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After the season of pain, blood and fear, there is a thirst for justice in Bolivia

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São Paulo – The Bolivian court annulled an arrest warrant that had been issued against former president Evo Morales. Evo had been “denounced” for “crimes of sedition in terrorism”, after being targeted by the coup that forced him to resign and leave the country. The president of the Departmental Court of Justice of La Paz, Jorge Quino, said on Monday (26) that the right to defense of Evo Morales was disrespected. Prosecutors are still preparing lawsuits against the former president who currently lives in Argentina. He has yet to decide on when to return to the country, which he had to leave under death threats on November 11 last year.

The first decision of the Bolivian Justice in favor of the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) comes just days after the party’s hard-hitting victory at the polls on October 18. MAS elected ex-Minister of Economy Luis Arce as a new president and an absolute majority in the Chamber and Senate. For Brazilian journalist Vanessa Oliveira, a specialist in Latin American affairs, the decision favorable to Evo Morales may be a symptom of the construction of an institutional agreement for the pacification of the country.

PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Paris 8 and Federal do ABC, and professor at the Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo, Vanessa Oliveira was in Bolivia as a member of the Indigenous Election Observation and Monitoring Mission of these elections. The journalist explains the possibility of a peacemaking deal in the face of the still tense scenario: “Evo was threatened with death. His family members, parliamentarians, members of the government and MAS had houses burned down. People were savagely beaten. The rabid right has committed many crimes against humanity in the past 11 months. Many people resisted silently, even within institutions. Everyone in Bolivia is thirsty for justice, ”he says.

The wide-open blow

A member of the Public Defender’s Office, reports Vanessa, even used the expressions “resuming the transformation process” and “revolution” to refer to what he expects from a future MAS management. With expectation, including “correcting” possible mistakes made during the management of Evo Morales and which would have removed him from his bases – favoring the coup environment.

justice bolivia
Vanessa: Coup violence was explicit (Photo: Renato Nascimento)

“Did people get entrenched? Yes, because the violence of the coup was explicit. But there was resistance on the streets. There was still dialogue in the communities and grassroots work. Community democracy exploded in the election ”

The atmosphere of tension in the days leading up to the elections was breathed in the early hours by observers. “To give you an idea, Bolivians were prepared for the worst. There was even an escape plan for the removal of observers from the country by land in the event of a new wave of aggression by the coup makers, ”says the researcher. His delegation, which arrived on October 15, received from the Government Minister, Arturo Murillo, a threat expressed via Twitter of the type “we know who you are and where you are”.

For her, the strong “community democracy” exercised from the
peripheries, from the bottom up, was the engine for the electoral trump that
it surprised the Bolivian right and western geopolitics.

The gashamed olpe

“Did people get entrenched? Yes, in a way, because
the violence of the coup was explicit. And it caused people to retire. But not
there was no more resistance in the streets. There was still dialogue in the
communities and grassroots work. Community democracy built over the years
last decade has acted from the bottom up and exploded democratically on the day of
election, ”he says.

This explosion, according to Vanessa Oliveira, was decisive to inhibit any institutional “relapse” by the sectors that supported the coup – including sectors of the Bolivian media and justice, and international organizations. “International support for the coup, mistaken during the execution, became ashamed of the result of the ballot box. Whoever constructed the false argument of the fraud a year ago was obliged to organize an election now beyond any suspicion. To talk about fraud now would be a total demoralization ”, he explains. And he cites the participation of the UN – via the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – and the Organization of American States (OAS) in the attempt to legitimize the 2019 coup.

Journalist Vanessa Oliveira, during a visit to an electoral zone in Santa Cruz de La Sierra: there was so much fear that there was an escape plan for international observers (Personal collection)

Strength of women and the base

“The results showed that the Bolivian elite does not know the people of their country. In all these months of coup, they exposed a bloody hatred, more than class, of race. They made the coup that deposed Evo Morales a kind of racial rematch. This is in a country that has more than 85% of the population formed by 36 indigenous ethnic groups ”, says the observer, who emphasizes the outstanding participation of women, both in the process of resistance and in the results of the elections. “Women won 20 of the 36 seats in the Senate (56%). And 10 of the 21 won by MAS ”, highlights Vanessa. In the Lower House, 62 out of 130 parliamentarians (48%).

The researcher considers that the
“Dialectic of this moment” – the results of the vote in Bolivia and a referendum in
Chile, a week later, by the end of the Pinochet era constitution – cannot be
Wasted. Subject to the appropriate geographical, political and
cultural, she notes, were two cases in which the left and the countryside
democratic have to pay attention.

“Due to the movement in the bases,
for dramatization as a form of language, for the recovery of symbols
history of struggle ”, he explains. “These are scenarios that fill people with hope. AND
it is not just any hope. They are the heat of the streets, the focus on unity and
overcoming differences, democracy built and exercised on the basis of
saying: we are in the game. ”

MAS seems to have “learned other lessons from the coup, as Vanessa says. “Bolivia is on its way to vote on a media law,” recalls the journalist. For her, the consolidation of democracy involves the democratization of access to information. “Social movements felt the difficulty of making the“ resistance narrative ”circulate while the coup on the right was established, including with support from the global media.

Freak show

It was up to the community communication channels to make the world aware of what was happening in Bolivia in the months that followed the coup in November 2019. Overcoming the technical difficulties of producing with a professional quality standard. And with every effort in the world to break the bubbles of social networks now dominated by the extreme right.

One of the most shocking scenes was the aggression suffered by the mayor of Vinto, Patricia Arce Guzmán, in the Department of Cochabamba, on November 7. Calling her a “murderer”, masked men dragged her through the streets barefoot, cut her hair and threw red paint. Patricia Arce has now been elected senator. “What I went through was horrible. But the feeling of being on the right side of history is priceless ”, he said.

Patrícia Arce, Bolivia: today is another day - https://bemblogado.com.br/site/
justice bolivia
Patricia Arce, on the day of the aggression and on the day of the election (Via Bem Blogado)

To get a sense of the relevance of alternative community communication, journalist Vanessa Oliveira recommends a documentary video produced by the Bolivia Ahora channel, maintained by a group of indigenous communicators. The 20-minute video ran on social media the week before the election, compiling scenes and facts from the days before and after the coup. “I think the world was unaware of the violence and hatred that drove the coup.” Check out the video:

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Economy

more unemployment and more informality

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São Paulo – Government, businessmen and some parliamentarians were in tune with the defense of the bill that, if approved, would lead to the creation of Law 13,467 in 2017. The so-called labor reform, after all, would lead to the creation of millions of jobs. This would happen to the extent that it would end the rigidity of the legislation, which they treated as being “plastered”, facilitating hiring and giving the much-needed “modernization” to the Brazilian labor market.

Because the law completed three years on November 11 “and nobody celebrated, not even timidly”, recalls analyst Marcos Verlaine, from the Inter-Union Department of Parliamentary Advisory (Diap). “Among the expectations generated by the authors, the government of that time, the businessmen, who sponsored, defended and acted strongly in Congress to approve it, the media and reality, remained the harsh reality”, he says, in an article. He defines the measure passed by Congress as a “capital Trojan horse” to implode labor rights.

Collective bargaining?

The insistent defense of the “negotiated over the legislature”, a recurring expression at the time, was not to privilege negotiation, notes the analyst. “It was to remove rights, since the negotiations – both CCT (ccollective labor agreements) and ACT (collective labor agreements) – they never prevented, on the contrary, that the conventions surpass the CLT, nor that the agreements surpass the conventions. ”

The “millions” of jobs did not come, even before the pandemic. The growth in occupation was basically due to informal work. In 2016, the year before the “reform”, the country had 10.1 million unpaid employees in the private sector and 22.4 million self-employed workers. Last year, they were 11.6 million and 24.2 million, respectively (check table). The data are from the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad) Continua, from IBGE.

Modernization or precariousness?

Employment with a wallet fell. And the Gini index at work, which measures inequality, which until 2015 fell, rose again the following year and has not stopped.

The “reform” introduced hiring modalities, such as intermittent work. They were also presented as items of the necessary “modernization”, but union members and researchers identify them as additional signs of precariousness in the market. Although still small, the participation of the intermittent modality has been growing.

This week, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) began to judge direct actions of unconstitutionality against intermittent work. In his vote, the rapporteur, Minister Edson Fachin, considered the item unconstitutional and causing damage to workers’ health. But his colleagues Kassio Nunes Marques and Alexandre Moraes were in favor of the sport. The trial was interrupted by a request for view from Minister Rosa Weber.

If it is impossible to revoke the law in its entirety, Verlaine suggests specific changes, citing intermittent hiring. “It is necessary to negotiate with all political and social actors in order to bring about changes in this scorched earth scenario” he argues.

read more: ‘Labor Reform’: Stories of a False Promise and Changes in ‘Endless Destruction’

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