Category Archives: Political Analysis

Setting the Record Straight on Bolivia: Analysis from Jean Friedman-Rudovsky on February’s Referendum

Setting the Record Straight on Bolivia

                                         By Jean Friedman-Rudovsky

This past February, Bolivians voted on a constitutional reform that would have allowed Evo Morales to run for a fourth term as president. When all the ballots were counted, the “No” vote won by 132,509 votes, less than 3 percentage points. President Morales, rather calmly, conceded defeat.

I lived in Bolivia from 2005 to 2013 as the longest-tenured English language reporter during Morales’ presidency, writing mainly for Time Magazine. Unfortunately, U.S. coverage of the referendum missed the mark. The reporting fit all too neatly into a larger narrative of the waning “pink tide” of South American leaders. Evo Morales was depicted as a power-hungry dictator who would stop at nothing to extend his reign, and it would seem that the overwhelming majority of Bolivian people have rejected him and his policies. read more

Kathryn Ledebur participates in Latin American Advisor Q & A on Mining Conflict

In September 9th’s edition of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Daily Publication “The Latin American Advisor”, Kathryn Ledebur, along with academics and policy analysts on Bolivia, participated in a featured Q & A on Bolivia’s mining conflict.

Read Kathryn’s response below:


Latin American Advisor Q&A: What is Behind the Strife Between Bolivia & Miners?

                                                                                                September 9, 2016 read more

AIN’s Kathryn Ledebur shares updates on the Cooperative Miners Conflict with Real News Network

On September 8, 2016, AIN Executive Director Kathryn Ledebur spoke with the Real News Network about updates in the Cooperative Miners Conflict. In particular, she explored the possibilities of future negotiations, investigations for the deaths of the 5 miners and Vice Minister Rodolfo Illanes, and the impacts of the conflict on future political developments.

To watch the full interview, click here.


Bolivian Government Regulates Cooperative Mining Sector with Executive Actions

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Bolivian Government Regulates Cooperative Mining Sector with Executive Actions

                                                                                                        September 2, 2016

Following the recent conflict with mining cooperatives, the Morales administration issued 5 decrees in a special cabinet meeting on September 1, 2016. Mining cooperatives escalated protests in August 2016 in retaliation against the new Mining Law and modifications to the Cooperatives Law. In particular, the mining cooperatives opposed efforts to limit direct contracts with private multilateral companies and allow unionization among cooperative members. The escalation of protests resulted in the murder of Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes and five miners, four from bullet wounds. read more

AIN in WSJ Coverage of Bolivia’s Mining Conflict

In a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Bolivia Aims to Boost Mining Oversight After Deadly Protests” (Sep. 1, 2016), AIN’s Kathryn Ledebur explains:

“‘Right now their case is significantly weakened,’ Kathryn Ledebur, an analyst and executive director of the Andean Information Network in Cochabamba, said of the cooperatives. ‘The government decrees within the current framework are reasonable. They are taking away some concessions but also providing social benefits and bringing people into the formal work force.'” read more

Has Morales used MAS’s Congressional Majority to Impose a Partisan Agenda in 2016?

Has Bolivia’s Morales used MAS’s Congressional Majority to impose a Partisan Agenda in 2016?

August 24, 2016

Critics and opposition have long argued that the Morales administration uses its majority in congress to impose legislation, warping the nation’s democracy. On the contrary, during the past year, the Bolivian legislature has ratified international accords, approved bilateral and multilateral loans for infrastructure and declared cultural patrimony. Besides a landmark gender identity law and worrisome agreements with Russia to develop nuclear energy, 2016 laws have been largely apolitical. Unfortunately, MAS representatives have not yet taken action on crucial drug law and judicial reform. On a positive note, nor have they attempted to restrict the press. Here’s a summary of the laws passed in Bolivia since January 1, 2016.[1] read more

U.S. Media Myths About Bolivia: The Second Referendum

cropped-AIN-logo-for-stamp.jpg                      U.S. Media Myths About Morales’ Bolivia:                                                                 Part 1

 “Evo Morales is intent on running for a fourth term in 2019.”

 This remains to be seen, although mainstream U.S. media sources suggest the contrary. For example, The Washington Post affirmed on July 24th that Evo Morales “appears intent on hanging on to power when his current mandate ends in 2020”—that he will disregard the results of the February referendum (which by a two percent margin determined that the Morales government could not amend the constitution to run for a fourth term). The jury is still out on the issue, as Morales is known for making brash public and sometimes contradictory statements. However, Morales never announced a plan to hold a second referendum or run again. After the Bolivian electoral court confirmed his defeat, Morales stated that he would respect the results and that: “the MAS party and social movements are very respectful of the results of any electoral process and democratic act.” read more

Latin America Advisor Q&A: What Should Bolivians Expect From a Third Morales Term?

Excerpt from the Inter-American Dialogue’s newsletter, the Latin American Advisor.  For the full version, please see the Inter-American Dialogue’s website.

Featured Q & A: Bolivian President Evo Morales won re-election on Sunday, Oct. 12 with an estimated 60 percent of the vote. What can investors expect from another Morales administration? What do Sunday’s legislative election results suggest about Morales’ governing strength and maneuverability moving ahead? Will anticipated lower prices for natural gas, an important export commodity for Bolivia, undermine the recent momentum in the economy? What economic priorities would you advise Morales to set for his next term?  read more

Latin American Advisor Q&A: Is Bolivia’s Morales a shoo-in for a third term?

Excerpt from the Inter-American Dialogue’s newsletter, the Latin American Advisor.  For the full version, please see the Inter-American Dialogue’s website.

Featured Q&A: Is Bolivia’s Evo Morales a Shoo-in for a Third Term?

Bolivian President Evo Morales is leading in voter intention with 52 percent of voters saying they would vote for him ahead of the country’s presidential election on Oct. 12 in which he will face four challengers and seek a third term, according to a poll by Equipos Moris published in early August. Morales has so far refused calls from opposition candidate Samuel Doria Medina for a public debate ahead of the election. What is behind Morales’ disinterest in holding a debate, and what are the main issues driving the campaigns? Is Morales in a strong enough position to win in the election’s first round? How are the races for the more than 160 seats in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies shaping up, and how will the composition of Congress affect how the winner of the presidential race can govern? read more