The Bolivia Lie

Via BoRev. Inca Kola News does a breakdown of the votes complete with loads of graphs and maps and all that good demographic stuff, the conclusion? Would you be surprised to hear the opinions of the wealthy conservatives (and, ahem, in places fascists) minority were being misreported as a nationwide split that favours autonomy, just like the Bush regime want, no go on, try to be surprised. The resounding smackdown the referendum gave to this fiction is being spun stubbornly to continue the ‘split’ meme. Corporate media with this predictable nonsense you are really spoiling us!-

Now let’s take the national vote in context to this one single province that lies inside one of nine departments that make up the entirety of Bolivia:

  • Only three of nine provinces voted against Evo Morales as their President, namely Tarija (50.17% No), Beni (56.28% No) and Santa Cruz (59.25% No)
  • The total number of Evo “NO” votes in those three states adds up to 520,314.
  • These “NO” votes, which are in fact the total effective votes against the Evo Morales presidency, represent 15.44% of the total number of votes cast on Sunday 10th August (3,370,783). This is a far cry from the image of a country “divided in two” and more akin to a minor regional dispute.
  • The province of Andrés Ibañez, holding the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, had 301,275 Evo “NO” votes as counted.
  • Therefore we can say that the votes of one single province (basically one single city) represented 57.9% of the total effective autonomy rebel vote.

The press is quick to describe Bolivia as “a country divided”. This is obviously far from the case. In fact, President Evo Morales enjoys popular support in six of the nine departments that make up his country. Two out of every three Bolivians voted for him to continue as their President. And as for the autonomy rebel movement, once you leave the city of Santa Cruz (not the larger department that actually voted for Morales), those who oppose Morales are few and far between.

Last Sunday’s vote was called “exemplary” by the overseeing international neutral observers, and very few if any serious incidents were reported. It was undoubtedly an overwhelming victory for President Morales. However it also showed that the much talked about autonomy movement is not a nationwide curse, but in fact centred very much on one single city. Ruben Costas is now being shown as the Emperor With No Clothes (though perhaps we can leave him his underpants).

Once these figures are looked at closely, it becomes difficult to understand the ostensible claim of Santa Cruz and its push for autonomy. It cannot claim the backing of the wider department, because without the regional capital Evo Morales won the popular vote. By demanding some sort of breakaway from the country of Bolivia, a single city would be trying to usurp a geographical area many times larger than itself. The city of Santa Cruz has, of course, the right to vote the way it prefers. But if it pushed for the autonomy it demands, it would have to leave behind the greater region and become a sort of Bolivian Vatican City!

This is, of course, ridiculous. We should therefore see the call for autonomy for what it is; a single city’s complaint against its national government, something that is common worldwide and not any reason to continue ignoring national laws. The time has come to recognize Santa Cruz for what it is, namely a city bent on anti-democratic behaviour and not the centre of some oppressed nation that deserves the world’s attention.

4 Responses to “The Bolivia Lie”

  1. otto Says:

    Kind of you to give this more airtime, 10%.

    Feel free to add your personal political interpretations (i’ve done that in other posts on the subject). But this one is al about the numbers, and what the people of Bolivia want and what THEY voted for. We have no right to interfere in a sovereign nation’s democratic process.

    Numbers don’t lie.

  2. RickB Says:

    Hey Otto, my pleasure and yes the numbers do not lie. For me, I would hope this makes the US abandon its agitation and support of the autonomy issue, but I suspect Costas will continue his activity whatever. I very much approve of Morales project and find it depressing (but predictable) the wealthier sectors would consider becoming a separate entity just to avoid fairness.

  3. Pep Says:

    Hi RickB.
    I am completely agree with your explanation. The media is changing all information coming from Bolivia. Thanks for let us know your opinion. Until yesterday, over 99.9% of voting, Evo Morales got 67%.

  4. RickB Says:

    Hey Pep, yep it’s a huge margin to win by, in comparison Bush got (a fiddled) 50.7% and called it a resounding mandate to govern! Our own Blair won his last election on 35.3% So Evo has by our standards a virtually unanimous level of support! But as ever elite opinion gets the weighting in the media, who in some specific hacks appear on very friendly terms with them.

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