My name is Miguel A. Buitrago. Welcome to my blog. If you want to know more about me visit my personal website. Thank you! Happy readings!!!

March 28, 2006

One Week Off to Istanbul

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For more images, please visit my Flickr stream, on the right bar. Thanks!

Dear readers:

I will be off-line for about 6 to 8 days because I'll be attending the World Movement for Democracy's Fourth Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey.

In am excited to be there and take part in such an event. I hope I can make some contributions, meet lots of people and make many contacts.

At the same time, I'll be heading there a bit early to take a couple of days off and get to know the city. I am also excited to visit such an exotic place. Yes, it is exotic for me!

So, that means blogging will be reduced to its minimum. That is, at least until I get back. Well, maybe onece or twice, I just don't know.

I wish you all well and Until next week.

Miguel

March 27, 2006

Is Evo Morales Trying to Consolidate his Power?

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Those of you who have been reading MABB for some time know that I have a main fear when it comes to Evo Morales becoming president of Bolivia. As I said it im this previous post, there is a disturbin trend or shall I say already a goal by the Morales government to consolidate power. Much like the way Chavez has consolidated his power in Venezuela.

One reason lighting up my scepticism is the close relationship between Morales and Chavez. Aside from bein almost a close friendship, Chavez has taken it upon himself to provide Morales with all the support he sees fit to..... I don't know what? For starters, the Chavez government has an office in La Paz. That is, the PDVSA has an office in La Paz, which was opened the day after Morales took office. Chavez himself said that office was there to support Morales on energy policy and anything Morales needed. Moreover, there often are Venezuelans in the Morales' entourage and more recently, Venezuela has sent "experts" to help the Bolivian government to register people to provide them with id cards.

But, that wouldn't be much worrying, if it was just that, "cooperation" among nations. What is worrying is the pattern the Morales governmet is following, which is eerily similar to that followed by Chavez in recent time. For an overview and for purpose of comparison, you can visit the link about Chavez on Wikipedia. According to the WSJ:

Since winning a presidential election in 1998, Castro's Venezuelan protégé, President Hugo Chavez, has pursued precisely what the Russian researchers in Santiago described: the methodical consolidation of absolute authority under the guise of "democracy." Along with paramilitaries and community snoopers, the Chavez power grab has entailed converting the congress into a unicameral body, rewriting the constitution to enhance his rule and purging potential opponents in the military.

Having "legally" completed these initial steps to consolidate his power, Mr. Chavez then militarized the government, packed the Supreme Court, imported a large number of Cubans to indoctrinate the citizenry and began choking off the private sector with capital and price controls. The Catholic Church and the media remain largely outside his grasp but regularly are targets of state intimidation tactics. Virulent Chavez rhetoric polarizes society, inflames hatred and puts the safety of independent thinkers at risk.

Developments last week demonstrate that this crazed "Bolivarian revolutionary," as he sees himself, is now in the final phases of his consolidation. The noose is already so tight around the neck of what is left of the democracy that it may not be able to escape. Short of some improbable rebellion by the largely unarmed opposition, Venezuelan free society will be swinging from the gallows by the time Mr. Chavez's useful idiots in the U.S. Congress and the Organization of American States figure out that he is no democrat.

This is a widely recognized assessment of what and how Chavez has done to consolidate his government.

Now if we look at the first months of Morales' government, we can clearly discern a similar path. Morales and his government have been systematically trying to replace the leading positions in the government and other institutions. For example, he has fired all the generals in top positions of the military and the police. He replaced them, not the way is customary with the following class of officers, but he skipped three classes, 73,73,74 (about 30 generals). In the process he upset the protocol and not to mentioned the colnels and generals skipped over. Morales used the misil scandal to explain his decision.

Another example is the replacement of, according to the Minister of International Relations, Choqueuanca, all the civil servants representing Bolivia overseas. This means the resignation of 34 ambassadors and some 80 consuls. One more example is the attempts of the government to change the electoral court's officials. Morales alleged that there was foulplay by the acting officials of the electoral court because there were so many people who could not vote in the last elections. This is not a done deal but if the next Constituent Assembly elections similar problems arise, the court could be in for a change of guard. One last example is the all too worrying resignations of several of the Supreme Court's magistrates. The Supreme Court is one of the few institutions which enjoys a decent opinion rating and is fairly independent. Morales controls already the executive and the legislative branches. If he gets to control the judicial as well and institutions like the electoral court and the police, it would be something to think about.

Among other patters are the intention of the government to create a radio network with a station in each one of the 109 provinces in the country. This network would be supported by the government. This project, by the way, is being carried out with the support of the Venezuelan government. I think I can already hear "aló presidente Evo". Another project is that effort, also with the help of Venezuela, to provide with ids to people in the country side. Already there are allegations that those ids are being issued to foreign nationals as well.

In the last few days, there was an article in La Razón which talked about Morales' expressed intentions to control the Constituent Assembly. His strategy will be to use his party's name (MAS) and the names of other organizations. Since the distribution of seats will be two for the winning party and one for the second, Morales' intentions is to get the three votes from each voting district. That way he would control the assembly.

The premise is that Evo Morales is following Chavez's steps to try to consolidate his grasp on the Bolivian government. I don't think it would be exaggeration to say that this is not a secret anymore. It is clearly visible on Morales' actions. These are all intentions for now. But, if we just look at them as intentions, once they are reality it'll be too late to go back.

March 23, 2006

Bombings in Bolivia

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Update 2:

This is getting better and better. Eduardo and Jonathan of Barrio Flores and JBB&P, respectively, have conducted some ivestigative work on the two suspects and have uncovered interesting info. Check the comments section on this post and pay a visit to Barrio Flores.

I really hope the police are googling his name, whatever it is. I just did a quick search on that name Eduardo gives us on his update and even found an address on the guy in Diamond Springs, CA, in a post looking for a female from Uruguay, Argentina, Colombian, Spain and Italy. He's even got an ebay profile.

Amusing, that's all!

Update 1:

There is more information about the bizarre bombings in La Paz, Bolivia. According to information in El Diario, the alleged perpatrators are: Lestat Claudius de Orleáns y Montevideo y and his Uruguayan girlfriend, Alda Rebeiro Acosta (Photo of the two here). The two checked-in, first, into the Riosinho II motel, about four days before the bombings. The hotel administrator said that he had seen them very nervous that same night (March 21). He remembers the couple arrived at the hotel that night very late (around 11.30 pm) and they seemed agitated. The at 1.30 am both asked the administrator to open the door because she was sick and they wanted to go to a hospital in El Alto. That is how they got away. The administrator however did not got suspicious and took note of the taxi's license plate. He then passed this info to the police.

Sometime after they left, the police arrived at the motel and asked about the couple. The administrator told them they had left, but they weren't convinced. They tried to enter the room but couldn't. From a broken window, the police and the administrator could see smoke and a spark on its way to the bathroom. They then proceeded to empty the building.

Thanks to that info on the taxi, both are in custody as we speak and have made headlines around the world already. A list of those headlines you can find below.

The following links are from Yahoo alerts service:

American Jailed in Deadly Bolivia Bombings
AP via Yahoo! News Wed, 22 Mar 2006 6:54 PM PST
An American man and his Uruguayan girlfriend were arrested Wednesday after bombs severely damaged two low-budget hotels in Bolivia's capital, killing two people and injuring at least seven.

American Jailed in Deadly Bolivia Bombings
ABC News Wed, 22 Mar 2006 7:28 PM PST
American Man and His Uruguayan Girlfriend Jailed in Bolivia Bombings That Killed Two People

Two die in Bolivia hotel bombings
CNN.com Wed, 22 Mar 2006 6:23 AM PST
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) -- Bomb blasts rocked two small hotels in the center of the Bolivian city of La Paz, killing two people, and officials said on Wednesday they had arrested two foreign suspects.

American admits to bombings in Bolivia
The Star-Ledger Wed, 22 Mar 2006 10:16 PM PST
LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Twin bomb blasts tore through two budget hotels and killed two people in La Paz overnight, and Bolivian police said a 27-year-old American admitted carrying out the attacks yesterday.

American held in Bolivia blasts
Kansas City Star Thu, 23 Mar 2006 0:13 AM PST
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivian police Wednesday arrested an American and a Uruguayan woman thought to be his wife in connection with explosions that killed two persons and injured seven at two hotels.

In Unruly Bolivia, Orchestra's Chief Wields Baton Against the Brickbats
Forward Wed, 22 Mar 2006 11:35 PM PST
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Dozens of street protests have paralyzed downtown La Paz since David Handel first became conductor of the Bolivian National Symphony Orchestra in 1997.

American arrested in connection with hotel bombings in Bolivia
Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau Wed, 22 Mar 2006 4:55 PM PST
LA PAZ, Bolivia - Bolivian police arrested an American and an Uruguayan woman believed to be his wife early Wednesday in connection with a pair of explosions that killed two people and injured seven at two budget hotels in the center of this high-altitude city.

Chile open to ties with Bolivia -- but without conditions
Miami Herald Thu, 23 Mar 2006 0:10 AM PST
(AP) -- The government of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Wednesday it wants to renew diplomatic relations with Bolivia, but not if its South American neighbor insists on first resolving its long-standing demand for access to the Pacific Ocean.

Two killed in Bolivia explosions
BBC News Wed, 22 Mar 2006 4:51 AM PST
Two people are killed and five injured in separate blasts at two small hotels in Bolivia's main city, La Paz.

American Arrested After Deadly Blasts at Bolivia Hotels
Fox News Wed, 22 Mar 2006 7:22 AM PST
Police say an American is one of two people arrested after bombs explode inside two low-budget hotels in Bolivia's capital overnight, killing two people and wounding seven.


About the couple, the police alleges that Lestat arrived in Bolivia on May 2005 through Villazón, a city on the border with Argentina. He then proceeded to go to Potosí where he bought a significant amount of dynamite (TNT). He moves on to Sucre, from where he sends a package with TNT and a threat to a Uruguayan judge, some Mr. Barrera. The package never arrived because it was detected by the Bolivian DEA.

In June 2005 he and his girlfriend were arrested for allegedly attempting to blow an ATM at a local bank in the border town of la Quiaca, Argentina. However, they are released later that year on December 2005. On February 2006 he comes back into Bolivia and travels to Cazani, Perú via Copacabana, Bolivia. There he allegedly detonates another bomb.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last night at around 9.30 pm and 2 am, there were two explosions which are being called terrorist attacks. The explosions took part in two central neighborhoods ini La Paz.

The first one happened in the Linares motel, close to San Francisco square. It left two dead (a 30 to 35 year old man and a 25 year old woman) and several injured (two 24 year olds, one 26 and a 27 year old women). According to witnesses, a "foreigner" looking man (around 30 years old) checked-in and left minutes before the explosion went off. The police said that it looked like they had used the Israeli explosive material C-4.

The other explosion happened at the Riosinho motel and due to a telephone call warning them of the explosion, the owners could avoid fatalities. Nonetheless, there were two injured.

This kind of news are not unheard in Bolivia, especially in La Paz. But, I am talking about in military rule time. What is prompting these attacks, we can just speculate at this time, but the trend cannot be well viewed.

The authorities are taking precautions and they are setting police guard in all the most important spots around the city.

Other links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4833100.stm

and La Razón.

Note:
Sorry, my browser is acting up on my. I could not set the links up.

March 17, 2006

Evo Wants to Neutralize the Opposition

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The government of Bolivia, headed by Evo Morales, is proposing to change the bill regulating the summon to the Constituent Assembly. You can find the entire text here, in Spanish. The changes are, first to extend the deadline for the registration of candidates, and the second is to stop state campaign finance.

The first change would affect every organization trying to register, but needing more time to do it. Many organizations just do not have the means or the know-how to do this. The electoral court is considering pushing the deadline about a week. That will give them enough time and it will not significantly affect the work of the court to keep the schedule.

The second change would directly affect the opposition. If state financing of political campaigns is stopped, the opposition would have difficulty reaching rural communities or any other region where they do not have a significant presence. Thus those people would not have alternatives for their choice. As far as the government is concerned, they would have the capacity to reach the four corners of the territory.

There are many people who are criticizing this decision as trying to neutralize the opposition and opening the opportunities for the government to control the Constituent Assembly. For its part, Evo Morales has expressed his desire to win the election of assembly members by large margins (70% or even 80%). His reasons were the difficulties Congress presented at the time of decreeing a law. Morales said he often feels constrained by Congress, because when he wants to do something with a decree, Congress has to first approve, and according to him, it is difficult to make Congress agree with his government. (article here)

It is difficult to trust the government on changes like these. Specially when it is widely known (ex post) that there are still Chavez advisors acting behind the courtains, "advising" the government of Bolivia and knowing how Chavez got to dominate the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela and used it to consolidate his grip on government.

March 14, 2006

There is a Lot Going On in Bolivia: Morales' Government and the Various Issues

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At almost two months into the Morales administration period, there is one issue taking priority: The Constituent Assembly. However, with the CA bill already passed, the process has kicked into gear and its moving slowly but surely towards June 2. Without a doubt there are many more hurdles to deal with, but the political will is notoriously positive. With the CA aside, for the moment, the government has started to pay attention to other issues of adminstrative nature.

The new phase in the CA process is the registration of eligible voters. The electoral court (CNE) has just opened the registration books. Be assured that this time the CNE will be very careful on this phase because, precisely this phase was the one that created severe criticism from the MAS last December. The critics had to do with the eligibility of voters. Because there were so many people who could not vote; who when at the ballot centers, they found out they were ineligible, the MAS criticized and even threatened to change leadership in the CNE. There were even accusations of fraud and political bias. That is the reason that the CNE has and will be very carefull now.

The requierements are as follows: People 18 years or older; those who changed address and those who did not vote last December. The documents required are, ID, a document called "Unique National Registration" (not sure what that is) or passport, and for the males, the military service document.

Currently there is a drive, aided by the government of Venezuela, to provide with documents of identification to the people in the country side. The peasants who don't have IDs and thus don't even bother to vote.

At the same time though, there are many other issues taking the attention of the government. A recent one was the official visit to Chile by Morales. President Morales paid a visit to this country in exchange of the visit Ricardo Lagos paid at Morales' inauguration. Morales attended Michelle Bachelet's inauguration where he had two main things to do: one was to make viable the rapprochement between Chile and Bolivia. The other was to meet with the US Secretary of State, Rice, to show his disposition to have some kind of relations with the Bush administration.

The two objectives were achieved by Morales first meeting with Bachelet and expressing his desire to establish a new kind of relationship between Chile and Bolivia. Morales mentioned that Bolivia wanted to sell energy to Chile and that his government stood ready to have an open agenda with Chile. The positive sign came from Chile when Bachelet agreed to work on relations with an open agenda and her desire to re-establish diplomatic relations with Bolivia. On his scheduled 30 minute meeting with Rice, Morales touched the issue of Coca and the need of continued support from the US in terms of open markets. According to reports, Rice was direct in saying that the position of the US on Coca is unchanged and since the access to markets is conditioned to this issue, there would be no modification to recent decisions taken by Bush's government. Wheter these decisions are good or bad is up to interpretation.

In recent days Tabare Vazquez, the president of Uruguay visited Bolivia. Him and Morales signed an agreement to sell Bolivian energy (natural gas) to Uruguay. This agreement can be beneficial for both countries if carried out. The only problem is that Uruguay and Bolivia don't have a commong border and any deal would have to include Paraguay or Argentina. At the same time, Alvaro Uribe, president of Colombia is visiting Bolivia (as I write this) to try to bring understanding to his government's international exchange policy. His government recently signed a TLC with the US government. This agreement could result in the closing of markets for Bolivian Soya products. The government of Bolivia was worried and had even put the future of the Andean Community in doubt. In previous commentaries Uribe said he had met the Andean community's expectations and MERCOSUR's. This issue is not yet resolved for the Bolivian government. If the TLC closes these markets, the relations between the Andean Community will be strained. Let's not forget that Chavez is in this community and he has no good relationship with Uribe.

On a final note on the international side, the Bolivian government is planning to close several embassies. A list of these embassies is not yet available but the criteria is to close embassies in countries where the level of bilateral relations is low.

On the domestic side, the Morales government wants to work on the improvement of the budget by implementing reforms to the collection of taxes. To my surprise the government wants to start taxing the incomes or the capital of citizens. This was one of the reasons why the government of Mesa was kicked out of government. It is an explosive issue but I am interested to see how the current government handles this. I would say if it works in any way with progressive taxes, it could stand a chance.

There are a lot of issues in Morales' plate. For the time being, the international issues are taking priority, at least from the press' point of view. One outcome is worth highlighting, and that is the possibility of rapprochement between Chile and Bolivia.

March 10, 2006

The Devil's Miner

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Just bought myself this movie and wanted to talk about it. I don't want to review it, I am not a movie critic, but just post some thoughts.

I learned of this movie from a poster about an event going on in town. The event remembers the celebrated father Romero and among many talks, discussions, workshops, presentations, etc., this movie is being shown. So I looked it up on the net and found plenty of info (here and here).

As I read the various descriptions and reviews I became more interested and finally decided to buy the film and not wait for the showing of it here in town.

The movie is a documentary about the lives of two young child miners from Potosi, Bolivia. The older brother is Basilio and is 14 years old, and the younger brother's name is Bernardino, aged 12. It was shot by the Austrian film maker Richard Ladkani and his American partner Kief Davidson. The two were filming and working for seven years to bring this project to realization.

The film is very well made, in my opinion. The film makers try and succeed on showing the world of Basilio and Bernardino from the point of view of the children. This brings even more to the foreground the reality in which the two live. A world of extreme poverty, much harder than many of us could imagine and to top it all off, with out a father who could alleviate their lives in some meaningful way.

The film also shows a world full of religious contradictions in which the Bolivian miners have lived for centuries. A world in which while outside of the mine, the people believe in God and Jesus. But, once they venture into the tunnels underneath the earth, they have to believe and worship the devil or as they call it the "uncle of the mine" (in Spanish, tio de la mina). This apparent blasphemy is entirely explainable and non-contradictory in that world. When the miners are in the realm of God, i.e. outside of the mines, they believe God is watching after them. Once the miners enter the realm of the devil, i.e. the caverns, they believe the devil will watch after them. This belief, I assume is kind of practical. Since the mines are the realms of the devil, they pay tribute to the lord of the place. The miners recognize that the devil can take their lives away any time and therefore they have to respect him.

What impressed me more about the movie was the way Basilio took his new role as "the bread winner" of the household with so much ease. He could be, a father, a brother, a son and child, all at once. When going to work, he would take his younger brother, Bernardino, to help him at work. There he would watch out after him and would also take time to train him and ease him into the work. At home, he would play with his siblings (he also had a much younger sister) like a child.

Another thing that impressed me was how conscious of their mortality the two kids were. They knew that if they continued working in the mines it would mean a short life. However, they accepted this as part of the life of a miner.

The film really showed the hard life of a miner through the eyes of a child miner. And how is the reality of child labor in modern Bolivia. It is a film to see and to think about it afterwards. One cannot help but to think about it.

For what it's worth, I really recommend seeing the movie. The only thing I didn't like is that too many of the scenes were filmed with a hand held camera. So you get those shots where the image is moving and you can get sick if you watch it too intensly. Thise scenes did not let me concentrate on the film. But, the film is well worth the watch. Enjoy it.

March 09, 2006

Reuters Report about Bolivia and the IMF

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Here is an article by Reuters about Bolivia and the probable end of its dependency relationship with the IMF .

Bolivia seen likely to end IMF financing ties

The article quotes Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director at the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington as saying:

"The need for new economic policies can be seen from the severe economic failure over the last quarter of a century," Weisbrot said in a report this week, adding Bolivia's per capita income is lower now than it was in 1978.

"It would not be surprising if the new government of Bolivia were to allow the current agreement with the IMF to expire at the end of March and not seek any renewal," he said.

The big question, Weisbrot said, is whether an agreement with the IMF will be a condition for other sources of funding -- especially the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and high-income governments.

"In the past, this would almost certainly have been true. This may not be true today," he said. "The power of the fund has declined drastically since the late 1990s."

March 08, 2006

The Distribution of Seats in the Upcoming Bolivian Constituent Assembly

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The distribution of Constituent Assembly members can be seen in this La Razón graphic. As explained in my previous post, every department will have five seats and on top, every single member electoral district will get three seats. On the graph you can see the distribution per department and per district.

As expected La Paz has the most seats, but one can see that the eje truncal or main axis, that is La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz have the lion's share of seats. That is because the districts are created taking into account population statistics (proportional representation).

What I don't see here is the explicit representation of ethnic groups. That was a campaign promise from Morales. Although, as many for sure will argue, these groups are duly represented proportionally in each district. Indeed, many of these districts are predominantly ethnic, but the only problem is that these districts do not make distinctions between ethnic groups. Many of these groups are indiscriminately put together. Granted that does not make much difference in terms of proportional representation, the problems arise when individual representation is concerned. Many ethnic groups don't like this aspect of democracy.

But I digress. The graph is useful in order to show the distribution of power with in the CA. One final thing, it would expected that alliances would be forming. One distinct alliance is that of Santa Cruz and Tarija, at the regional level. This alliance takes part around the banner of "autonomy". Sucre, could be jumping on this wagon as well.

March 04, 2006

Constituent Assembly (Part II)

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According to the Bolivian media, the Constituent Assembly (CA) bill could be signed and proclaimed by the government as early as tomorrow, Sunday, March 5, 2006.

The Bolivian government and Congress have been under pressure to agree on a bill to call for a CA by early March. The time pressure was set by the electoral court arguing that if the bill was not law by early March, the elections for assembly members could not take part as scheduled.

Congress and the government have been under intense negotiations since over a week. Now, it looks like they have reached accord after a marathonic session which took place from around 9 am Friday to around 1.30 am Saturday. In addition, the special committee and the vice-president met again on Saturday morning to keep negotiating.

The results have come out already and it looks like there is agreement on the bill and the question about the autonomic referendum. Below I consider only the contentious issues which at one point in time put in doubt the CA.

The CA bill calls for the election of 255 members, of which 210 will be elected with direct vote. There will be three members per electoral district. Two for the party, group, civic organization, ethnic group, etc., that wins the most votes and one for the second majority. The number of electoral disctricts is 70. That satisfies the demands of the government. The other 45 members will be elected in departmental districts. That means each department will have five more members. The first two seats will go to the winner and the rest three will be distributed to the political forces achieving 5% of the vote.

One thing to highlight is the mode of seat distribution in the first 210 members. Had the government gotten what it wanted, the three seats would have gone to the political force winning 50% plus of the vote. As you can see now, it will be distributed among the first and second majorities. This was an important victory for the opposition. Another important victory was that the CA will carry on to completely reform the constitution, while the state powers will carry on with their work. According to the government's proposal, the CA was going to attain unlimited powers to reform the state. This would have given a blank check to Morales to make changes at his discretion. One last victory worth highlighting concerns the autonomic referendum, which is supposed to be binding.

The autonomic referendum has been a priority for Santa Cruz, and as of today, it will be part of the official agenda. The referendum will take place the same day of the elections for representatives to the CA, July 2, 2006. This date was set on June 2005, when president Mesa resigned. It will be binding, so the CA will have to take into account and respect the outcome of the referendum. The question is to be:

"¿Está de acuerdo, en el marco de la unidad nacional, en dar a la Asamblea Constituyente, el mandato vinculante para establecer un régimen de autonomía departamental aplicable inmediatamente después de la promulgación de la Nueva Constitución Política del Estado en los departamentos donde este referéndum tenga mayoría de manera que sus autoridades sean elegidas directamente por los ciudadanos y reciban del Estado nacional competencias ejecutivas, atribuciones normativas administrativas y los recursos económicos financieros que les asigne la nueva Constitución Política del Estado y las leyes?".

Translation: Are you in favor of, in the framework of national unity, giving the Constituent Assembly the binding power to establish autonomous departmental governments applicable inmediately after the promulgation of the new Constitution in the departments in which this referendum got the majority of votes in the manner in which its authorities are elected directly by the citizens and receive from the state executive competencies, administrative and normative attributions and the necessary economic and financial resources assigned to them by the new Constitution?

As far as the major actors in these negotiations, the vice-president and the congressional leaders, they sound satisfied with the results. For its part the MAS has given-in into many demands of the opposition and the opposition at the same time has ceded some demands as well. If this continues on, it could be a landmark result and president Morales could sign the bill as early as Sunday, March 5, 2006.

Update: I was trying to work out a sort of projection model to see what would be the outcome of the new CA bill as far as seats is concerned. Fortunatelly, I took a look at Ciao! and I found Miguel had done some of the work. In his post, he speculates, based on the results of the December 2005 elections, how many members would MAS get. He concludes:

The grand total would give MAS 116 delegates, or 45% of the constituent assembly (based on 43.52% of the total nation-wide vote across uninominal districts). Of course, these figures are all merely extrapolations based on voting results in the 2005 election & are subject to change. But certainly this arrangement seems to make it much more difficult for Evo or MAS to stack the assembly in their favor & turning it into a rubber stamp.

Considering that it is important to maintain a balance of interests and give representativity to all groups around the country, so that one group or political party does not dominate the assembly and crafts the country of its choice, I tend to agree with Miguel on his conclusion that it will be harder for Evo to dominate the assembly and create a country based on his own idea.