the government, revealed the MAS source.

But not only this. The president assured that the process of political destabilisation against the executive power counted with the participation of the US embassy.

The ambassadors, said Morales, are accompanying this conspiratorial process. In regards to this, he recalled that the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, came out in defense of the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice when the government resolved to name their interim replacements in December 2006.

The president pointed out, according to the MAS source, that it was incomprehensible how a person tied to the US embassy could end up being involved in the transportation of arms. He cited the case of the 500 bullets brought into the country illegally for a US functionary.

He also highlighted that there was the case of the transportation of arms in diplomatic luggage from the US.

Morales used Cuba as an example in their struggle against what he considered to be the US empire. He highlighted that the Cuban people had defended their revolutionary process with dignity, even through moments of great economic necessities caused by the blockade organised by the US.

He also recalled that in Venezuela, the petroleum business owners had paralyzed the country for three months with the objective of overthrowing president Hugo Chavez.

He said that in Bolivia, his government is constructing a liberating democracy which was not subjugated to anyone, as the US would like it to be.

Morales assured that the US embassy is putting in track all types of instruments. He said that some militant from MAS had make contact with the diplomatic delegation.

He president highlighted that the US government is offering money to some leaders of MAS to attempt to stall the current process of transformation.

He affirmed that the strategy of the opposition includes putting in train community radios in Santa Cruz to break up the network recently started by the government.

Morales announced that the ideological, programmatic and cultural war continues against the popular movement in Bolivia, where, he signaled, deep down, the east, the civics and agribusiness sector would not accept the redistribution of their land.

He recognized that the revolutionary process was not easy in Cuba or Venezuela, for which no one should find it strange that they were encountering difficulties in the country.

He affirmed that the funds for cooperation that the US was handing over to mayors had no type of control and that the majority of these resources were remaining in hands of the embassy in order to buy off leaders.

On this point, Morales assured that the advisors of Podemos and other opposition leaders are paid by the US.

Due to this, he expressed that international cooperation would be welcomed only if it was managed by national authorities and in the function of development projects.

In regards to this he mentioned that the work being done jointly between the municipalities that receive donations from Venezuela for infrastructure, health and education projects.

The fight

The government and the social movements aligned with MAS have resolved to pressure in the streets in defense of the constituent assembly and the project of a plurinational state.Those from MAS recognize that the negotiation is in its worst moment, which is why the regions, like the indigenous peoples and campesinos are wagering on the use of social pressure in the city of Sucre.

The executive power pointed out that the mobilization of 100,000 people in the capital should be carried out in a peaceful way and without responding to provocations. Nevertheless, they expressed their fear that the mobilizations could end up with acts of violence like was the case in Cochabamba in January.

The government signaled that the issue of the capital is the last card of the conservative sectors to derail the constituent process, given that they are trying to stall the policies of change and social redistribution.

The principal organizations that will come out in defense of MAS’ project are the Federation of Cocaleros of the Tropics of Cochabamba, the United Union Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB), and the Union Confederation of Colonizers (CSCB).

The “bartolinas” and others will also join them.

Translated from La Prensa

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