'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mesa Resigns 

Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigned today, or perhaps I should say he submitted a letter of resignation -- I believe the Bolivian congress can still refuse to accept his resignation.

Here's a primer on the situation, albeit with the standard corporate bias, courtesy of the BBC. The very short version is that Bolivia is suffering from the standard economic symptoms that often result from neoliberal policies but in the context of a citizenry that is unusually well-organized and capable of exerting groundswells of political pressure. Leftwing leaders like Evo Morales and Felipe Quispe are pushing for renationalization of Bolivia's major energy industries, oil and gas, while the rich of Santa Cruz push for autonomy and even threaten to secede.

According to the Finacial Times, "it is not yet clear" if an interim president will be installed or if the elections that are scheduled for 2007 will be held early. If they hold early elections one wonders how Evo Morales will do. Morales, ridiculed by the New York Times as a "coca chewing Amymara Indian leader who would nationalize Bolivia's industries, [and] stop payment of its foreign debt," may end up sitting pretty.

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