from Weekly News Update on the Americas:
On Nov. 28, a standoff in Bolivia’s Senate ended when the rightwing National Unity (UN) party’s only senator joined two senators from the rightwing Democratic and Social Power (Podemos) in returning to the session, allowing a quorum. The Senate had been shut down since Nov. 22, when the opposition bloc withdrew its 14 senators, depriving the 27-member body of a quorum. The opposition was stunned by the betrayal of the three senators from the opposition stronghold departments of Beni and Pando. Opposition senators tried to get the dissident senators to withdraw, but only succeeded in removing one of them—not enough to break the quorum.
In a marathon session on Nov. 28, the two remaining opposition senators joined the ruling leftist Movement to Socialism (MAS) bloc in passing an agrarian reform law, ratifying 44 renegotiated contracts with multinational oil companies, approving a $43 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), authorizing a military pact between Bolivia and Venezuela and giving the green light to the reformulated national budget.
President Evo Morales Ayma wasted no time in signing the long-awaited agrarian reform law. In a midnight ceremony at the Quemado government palace before a crowd of thousands of campesinos and indigenous people in La Paz on the night of Nov. 28-29, Morales promulgated the Law of Community Redirection of Agrarian Reform and declared the end of large landholdings in Bolivia. The campesinos and indigenous people had marched for three weeks from various parts of the country to the capital demand passage of the agrarian reform law. (La Jornada, Mexico, Nov. 30; Servicio Informativo “Alai-amlatina,” Nov. 29)
On Nov. 30, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera handed over legal titles for 238,162 hectares of “Community Lands of Origin” to the Indigenous Federation of the Leco People in Apolo, La Paz Department. The land—the first distribution under the new agrarian law—goes to benefit 547 families, a total of 2,980 people. (LJ, Dec. 1)
A 24-hour strike on Dec. 1, called by the opposition for five departments, had limited success in three: Santa Cruz, Beni and Tarija. Residents of Pando and Cochabamba did not heed the strike call. (LJ, Dec. 2 from Reuters) On Dec. 2, Garcia Linera invited the opposition to meet with Morales and other officials in Sucre, where the Constituent Assembly is convening, to work towards resolving a conflict over the assembly’s voting procedures. (LJ, Dec. 3 from AFP)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 3
Weekly News Update on the Americas
WW4 REPORT #129, December 2006
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Jan. 1, 2007
Reprinting permissible with attribution