The President of Bolivia resigns


Carlos Mesa.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

South America — The President of Bolivia Carlos Mesa officially resigned Sunday, March 6. Now the President of Senate Hormando Vaca Díez is the temporary President of the Republic of Bolivia.

Mesa resigned because of the announcement of highways's blockages by Evo Morales, both the leader of the coca growers and the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS). The blockages serve to pressure the Legislative so the Hydrocarbons Law can be approved. The law aims to raise the taxes levied on hydrocarbon extraction from 18 to 50%.

The MAS is a political party formed basically by coca-growing campesinos (known as cocaleros), communists, admirers of Fidel Castro, and indigenous people. The party is against the government of the United States and the alleged American influency in the region, the neoliberalism and the globalization. Morales in his own words, explain some of the MAS motivations:

The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism. That is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system, against a neoliberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism. If the entire world doesn't acknowledge this reality, that the national states are not providing even minimally for health, education and alimentation, then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated.

Morales is an admirer of Fidel Castro and he says he is inspired by the presidents of Venezuela Hugo Chavez and Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He supports the creation of an anti-imperialist block formed by Latin-American and Arabian countries against the USA, which is being organized by the Brazilian President.

Bolivia economy depends on exportation of hydrocarbon (oil and gas). Other sources of resources comes from the cultivation of coca. The coca growers demands the same treatment the government is giving to hydrocarbons. However, the production of coca in great quantities is controversial since the coca is the raw material of cocaine. Cocaine is considered illegal in Bolivia and in the majority of other countries

In October 2003, Morales caused the resignation of the President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. After the resignation of Lozada, Mesa, the vice-president, assumed the command of Bolivan government.

Morales said about the resignation of Mesa:"The only resignation purpose is to blackmail, this resignation is not worth, it basically serves so the October agenda does not occurr (agenda purpose is nationalization of gas production and to proclaim a Constitutional Assembly [Note:where politics propose a new Constitution]).

The blockades of roads occurred in two strategical places: at the city of El Alto, neighboring to the capital, and at El Chapere, which binds the cities of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

The country is divided. There were some protests and manifestations for and against Mesa.