Archive for the ‘goni’ Category

Okay, so it’s in the past now and the protests are over, but it’s worth pointing out that the same day that the family of his erstwhile VP were being whipped, stoned and driven out from their house partly for their association with him, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was a keynote speaker at a Harvard Business School symposium on Latin America entitled, ‘Today, We Build The Future’.

Yup, you can crash your country’s economy, preside over the massacre of dozens of people AND have an appeal for your extradition outstanding, and the bright young things of Harvard will still be flocking to hear your wisdom! Meanwhile back in Bolivia, the campaign to bring Goni to justice grinds on and the lingering resentment over his administration’s corruption, disastrous economic policies and heavy-handed repression is still enough to provoke outright attacks like that carried out against the Cárdenas family.

The title of his talk? ‘Recovering Stability In Times of Crisis: The Perspective of a Leader’. I haven’t laughed so much since Pompeii!

‘Well, estimados amigos mios, once you’ve provoked the crisis by adhering slavishly to IMF policies which exacerbate poverty in your country, and selling off everything that was there to sell, what I recommend is that you order the army to kill a load of unarmed people and then skip the country after having emptied out the Treasury. Leave some other poor sap to try to clear up your mess, and settle down to a life of leisure in Virginia! Also, don’t even worry about going back and facing a trial: if you insist loud enough that the Bolivian justice system won’t treat you fairly, your old college buddies in the US won’t make you. That’s how I keep things stable, personally’.

Or to quote someone else:

‘If there is a government in the USA which fights against terrorism and corruption and which defends human rights and democracy, it should expel the murderer and delinquent Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada as soon as possible’

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whoah no way

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.

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