Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Update Bolivia

the scribe was listening to WBAI/New York's "Wake Up Call" via the Internet this morning and imbibed an interview with Christian Parenti who writes “Letter From Bolivia,” for the venerable old torch-bearer of all things utopian, “The Nation.”

He provided a detailed and in-depth perspective of what has changed since Evo Morales’ indigenous and socialist movement took over things in La Paz. The interview can be found at the Wake Up Call web site, by clicking on the June 20 show, 8 a.m. segment.

the scribe went to the the article and read it.

Progressive people can find themselves watching goings-on in rare and distant lands when the rare and distant occurrence of a left wing government pops up.

We’ve already discussed Morales, his movement, and some of the perils threatening him at highwayscribery (“Oil, Natural Gas, and Evo Morales,” May 6).

Parenti’s piece suggests a modest but definitely left-wing government with the threat of violence looming from an old class of big ranchers.

It turns out the much ballyhooed nationalization of the natural gas industry focused upon the three largest foreign energy companies operating in Bolivia. For a while the government will soak the companies for the resources they exploit on Bolivian land to the tune of 82 to 18 percent.

But that’s just for a while, things even out over time. The government maintains a 51 percent control in the company so the power is not monolithic and dictatorial. There are more than 20 other such companies maintaining a presence in Bolivia that will remain “untouched.”

The country will net $700 million, which is what the players on the New York Yankees will pocket collectively over the next three summers.

Leftists are already crying sell-out, but that’s what we do.

The report claims the government told the International Monetary Fund to piss off, raised the minimum wage, and promised a 300 percent increase in health care spending.

We should try some of that here.

The revolution also has its colorful, old-school intellectuals the left is so endeared of: “I meet Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, who is sometimes said to be the ‘brain of the government’ – Evo is clearly its soul. Only 42 years old, Garcia Linera has a resume that already includes stints as a former guerilla, ex-prisoner, powerhouse author and intellectual, and now one of the most important politicians in Latin America.”

Love that literary angle. Writers must and do commit to the process in Latin America.

Maybe the scribe will run for Congress.

Here’s what the poet-warrior vice president has to say: “Transnational corporations are welcome in Bolivia, but they will not dominate the economy. They should expect to pay taxes and submit to reasonable environmental and social regulations, but they will still make profits.”

And we should try that here.

The business class is behind Morales thus far. They’re done with neo-liberal palliatives cooked up in Beltway think-tanks and well, you know, all that stuff had a good, long run anyway.

And we should get our business class to buy into that truth, too.

There are other items about the government’s desire to grow the internal market in its own country that may or may not interest you, but it doesn’t matter because that is the beauty of the blog.

The article covers some of the more intricate indigenous claims and designs upon the government handsomely dissecting meaningful but not always perceptible difference between communities viewed from that outside as monolithic.

No comments: