The division within the MAS exposes Bolivia to an imperialist victory

The division within the MAS exposes Bolivia to an imperialist victory

By Prof. Dr. Fernando Esteche

When the social movements built the political tool MAS-IPSP (Movement towards Socialism – Political Instrument of the Sovereignty of the People), it was clear that political sovereignty fell to a conglomerate of movements or organizations that had their own logic for constructing representation.

Without fear of being adventurous, we can say that in Bolivia, like no other place in the world in history, social movements made the leap into politics and even took over the State government, led by President Evo Morales.

Some analysts, with good intentions, will point out that the increasingly undisguisable dissent within the MAS itself is a product of the alignment of the bases in two broad sectors. These are called, though without justification, the “radical” and the “reformist.” And it is argued that this is a dispute for control of the state apparatus.

Many believe that the nature of the burning dispute that has led the MAS to an imminent abyss as a political expression is the product of different sectors of the social movements vying for their preferential place of dialogue with the government from which they feed their own existence. Those who directly maintain that this is a dispute over the perks of each organization in relation to the government will be more scathing. Those who follow President Arce holding in power today, against those who follow Evo Morales while trying to recover what they had before.

What will be evident to many is a shift in leadership from the pole of social movements of coca farmers to those of the suburban areas, that is, from Cochabamba to Alto.

By “radical” they refer to the sector that is already in open opposition and using treacherous accusations against the government and against the so-called “reformist” sector that expresses itself more publicly in President Arce.

Neither are radical in the ideological sense, nor are the others reformist in the political sense.

The call for two MAS congresses, and even the duplication of the representations and leaderships of the most emblematic social movements, exposes the seriousness of the schism.

The Bolivian analyst García Yapur says it is “a change in the power structure; now, the urban sectors such as those of El Alto and the Aymara organizations are in leadership, having displaced the intercultural organizations headed by the Six Federations of the Tropics and led by Morales.”

The MAS division was consolidated after unsuccessful attempts at international efforts to prevent this from happening. The São Pablo Forum, which brings together reformist groups, tried to mediate without luck; while the Puebla Group, more institutionalist and social democratic, carried out reserved efforts but which did not advance beyond good intentions, immediately frustrated by the confrontational action of the protagonists of the schism.

On May 5, the MAS Congress was held in El Alto, which was unilaterally convened by the sectors around Arce and Choquehuanca.

On June 10, the sectors around Evo Morales will hold their own congress in the Cochabamba tropics where they will ratify authorities, or elect their own, completely ignoring the previous congress, which will expose the MAS “membership” to its disappearance.

Note the place where each of the congresses is held reflects the strength in the area of each of the sectors.

With the declared slogan of “the era of Evo is over”, which also shows the true nature and intention of the congress, the new presidency of Grover García of the MAS was resolved to replace Evo Morales. In his first speech, the new president said as the first thing that the instrument for social organizations had been “recovered.”

A demonstration by President Arce that talks about the “disqualification” for the presidential candidacy of Evo Morales is the key, or the excuse, from which both parties accuse each other of dissolving policies and mutual sabotage.

Evo demands Arce’s rectification on the point in order to be able to exercise the MAS presidential candidacy. In the same way, Morales will say that the tens of thousands of participants in the May congress are government officials threatened with losing their jobs and that the president manages the Superior Electoral Court at his discretion, despite which this body has not yet validated the May congress.

Such a point of non-reconciliation was triggered when last year (2023) Evo Morales’ sectors held a party congress where they proclaimed him the sole presidential candidate and absolute leader of the movement. At that time, the Superior Electoral Court that regulates the internal life of political parties in Bolivia did not validate said congress.

Treacherous accusations come from the government against sectors of Evoism about economic damage to the state, targeting former ministers and officials that resulted in suicides, prisons and persecutions. On Evo’s side, they directly accuse the president’s son of negotiating using influence peddling with foreign companies regarding lithium.

Any lay reader can notice that whether it is Arce or Evo who is in charge of the government of Bolivia, if he is also supported by the social movements, he will carry out a management of recovery and construction of sovereignty. Anyone will be able to notice that whatever the hegemonic sector in the MAS, both sectors greatly annoy imperialism and its redeployment plan in the region, especially the assault on lithium as a recurring threat to General Richardson, head of the Southern Command, will be confronted.

In the same way, the behavior in the face of Yañez’s coup d’état and during her government also provokes harsh accusations among the old companions who knew how to illuminate an original Our-American and anti-imperialist hope.

It would be a great geopolitical myopia not to see the action of imperialism through fifth-columns and infiltrators influencing and fueling these divisions that should not be reduced to problems of egos or personal ambitions. But it is evident that, immersed in the internalist dynamics, the most eminent cadres of the MAS cannot distinguish this, much less articulate a policy to avoid it.

It is obvious to establish that if the division of the MAS takes place, the great winner will be North American Imperialism, which will reappear in the country hand in hand with any of the versions of the surrenderist and anti-national opposition that exists in Bolivia.

United World International

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June 2024