Thursday, August 23, 2007

Political Problems

Although warm weather has returned, the winds haven’t died down, reaching up to 82 kilometers an hour today. As a result, sand swirls through the town. It’s common when driving in a taxi with the windows rolled down to suddenly get a whip of sand across the face.

Political problems relating to the location of the government continue in Sucre. I see the images on TV and in the newspaper – of lawmakers punching each other in a brawl, of police gassing protestors, of street hoodlums destroying property – but it seems like another world. It could be another country as much as I feel it here.

I asked my co-worker Julia what is going on there, because I find the newspaper stories so full of politics it’s difficult for me to decipher. She said that according to the constitution, the Bolivian capital is Sucre. Based on this, some people are demanding that the government should be located in the capital and move to Sucre. Practically, however, La Paz is the capital. She said these “constitutionalists” believe that La Paz has become too imperialistic, that the people there have too much power and whatever comes out of La Paz, the rest of the country has to follow.

I asked her what President Evo Morales’ position is.

“He has a strong base in La Paz, so he’d rather stay there,” she said.

“And what do the people in other parts of the country think?”

“They think it would be good to move the government to Sucre. It would reduce La Paz’s power and spread out the areas of influence in the country a bit more.”

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