Bolivia

Uprising in Cochabamba

By David Broder

The movement against the far-right in Bolivia stepped up last month with a mass uprising in the nationÕs third city, Cochabamba, which dislodged the right-wing governor Manfred Reyes Villa and put forward the demand for genuinely democratic representatives. This was twinned with a solidarity strike organised by residents’ association FEJUVE in the city of El Alto, also seeking to get rid of a governor who wants to see the country split up.

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Bolivian miners fight privatisation

Sixteen miners have been killed in fights over the control of Huanuni, the biggest tin mine in Bolivia.

The fight was over whether the mine would remain in state hands, or be given to a “co-operative” - essentially privatisation, as such co-ops have a strictly tiered managerial system, no effective workers’ involvement and very low wages for workers employed by the privately controlled board. Trade unions are prohibited.

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Morales: no challenge to capitalism

BY ALAN PORTER

Evo Morales' MAS party has won 51% of seats in elections for a new Constituent Assembly, leaving him well short of the two thirds majority needed to pass legislation. This is problematic for his government, since the whole point of a Constituent Assembly is to rewrite the constitution.

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Morales nationalises gas?

By David Broder

Bourgeois opinion was shocked on 1 May when new Bolivian president announced that he was going to nationalise the country’s gas resources. Troops were sent to occupy refineries and installations where the hydrocarbons are extracted as Evo Morales decreed, “The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources”.

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Needed: a workers’ party

David Broder went to Bolivia during April as part of the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign delegation of British trade unionists.

In Solidarity 3/90 I argued that while Evo Morales has failed to deliver what the masses demanded during the gas nationalisation protests of last summer, the trade unions and social movements have failed to come out strongly enough in criticism of the new Bolivian president.

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Workers' news round up

By Pablo Velasco

Pakistan

Six Pakistani left parties and groups have united to form Awami Jamhoori Tehreek (AJT — the People’s Democratic Movement), which has the potential to become the fifth-largest political group in Pakistan. The AJT aims to contest the 2007 elections.

The parties in the AJT are the National Workers’ Party (NWP), the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), Awami Tehreek (AT — People’s Movement), Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (PMKP), Pakistan Mazdoor Mehaz (PMM — Workers Front) and Meraj Mohammed Khan Group (MMKG).

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Bolivia: going beyond Morales?

David Broder outlines a critical view of Evo Morales’ rise to power in Bolivia and subsequent programme

When Morales was elected in December 2005 the mainstream media saw it as the victory of the — workers’ and peasants’ “social movements” whose demonstrations and strikes shook the establishment last summer. This was a crude mischaracterisation.

By then it had already become clear that the Movimiento al Socialismo leader will have to be pressurised into making any of his promised reforms.

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Bachelet and the Latin American left

The election of leftish governments in Latin America continues with the recent Presidential victories of Morales in Bolivia and Bachelet in Chile. Other left candidates are likely to win in Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela this year. The trend is largely a reaction to the neo-liberal polices pursued by Latin American governments for over two decades, which has led to huge increases in poverty and unemployment, and disillusionment with the formally democratic regimes that replaced military governments.

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