A political showdown is looming Bolivia, where President Evo Morales is facing a rising tide of political discontent, which crested last week in the kidnapping and murder of Interior Minister Rodolo Illanes by protesting miners. The New York Times:
This is a political conspiracy, not a social demand,” Morales said at a news conference, accusing his political opponents of backing the miners’ cause. He called for three days of official mourning, criticized the “cowardly attitude” of the protesters and insisted that his government had “always been open” to negotiation.
He ordered prosecutors to find and bring to justice those responsible for Illanes’ killing as well as anyone who may have ordered it.
Businessman and opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina rejected Morales’ comments about the opposition and said the government should try to make peace.
The contours of the conflict are familiar:
The miners began blocking the highway in the town of Panduro, 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of La Paz, on Monday, to demand they be allowed to work for private companies, which promise to put more cash in their pockets.
The issue has bedeviled Morales, who began as a champion of the working class and nationalized oil and gas interests, only to see his support crater amid the financial downturn. Miners say Morales has become a shill of the rich and done little to help them make ends meet as the economy slows.
The workers and the poor of Bolivia loved Morales as long as he told them the lies they desperately wanted to believe were true. But now that he’s in office, the expected magic unicorns bearing cash and prizes for all have somehow failed to show up on schedule.
Just a few years ago the global left thrilled to the prospect of a Latin Surge: Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Nicaragua were joining the Castro brothers in a great new of lefty power, and the more moderate Brazilian Workers Party was entrenching itself in what looked to be a permanent lock on power.
Now, the dreams are fading for the unhappy workers and poor people trapped in the ugly consequences of yet another failure of socialist ideology—but the rich and trendy first world celebrities who cheered them on are as rich and as thoughtless as ever.