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Showing posts from December, 2007

Banco Del Sur - A Reality Check On The State Of South American Relations

(Dec. 12, 2007) The signing of the "founding act" of the new Banco del Sur raises so many questions that it is difficult to know where to begin. Set against the backdrop of the assumption of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the meeting highlighted the continued difficulties South America faces as it attempts to form a continent wide union. As reported in the BBC, Brazilian President Lula da Silva called the founding of the bank a "decisive step" towards the integration of South America; Venezuelan President Hugo Ch├ívez called it a "political reality that forms part of an economic and social war;" and Bolivian President Evo Morales said it brings "new hope" to a region struggling to combat poverty. The problem as we see it is that while these statements may be accurate on a hypothetical level, they completely miss the mark when it comes to describing the actual reality of regional relations. As much as Brazil would like …

President Proposes National Recall Vote As Bolivia Slides Further Into Chaos

(Dec. 6, 2007) Violent protests continue to rock Bolivia as politicians refuse to compromise on a new national constitution. President Evo Morales has proposed a national recall vote for himself and the country's nine prefects to help end protests that began after his political party Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) railroaded a new draft constitution through the National Assembly on Nov. 24. Opposition leaders dismissed the recall proposal as a smoke screen and asked the president to return the nation to the rule of law.Speaking out against the president, Leopoldo Fern├índez, the Prefect of Prando said, "The issue does not depend on whether or not [President Morales] submits to a recall vote, but that he returns the nation to the rule of law and stops abusing his powers."The conflict's roots lie in the 500 years of tense relations between Bolivia's highland indigenous populations, predominantly ethnic Quechua and Aymara, and the descendants of European immigrants,…