They did what to former Bolivian VP Victor Hugo Cárdenas? Apparently a group of campesinos stormed his house, burnt his things and beat up members of his family. The Los Tiempos article suggests that it’s to do with him raising his voice against the new Constitution and hinting about running for President this December. Perhaps it’s also intended as punishment for his ‘neoliberal years’ (1993 – 1997) alliance with former Prez Gonzalez Sánchez de Lozada, who went on to be elected for a second term selling off Bolivia’s natural resources, became enmeshed in popular protests against the sale of gas reserves at bargain-basement prices, ordered the army to fire on unarmed protesters and thus presided over the deaths of over 80 people. He then resigned ignomiously and skipped the country – he’s still at liberty in the USA at the time of writing, practicing his golf swing safe in the knowledge that his pals in Washington probably won’t extradite him.
There’s something weird but symmetrical about the first Aymara vice-president being on the receiving end of this twisted version of justicia comunitaria. Of course, ‘authentic’ community justice or customary law as recognised in the new constitution doesn’t involve breaking into people’s houses and beating them up, it generally means much longer consensus-led deliberation on offenses committed, followed by a restorative rather than punitive approach to reparations, and has little to do with the periodic lynchings which stain the Bolivian headlines. It’s rather bitter that the family of Cárdenas, the groundbreaking Aymara politician and former Katarista radical, should suffer from this kind of violence while Goni takes tea in DC, knowing that the civil case against him will drag out for a nice long time, and that there’s little danger of the US government sending him back to face the (rough) music.