Bolivian History • Pre-Colombian Era • Tiwanakan Culture – 2BC-1200AD • Moxos – approx same, disappeared 1300AD • Inca incorporation 1450-1525 • Colonial Era • Spanish conquest 1525 • Silver mines source of Spanish wealth (Potosi) • Independence declared 1809 • Republic named for Bolivar established in 1825
Bolivian History • Republican Era • 1879-83 War of the Pacific • Loses coastal access, nitrate fields to Chile • Late 1800s prosperity, stability –global price of silver • 1900s tin replaces silver • Repressed indigenous labor • Denied education, economic opportunity, political participation • Laissez faire capitalist economic policies • 1932-35 Chaco War • Defeated by Paraguay • Ruling classes discredited • New political demands emerge
Bolivian History • Revolution in 1952, start of democracy • Nationalist Revolutionary Movement Party (MNR) • Wins elections in 1951 but denied access to office, foments revolution • President Victor Paz Estenssoro • Introduces universal adult suffrage • Land reform • Rural education • Nationalization of the tin mines
Return to Democracy • 1964-1985 period of instability, elections and coups. • 1985 Presidential elections: • Nationalist Democratic Action Party 33% pop. Vote • MNR wins 30% pop. Vote • Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) wins 10% • In Congressional run off an MNR and MIR alliance brings MNR party leader and former president Estenssoro to the executive branch once again. • Constitutional rule: Congress votes on President without a majority vote outcome from the popular election.
Estenssoro and other Presidents • Estenssoro admin1985-89 • economic problems stabilized • 1989 elections Paz Zamora (MIR and Patriotic Accord alliance) wins • Neoliberal economic reforms continued, crackdown on domestic terrorism • 1993 elections MNR candidate Sanchez de Lozada • Economic reform pursued • “Capitalization” – form of privatization where investors acquired 50% ownership and management of state firms (oil, telecommunications, airlines, railroads, electric) with money directed to the pension system instead of the Treasury • Very unpopular – protests from 94-96
Other Presidents • 1997 Gen. Hugo Banzer, ADN party (Nationalist Democratic Action) • neoliberal econ reforms continue • No job creation • Perception of corruption • Coca eradication systematic • Increasing social protests • 2001 diagnosed with cancer, resigns, dies one year later
2002-present • 2002 elections/MNR platform: • Sanchez de Lozada (MNR) 22.5% • Job creation, anti-corruption, social inclusion • Evo Morales (MAS) 20.9% (movement toward socialism) • Critical moment: • 9/03 tourists trapped in town of Sorata • Bolivian security rescue results in deaths of peasants, security forces • Bolivian protesters pressure government for change on variety of policy areas • Export of NG through Chile (wop) • La Paz blockaded, conditions worsened • Lozada resigns, Oct 2003 • VP Carlos Mesa Gisbert assumes office • Pledges to reform hydrocarbons law • 7/18/04 national referendum on hydrocarbons overwhelmingly passed • 5/17/05 Congress passes confiscatory hydrocarbons law • Demonstrations continued • Mesa resigns May 2005
Evo Morales • 12/18/05 Evo Morales wins 54% of popular vote. • Platform: • Leader of coca growers – end illegalization • Nationalize hydrocarbons • Alleviate poverty/end discrimination • Constituent assembly to reform constitution • Constitutional reform • Assembly in place and deliberating • Issue of regional autonomy (federalization) under consideration.
Multiculturalism and Constitutional Reform • Indigenous peoples have argued that states should be acknowledged as “multi-cultural”. • Constitutional reforms should bring the majority into a “Multinational and pluricultural state” • A state with the right to participate, representative of the Original Nations, mestizo, and black peoples, mutual respect among nations and classes, with equality of conditions, a state directed by the oppressed and exploited”(Van Cott 136).
Parallel debate on efficiency • How to improve government responsiveness? • Municipal independence • A form of federalization • Municipal decentralization: • Already a bureaucratic entity • Closest to the people • Only viable option for a unitary state like Bolivia • Option to oppose central government
Constitutional reform • Minority presidents selected by Congress an overall drain on executive branch legitimacy • Minority support • Congressional intervention • Who is your power base when changes are necessary?