Narco News '02
Embassy Accused of Being Behind
of Electoral System
Narco News Andean
The bloody week in Sacaba (in the tropical region
in the middle of Bolivia) was barely the beginning. The government
of Jorge Quiroga seems decided to comply with the orders of the
United States government. What's more, he tries to eradicate
much more than the ancestral coca leaf in nearly the entire country.
If he gets his way, now that he has the endorsement of Washington,
the Bolivian government will also eradicate the farmers, first
among them the most important leader: Evo Morales.
It wasn't enough, for
Quiroga, to order his Supreme Decree # 26415, prohibiting the
sale of coca leaf grown in the Chapare (defining it as an illegal
crop). Nor was it sufficient for the armed forces and police
to assassinate four coca growers last week during the confrontations
in Sacaba. He had to stage a more profound coup.
Yesterday afternoon, the
government ordered the closure and dismantling of Radio Sovereignty,
a media belonging to the coca growers' federations in the Chapare,
located in the town of Chipiriri, claiming that it lacked a license
to operate. The repression continues against popular demonstrations
and the arrests of the leaders, now 100 of them in jail. And
yesterday at dawn, after a deal was cut between the larger political
parties in Congress, the State offensive reached its climax:
Evo Morales, the congressman elected with more votes than any
other in the general election of 1997, was removed from his post.
In nearly all the national
media are stories that report the "booting" of Evo
Morales from Congress. And the process was simple. The Ethics
Commission of the House of Representatives ordered Morales to
appear and explain his behavior during the conflicts in Sacaba
(in fact, without any proof, the government accuses him and other
coca grower leaders of being the intellectual authors of the
deaths of three soldiers and a police officer last week). Some
hours later, that commission issued its ruling to the entire
House, recommending Evo's expulsion. Before voting, some orators
of distinct factions, like the known fascist and paramilitary
leader Fernando Kieffer, went as far as pleading for respect
for human rights and accusing Evo Morales of being an assassin
In the first hours of
Thursday, the dream pursued by former dictator Banzer and now
Quiroga became reality: Evo is now stripped of his Congressional
immunity. Various bureaucrats in the judicial branch are in the
shadows, hoping to launch various charges against the coca growers'
leader. Recently, a hotel owner won a judgment that orders Morales
to pay him $250,000 dollars for damages to a hotel he owns in
pay up, or go to jail, are the options they
left him. But the embattled ex-Congressman did not go down quietly.
The result of the voting in the House of Representatives was
barely reported when Evo Morales began a hunger strike together
with other members of Congress (some from his party, Movement
Toward Socialism, and others of minority Left wing parties).
In these moments, Morales and his allies wait patiently for this
extreme measure to obligate the Congress to reformulate its position
(which is not very likely). For their part, the leaders of certain
factions of Congress have called for ejecting Evo from the podium
because "he is already not part of the legislative branch."
In his last speech before
Congress, Evo Morales declared himself innocent of all charges
regarding the deaths of soldiers and police in Sacaba. But he
also assured that his explusion was not decided by the Bolivian
Congress or President Quiroga, but by the United States government.
He also affirmed: "I have said that Supreme Decree #26415
will heat up not only the Chapare but also the entire nation.
I have not said that Evo Morales will inflame the country. It's
the Decree that is doing it
I have never incited violence
and certainly not killing." That was his response to Interior
Minister Leopoldo Fernández, who accused him of instigating
a Civil War.
And although he could
not avoid his impeachment, Evo Morales already receives demonstrations
of solidarity from other sectors. Felipe Quispe, El Mallku, has
denounced that none of the soldiers who assassinated coca growers
has been nor will be arrested and said, after an assembly of
his organizations, the peasant farmers of the high plains will
begin blockades of roads and highways. The coca growers of Las
Yungas, in the State of La Paz, have planned a march already
and will blockade to demand the restitution of a man who, they
say, "has committed no crime other than to protect his constituents
and defend his people." And the list grows. The Water Board
of Cochabamba, the organization that includes the Central Labor
Union of the State, have declared, in a special assembly, that
they repudiate the expulsion and that they will escalate the
Kind readers, in Bolivia
there are seven million inhabitants. Approximately 5.1 million
of them don't make enough income to live a dignified life. Among
them, Evo Morales, an honest and valiant social fighter, has
obtained their electoral support. Now, between a Decree that
violates the Constitution and accusations filled with lies, the
government tries to convert an elected Congressman into a vulgar
criminal. However, as the marches and demonstrations begin in
support of Morales, there is strength and hope.
Narco News will, in the coming days, publish
an interview with Evo Morales. We gladly provide our voice so
that Evo Morales, and through him, the Bolivian coca growers,
can speak with you and offer their reasons, presenting their
history without censorship.
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