Just about a couple of years ago, Bolivians were at the urns to democratically elect those that will bring us the changes so much identified we needed to better or life, as a country, as citizens and as human beings. The people choose, wisely or not, to have a representative of the Bolivian poor and indigenous population as their president and the middle class, old politician guard, as their prefects, those creating a balance among our political power, a check valve from one to other.
Both groups delivered last Sunday, December 15, 2007; among much celebration, what will be held as the documents that would shape the future of the Country in the short time and will govern our next generations. Both papers couldn’t be the most opposite from each other, both are a failure of what people, the citizens of Bolivia, was requesting for them. Sadly, those that had the most power to do the right thing, the executive government, were the ones that failed completely and drove the rest towards total anarchy; history will take them accountable for their mischievous acts. The only similarity among both documents is that they were born in illegality; the huge differences among both documents are resumed bellow.
The maSSist new Bolivian Constitution was born among violence, among the blood of the social movements, with the deaths of citizens of Bolivia and among the breakage of civil and human rights of those that are a supposed minority in the country, minority only in paper; the one used to express the peoples votes in our last presidential elections. It involved irregularities, aggression and breakage of the law by the executive against the legislative, the judicial and the constituent assembly. It’s fruit was a paper that represent changes to the country, but not the new, renovate, fresh changes the majority of Bolivians were asking for; in it’s intent to take us 500 years ago it only takes us 50 years ago, at the same level than the post agrarian revolution era, given more power to the executive, as if only one man could solve all our problems; its outdated nationalism delivers a recipe of economic failure, its asphyxiate centralism is the same of the pre Evo era and even worst, renovates racism and has no checks to defend the minorities; it actually empowers the abuse of the majority by declaring the use of simple majority of votes to elaborate or change laws.
The other text, the Santa Cruz Autonomic Statute was born under consent of more than 2/3 of the regional leaders, without violence, without deaths and until its declaration, following all laws of the country; its earlier than expected pronouncement was, with no doubt a response to the brutality of the executive power, clearly indicating to them that the use of violence and anarchy will only bring more violence and anarchy; living in peace and harmony is the best way, but defending what is right sometimes will take returning a blow, as it happen in Cochabamba and Sucre this year. This document really reflects changes, it has a lot of what we, as citizens were looking for, it diminished the power of the one person in command at the executive seat, taking away from him/her the possibility to veto the legislative, only allowing this power to pass any new or changed law to the judicial power if encounter any issue associate with it. The 2/3 of the votes for legislation and the naming off several different types of governmental positions is present all over the document; dose given the minorities a saying on the ways of the region. It clearly says it will respect and obey the 1948 declaration of human rights, not just the rights of the indigenous people. It clearly gives a seat in the legislative to each of the regions indigenous groups, giving them more presence per capita than to the rest of the population, a way of compensating their status as minorities. And most important of all, it clearly recognizes the majority mixture, mestizaje, of the regional and Bolivian population; taking any possibility of giving more rights to one side of the population in base of race.
There is still a long way to see which of these documents, if any, will be approved by the Bolivian population and if there will be any opposition from the groups on power to respect the vote of the citizens, if they ever happen. It’s still sad for us within the social movements that do respect democracy, to have to live and taste the reborn of our society among illegality, it gives a sense to be some kind of “bastards”; but as always happened to this country, we survive making the best out of adversity; we just where hoping this time was going to be different, the irony; so much for wanting to change.