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the other Mr Bolivia : Who is García Linera?

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Wednesday January 04, 2006 13:11author by iosaf Report this post to the editors

a 43 year old mathematician and intellectual and ex-armed rebel is about to be sworn in as vice president of Bolivia.

For a variety of reasons, a lot of attention is going his way, perhaps because outside of Latin American circles, no-one really knows much about him.

A very short profile of vice president elect Álvaro García Linera of Bolivia with links.

First off, he refutes any attempt to portray him as "the real power" behind the throne. Secondly he maintains that Evo Morales and his regime will be neither "Chavista" or "Lulista". Thirdly he is attempting a definition (as ideologue) of a new form of "collective socialism" which he insists has little to do with more traditional marxist analysis. Indeed he's underscoring the difference between the new Leftist regime of South America and many of those parties and individuals (in Europe generally and Ireland in particular) who support them.
His vision of the "route to socialism" is based on a rejection of older "1950s marxist directions" though he concedes there are still some of that wing in Bolivian politics generally and in the MAS in particular.

García Linera was born October 19th 1962 in Cochabamba, Bolivia where he attended schools displaying a gift for maths, and thus went to Mexico where he graduated and later got post graduate (sciences) as well 1981-1985. He then went back to Bolivia and became a member of the guerilla group Tupaj Katari (named after an indiginous rebel hero) which fought the state in the 80s. He served 5 years in prison for being their "idealogue". He has past from "thinking for rebels" to "thinking for the president" in less than 20 years.

He defines himself as "an intellectual who has comitted to both left and indiginous postures". Consistent with that, it was he who within the Bolivian party MAS (movement to socialism) who led the decision to only support a leadership (& presidency) of an indiginous indian. Thus one would not be surprised to learn Mr García Linera is _not indiginous indian_.
& I suppose that ethnic detail has caused many to "overestimate" his power, for simple reasons of racism. To which his response has been to define himself as "the bridge between [supporters of] indiginous and the middle classes". = Race doesn't come into it, class does. But certainly the US media are happy to use his face in news images as Morales had his first encounter with US diplomats this last day.

He goes to great lengths to reassure all who interview him however that this is not the case, he is not "the real king or even king maker": Morales may lack much formal education, but his qualities of leadership and personal charisma are enough to serve the creation of a "personality cult". Though he reminds all, that such cults find most fertile ground in countries with a weak social fabric, he sees no possibility that Evo will be a "caudillo" (in response to questions on the similarities with Chavez) as Bolivia is a country with a "strong social fabric"..."with very high memberships of councils, unions, parish councils, support groups, guilds &c..,"

He describes an "Evo" project of 25 to 30 years. Which means a series of changes within Bolivia ( "ever mindful of national unity" ) and its relationship to "colonial forces". As the "middle class face" his reassurances this morning of the independence of the judiciary seem to have been well received. But exactly how long this rôle of "bourgouis apologist" will play to all galleries is hard to know.

García Linera describes Bolivia as
"now being a country of commerce not of export". & this is where redefining the relationship with corporate energy interests comes in. For a mathematician the figures are easy. Before the 11 current players arrived the Bolivian state garnered 390,000,000$ ( in 1995) in revenue. Last year their revenue was only up 20million$ despite them now being committed in the most tortuous way to "development bilateral aid package and infrastrucutural investment" to the tune of around 3 billion dollars. [ = they got ripped off big time].

This reading material is in spanish, so far Mr García Linera doesn't even have a wikipedia page in spanish, and his profile comes from his own party MAS and the ever trustworthy rebellion and bbc news-sites.

latest interview with BBC spanish service-
party profile
Leftists asked in October ought MAS really be called "movement to capitalism" and analysed the rôle of García Linera

for comprehensive background to Bolivia read this article and comments. it was by no means the most important story of 2005, but certainly the left will profit (in Europe) if understanding of these issues increases in 2006-

author by iosafpublication date Wed Jan 04, 2006 13:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A profile / interview published yesterday in Bolivia of the "counsellor & counterweight" with a little picture (so you can get the idea)-
Please note that no other comparative state has such a "2 face" regime. Indeed they are very very rare. One could argue that "third position liberalism" (the new Labour party of the UK) also chose to present itself as a duo - Blair &/ Brown. But Bolivia is not the UK.

& when you remember how this regime was elected, and the main platform it was elected on "nationalisation" you see its important.

Nationalisation is a very traditional marxist concept, its about to get a make-over for XXI century capitalism and socialism, I would not be being "infantile" to admit I see potentiality for progressive politics in Europe (the east where we ought be focussed) by observing closely this "evolution".

Indeed the "other campaign" trail stretches very far from the mountains of Chiapas or cafés of Barcelona or wherever it is you are reading indymedia.

Alvaro García Linera vice president elect of Bolivia.
Alvaro García Linera vice president elect of Bolivia.

author by iosafpublication date Wed Jan 04, 2006 22:08author address barcelonaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Evo Morales and 160 other delegates of the Bolivian government arrived today in Spain.
The poorest country in south America is a former imperial colony of Spain, and to this day most foreign investment and holdings in Bolivia are Spanish.

So their promise that "nationalisation will not usurp property rights" is probably pitched at owner types. But it came from the mouth of Evo Morales in Madrid, not the idealogue back home. As a meeting it was very good natured. Spain has promised to "condemn" foreign national debt of Bolivia (a most endebted state added to which is the peculiarly exploitative contracts imposed by the energy corporations) in return for "education".

It all sounds quite wonderful, but didn't go without reminders of the opposition both in Spain and the world. This greater socialist project for the americas not only has "U$" opponents. When MAS won the Bolivian election last december the RC bishops radio in Spain made a hoax call pretending to be Zapatero to Morales. And to add diplomatic injury to a bad old joke, Morales answered the telephone in all credulity...
The Spanish government were as usual "pissed off with the Kathurlicks". & today Zapatero laughed to reporters that Mr Morales had asked "was he really who he said he was?".

Quite. He may look like ZP and live in ZP's house but that doesn't really mean he's the president of the government of His Majesty Mr Bourbon's Kingdom of España. does it?

Colombian media's take on all this was to return to radio COPE today, where PP spokesperson Gustavo de Arístegui has declared the Bolivian election was bought with Petrol dollars from Chavez.

I suggest we all ask Chavez for petrol dollars to buy the 2006 election in Ireland. I'll translate the letter for you, Chavez is known to be a bit iffy on the english yankee language correspondence thing.

My eyes, (& many others') are now looking on Peru. The Peruvians are the next state which will see elections in 2006 on the Latin American stage. & we are going to see the whole "change" become much clearer. peruvians are today faced with media allegations of Chavez with those petrol dollars again pushing Ollanta Humala who has said its all a lie. A typical Kathurlick lie.
I'll (of course) tell you all about Humala another time : in the right place : under the right article.

Last thing, since we've talked about so many american dollars and petrol dollars and stuff...

Yesterday president Kirchner of Argentina
announced that today they were to pay their debt to the IMF.

& the IMF has just confirmed that they did it.
The head of the IMF at the moment is Mr Rodrigo Rato (as in Rat) an ex-minister of Aznar's PP government. Strangely radio COPE have made no flag waving mention of him. Anyway he just got 9,530 million $.
A lot of money. Argentina has it to spare says mr Kirchner. Thats politics say others. Read some García Marquez perhaps. At the end what stopped or started Brukman was not money.

(* with any of these "south american" articles if you don't understand a word/name look it up on google or wikipedia if you can't answer the query by using our search engine)

author by iosafpublication date Tue Apr 11, 2006 03:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

& I waited and bided my time. & yesterday Peruvians where I live in Barcelona waited upto 3 hours at the consulate to exercise their right to citizen participation in a general election (something Irish citizens do not get) By all accounts it was a massive participation.

& I've spoken to quite a few Peruvians since, and varying types they are. Humala was given the "backing" of Chavez in February, which probably is ok for most who don't go beyond "hero support simplicity". Of course by that stage Chavez had provoked 75% abstention in his own electorate, and for many South Americans and those interested in the affairs of that continent finally pushed the "caudillo" envelope too far, becoming with his media empire a twisted leftist version of Berlusconi in Europe. & thus the anarchosyndicalists issued their statements condemning the development of Chavez in his own land, whilst acknowledging the progress "under his watch" wishing all to remember that in his own day, even Castro had enjoyed uncritical support. The decision of Hugo Chavez to support Humala, thought Humala denied much rumoured financial support, achieved two things - for opponents to Humala it served as proof of a "caudillo agenda" behind the swing to "new left" regimes on the continent. & for supporters of Humala it proved that if Chavez gave him the ok, then the links with Humala's own brothers and the "to put it mildly" neo-nazi spin on indiginous inequality were just the stuff of Lima's paranoid middle class.

Which is where Mr García Linera of the article above comes in, or rather someone of his type and character and abilities because he's not ethnic . As I listened tonight to Peruvians in Europe, not a one is ready to accept a President who seems so fond of blaming "race" for the problems of imperialism and globalisation. And I noted that 3 of the people I talked to belonged the very ethnic groups in whose name Humala's Chavezesque campaign has been fought. At the moment I don't know if Peru owes more money to the IMF and World Bank than to Venezuela. I do know that Argentina did. that's often the bottom line.

We wait to see if there will be a "Another Mr Peru" as many breathe a sigh of relief that Humala has not won the presidential elections _outright_ but that the Peruvians go to a second poll. & as I tried to remind those I spoke to tonight, the shape of the congress is just as important.

Peru went through hell. Its going to be a bit before it sorts out its "national state identity".
But there are more pressing problems before hand - they are economic. And economy knows no colour. Chavez sent free oil to the Americans to piss off Bush, but the Argentinians still had to pay their debts to him. & thats how it is. No "shite" no "propaganda" - the government wins every time.

how the Chileans voted and not voted
background to the Bolivian election
background to Peru's problems ( in english )
the Peruvian election -

author by iosafpublication date Thu May 04, 2006 16:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nationalisation of the Hydro-carbons, must be followed by nationalisation of the Mining industries.
But nationalisation alone will not solve the problems of South America's poorest state with the richest natural resources.
Because the state is an exporting entity. Bolivians do not nor will ever eat their own gas, coal or oil.
Nor do they derive enough calories from their Coca production. & they have very little agricultural land to grow food on.
The 21st century no longer pretends that any state of so large a population may be truly "self-sufficient". No 5, 10, or even 30 year plan may be presented to feed the masses and then also provide them with healthcare, education and opportunities.

Thus Bolivia must rely on trade. It is a lesson which has been hard learnt through the embargos placed by the USA and then the EU on Cuba. It is less than 2 years since (perhaps due to Spanish lobbying) Trade restrictions with Cuba have been lifted. But the poverty which US imperialism caused has had untold effects on those who never left the island, and created monsters under "the materialist tutelage of Gloria Estafan" in Miami.

Bolivians like any nation count many different types of people. Those who make only ownership stakes, such as the miners who played such a pivotal role in last June's crises and seemed beyond the reins of control of any organised party. But to misqoute James Connolly - taking down the flag of ownership on the mine and hoisting your own banner will not make the coalface any easier to work

Others in Bolivia see now the opportunity to raise national consciousness and pride, sentiments never far from South American political development. There are those who still seek irrendist claims on the coast lost during the Chilean / Peruvian war. There are those who in the future shaping of the Andean or Latin American trade blocks seek humiliation of ancient enemies. No-one in Europe can underestimate the animosity which to this day exists between Peru and Chile, copperfastened (pun) by perceived economic dominance.

Socialism is a very difficult thing to achieve. & at its first steps (there is always the temptation as surreal as it seems) to choose "nationalist" solutions or variations. We need look no further than Europe's own history and the perverted and twisted roots of "social policy" in the fascist states of the 1930's. For many South American political and economic development is now completely reliant on a continental re-organisation. One which plays itself out as any mass movement with idols, great personalities, and voices across the range of "former rebels" : One a real lefty another a neo-con lefty etc.,
But behind all the attention to democracy, legitimacy, auto-criticism, and the poorest most disenfranchised not only the language which must be spoken to the mass to offset the effects of the most pernicious arm of US imperialism - (Hollywood) but also the language of the banker, capitalist and economist.

We will know the Bolivian miners have won, when they have machinery to work the coal face, showers after work, masks, security systems and not just little canary birds. & moreover we will know they have won, when mining is not their only option of labour, and that their children may be whatever they want.

even journalists.

We're all on the same side.

3 great men. 3 great revolutions.
3 great men. 3 great revolutions.

author by trollpublication date Mon Apr 20, 2009 15:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've just read this article about the Bolivian vice president who released the news about the supposed Irish mercenary teamed up with Croat neo-nazis and seperatists in Santa Cruz using symbolism just like Humala in the comment up the page.

what's the big deal, then?

It's not like the Irish reputation is affected nor are we going to open an embassy any time soon in either Santa Cruz or Bolivia.

author by iosafpublication date Mon Apr 20, 2009 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wrote this article as part of a series which began with and told how Bolivia became the first Latin American state with an indiginous president. Even if the Bolivian indiginous ethnic groups can't be considered "one", no more than the anyone is going to lump afroamericans and hispanic-americans together in one census report, the election of Morales was a triumph. & one which seemed at the time as unlikely as the election of a black president of the USA. I remember how I went along to the Bolivian consulate in Barcelona where I live and issued the first English translation thereafter of the migrant groups in Spain's demands for justice and an election. But I admit even then I had not grasped what I did much later on: that many Bolivians in Europe, typically of Americans in Europe north or south, can not only afford the plane fare but the lifestyle. More tellingly perhaps they can also afford the English classes before hand. Unsuprisingly a lot of Bolicians in Europe, and children of Bolivian parents born in Europe come from wealthy backgrounds. Most of the wealthy Bolivians live in Santa Cruz. The province which since the beginning has wanted to eff up the Morales & Linera project, which as Linera said & I reported above - shall last twenty to thirty years. Perhaps longer than Evo Morales.

From the moment your movement and your politics and dreams and hopes see a figurehead like Morales, or even I daresay a black president of the USA - sit in the driving seat.........

You must, if not already have, think long and hard, deeply and astutely about those who are your enemies and how they would go about their strategy : of reaction, of the seperatism of Santa Cruz which is as legimate as south Dublin ceding from the republic or west London ceding from the UK - of their fall guys, dupes and games.

Bolivia is now interesting to Irish people, because Dwyer is dead. Sure he's not even in the grave & no official report or inquiry has begun. But already the Irish public are being subtley prepared to disregard any hint that one of their sons, that many of their children grew up in such a way that seeking fortune in war and befriending merchants of death - seems "exciting".

There is little jungle in Santa Cruz, and no adventurer from Europe would find him or herself hiding out in face paint fighting communists for control of gas, water, and yes - water.

I remember hearing Garcia Linera when he came to speak a few years ago in Barcelona which was just about after the third rumoured coup d'etat or assassination plot. I cottoned on to one phrase which he pronounced then because my ears greeted the sentiment. "Evo Morales was elected not because he was the first but because he now leads the many who come after".

That was part of the sentiment why last year I chose to support Obama. Sure - I knew much would be the same, but I also a pragmatism in what the USA needs in the future. Not only in South America, but the middle east, the endgame of Iraq, the reprochment with Iran and the new relationship with China.

Europe doesn't really figure much in any of that. I am pretty sure Ireland doesn't figure at all. Her reputation just wouldn't stand up that tall and dignified, honest and noble. Much of the blame for that loss of esteem is to be placed at the threshold mat of FF, but not only them. The nobility to end violence and to use our wealth to promote equality and sustainability was not only squandered by FF. There are many others who played their part too.

Garcia Linera stands behind Morales, as do many. Perhaps as many as stand behind Obama. A throng of intelligent game players who are fit for any pretorian guard . I suppose once your democratically elected presidents have been assassinated and your dreams gone to the football stadium prior to disappearing or haunting a grassy knoll for ever : - : you get wise.

I daresay Mr Dwyer is not important. Nor is the other chap. But what they have come to represent is.

You now all know there are plots to overthrow progress in Bolivia at least.
There have been just as many in other states. Why, even that nice chap the ex-RC bishop who now leads Paraguay after half a century of fascists, and shock of horrors fathered a child whilst a priest,
has clocked up three serious plots and attempts.........despite there really being no opposition.

You now know those plots and that evil is on your social internet networks a mere click away.

If we don't have (& we don't let's get real) or if we can not rely on the means to watch or those who can watch those clicks and hunt those mice - then we're not keeping our figureheads from ethnic minorities safe, are we?

Who do we look to? Interpol? As I pointed out on imc uk their list of FARC's command was still offering rewards for information after the people had died. Obviously if those FARC chaps had had facebook accounts which were closed by relatives, interplod would have known sooner. But that's only talking about notorious leftist narcoterrorist anachronistic groups. That's very 20th century. Most globalised criminal networks and illicit trading is now carried out by people who wholeheartedly believe in the freemarket, capitalism, Thatcher, Reagan & Michael Mc Dowell's recipe for trickle down prosperity

Maybe we could hope Maryland's NSA will do its bit to promote multipolar economic growth and new intercultural development which is in keeping with our hopes for liberty, democracy and if not the free market - cars that run on batteries without mercury. Perhaps instead of undermining world peace by forcing water down a man's throat and nose over a hundred times in one month till he naturally confesses to carrying out 911, the US secret service could help make the world a better place...

Then there would of course always be the Chinese.

author by iosaf mac diarmadapublication date Fri May 01, 2009 02:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Soon after Obama specifically condemned any attempts to undermine the Bolivian regime or unitary statehood at the Americas summit where Morales was when Garcia Linera announced the liquidation of a terrorist cell intent on assassinating him, the same Garcia Linera stood between the tricolour of Bolivia and its new ethnic flag to speak of the states unmerciful attitude to seperatists and also, now that I mention it to give full credit to his own secret service and clarify that neither the CIA nor DEA nor even the NSA played a role in the story we are all following the avid attention to detail.

Now pay attention please, you are about to be introduced to a new angle on the "Dwyer" story.

This article like many others on IMC ireland falls outside of the
scope of archived news and opinion since that eventful summer and autumn of 2005 which saw the first man of "indiginous ethnicity" go from radical coca grower to democratically elected president of a South American state. I was caught up in that change as a younger translator trying my best to globalise the passion which at the time I understood in very simple "ethnic poor with brown skin and broken backs versus rich white with linen suits with army general pals" terms. I have learnt an awful lot since of what I describe as the byzantine politics of Bolivia.

The current front page of indymedia ireland carries a feature article by an Irish writer presently on the continent, Finoula Cregan in which she invites the left and progressive elements of Ireland to consider the background to the story which has meant (a) they think about Bolivia (b) the recognise the name Rozsa Flores (c) they now know far-right sympathisers filtered through the various Shell Ireland security operations.

But it doesn't mention the Evo Morales hunger strike.

Ghandi was the first national leader to go on hungerstrike, a tactic
he repeated but never as an "indiginous" leader of the national
interest he promoted. Indeed he was never to become the democratically elected leader of an independent British India, since the British thought to partition it on the basis of two religions into little parcels which gave nothing to the faith group of the man who would kill both Mahatma Ghandi and his succesor Indira. Similarly, during his long career as spokesperson of the coca growers of Bolivia, Evo Morales had used the hungerstrike tactic 18 times.

Evo Morales went on his 19th hunger strike in 2009 with the moral conviction if not authority which I had hoped readers would recognise when I titled another back article "Evo Morales "morality president" hits again!" which was published to mark the MayDay 2006 nationalisation of sub soil" hydro-carbon resources of his state with his now historic "supreme decree" 28,701." that article was followed by "Bad News for Mafia Stockholders, Bolivia nationalises Fuel" which mentioned the role played by this article's subject the Bolivian vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera

The Evo Morales hungerstrike was intended to highlight the neccesity of the next phase of reforms of the project Garcia Linera had described as "lasting 20 to 30 years". Amongst the elements were the introduction of the supposedly "ethnic languages" into officialdom and state education and the civil service, starting with Quechua and Aymara. It also saw many statues and memorials raised to Tupaj Katari, the Aymaran leader who beneath the banner "the land for those who work it" lead the indiginous rebellions in Bolivia and later Peru in the early 1780's some 70 years after Bolivar's campaign to
liberate "upper Peru". (Remember that Bolivia was before the great liberator Bolivar whose name the country bears, a province of the viceroy of Lima and known as upper Peru)

A recent issue of the English Guardian's Sunday "Observer" edition saw its Irish editor's piece on Dwyer's death "Man shot in Bolivia linked to racist gang"
by an Irish journalists co-contribution from Bolivia "Bolivia's
'little Indians' find voice :President Morales is giving sweeping
rights to indigenous groups who use modern pop to refresh their
mention the approval of one such memorial to Tupaj Katari but no
mention perhaps to oversight, space considerations, readers depth of critical understanding or indeed the exigencies of political prejudice to the lengthy debates which had widened the Santa Cruz politicians agenda of unease beyond their province and their by now well known far-right sympathies. It's quite easy to understand, the vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera was in his time a member of the Che Guevara trained Tupaj Katari rebels as I explained in this article above, and to this day some of those still pursue that armed struggle tradition as the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army

Evo's 19th hungerstrike lasted 5 days.

& as we of course should know and perhaps take too much for granted, the indiginous rights reform laws were passed, the latest raft of a long list of constitutional reforms were passed and the question of Evo Morales right to continuous re-election, that little bone of perpetuate contention which in its turn caused Chavez some setbacks was addressed. The Qullasuyu wiphala was established as the dual flag of Bolivia along with the previous red, yellow, and green banner in the newly ratified
constitution. That followed much debate on how to change the crest which takes the centre of the traditional Bolivian tricolour and where some of Evo Morales longest and most passionate supporters, fellow coca farmers and esteemed colleague indiginous revolutionaries had wanted to see included a coca leaf. But instead of including the raw material of cocaine in the flag the solution was to accept the technicolour patchwork, which actually rather than being the ancient agreed banner or even an all embracing rainbow symbolism of unity between the many indiginous (and it is time we qualified what we mean by indiginous – it generally means non white but doesn’t include descendents of african imported slaves) the Quallasuyu Wiphala is instead a simple variant of the Tupac flag of vice president Alvaro Linera Garcia’s past. It is you could say his funderland flag.

And so when he made the announcement that his secret service had foiled a magnicide plot against Evo whilst Evo was out of the state, less than a month after his harshest critics had wondered publically at the extent of his power and dared and defied him to seize them and take them out of circulation – some on the left might have been forgiven for wondering, how difficult it is for poachers turned gamekeepers to walk that sublime aforementioned “morality line”. Perhaps in the name of publicising neonazi collusion with Shell and the Gardai and Irish navy and Irish state we can ignore a shoot to kill. But extra-judicially detaineed suspects with their heads wrapped in duxt tape during a bumpy 5 hour drive from Santa Cruz to La Pas as was seen, reported and illustrated by me in the last 48 hours, is a demonstration of power which raises my hackles.

& so I move to sarcasm & I ask you to consider my explanation of how Alvaro Linera Garcia, no matter how much I have and may still admire him, got his Funderland flag.

I and you expect it to be more than a funderland flag don't we?

Ná leathnaigh do bhrat muna féidir leat á chosaint
Ná leathnaigh do bhrat muna féidir leat á chosaint

author by Mavi - Centro de Investigación de Lenguas, Educación y Cultura Indipublication date Wed Feb 08, 2012 19:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I read just one of the articles about Bolivia and i think you dont have idea about what are you talking about. You are welcome to Latin America, to learn our story, to see the pain in our people, to survive living as an worker and then i would like to read you again. The journalism is terrible in my country but I imagine in your country is worst. You should not be permitted to write in medias about subject like this. The reason: You are an ignorant! Read The open veins in Latin america of Galeano so it will open your mind, Ignorant!


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