Friday, April 04, 2008

An Interlude

I have one more post to go on Peru but I wanted to briefly comment on developments in one of Latin America's poorest countries - Bolivia. I know very little about Bolivia. I know it's poor, it's landlocked, and it has a left of center president, but that's about it. I've never been there, I have no plans to visit, and any knowledge I have is from watching the news.

That being said, Bolivia may very well fragment into two or more countries in the coming months. I know, haven't heard anything about it in the US, right? Well that's because the US news media is more of a giant tabloid than an informative source of information. Down here, we get "international news" that is more than just 30 seconds on Iraq. RCN, Caracol, and CM&I all have extensive international coverage which, objectively speaking, it about 1 quadrillion times better than what you find on the nightly news in the US.

At any rate, the Bolivians, as I understand it, have been negotiating a new constitution of late and this has created a lot of controversy - for what sounds like similar reasons to what we find in Iraq. Namely, about half the country is "rich" and the other half, not so much. From what I gather, the "rich" states (departments) are threatening to succeed from the union. I don't have a particularly good read on this as the english language coverage is, shall we say, lacking and the coverage that does exist is extremely confusing and lacking in necessary context for uninformed readers (like me). One thing that is clear from watching the news down here, however, is that this crisis is worth watching. For one, if Bolivia does have a succession, it will likely be bloody. The army has already issued omnious warnings. But on the other hand, if they do peaceably resolve the crisis and create a stronger Bolivia, their methods and solutions could be illustrative of a way forward in Iraq.

Update: I should clarify that when I say "rich" and allude to Iraq, I'm speaking of natural resources. One issue of contention is the idea that the national government has "domain" over natural resources - i.e. its state property. For obvious reasons, the wealthy class isn't so hot on that idea.



Blogger SJH said...


7:58 PM  

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