Problem: Bolivia is perhaps one of the poorest nations in the world. Although it is rich in land and resources, it has endured wrong governance for too long. Its economy has been completely devastated over time because of corrupt presidencies, extortion among social classes and unhelpful neighbors. Thus, most people live under extreme poverty and hunger. There is a minority of wealthy (European descendant) people that form the powerful class. This so-called powerful class has been ruling Bolivia for the past decades. This social class makes up merely 25 % of Bolivian people whilst the other 75% is composed by indigenous and poor people.
Since the gap between the wealthy and the poor is so exaggerated, the wealthy people rule over the poor people. Thus, the vast majority of Bolivians (75%) are resentful towards people who are and have historically been socially and economically powerful. These poor people believe that they have been under extortion for a prolonged period of time. Although this is true to a certain extent, it does not apply to the problems that were started because of this resentment. The problems root back to 2005 when Evo Morales became the first Aymara Indian president of Bolivia voted by over a 50% of the population.
Previously, Evo had been the leader of protesting group. He became part of a party called MAS and conducted a series of protests and marches across Bolivia destroying roads and giving messages of hatred towards the powerful social class. The purposes of his movements were to fight for poverty and to gain popularity among the majority of Bolivians (75%). The marches worked. Evo soon became popular enough to postulate himself as a candidate for president. When Carlos Mesa (former president) was taken from charge, Evo began a massive campaign.
In the elections of 2005, Evo won by over a 50%. Most indigenous people voted him because he represented the “pueblo boliviano” (Bolivian people). He promised to “resolve problems” by taking the “extra” money from the wealthy people. His job was “to take care of the poor. ” His radical ideas were influenced by Chavez (Venezuelan president). Evo became Chavez’s puppet and Bolivia’s economy became severely affected by his decisions. Since Chavez nationalized many Venezuelan companies, Evo did the same with Bolivian companies (primarily oil companies) and he plunged Bolivian economy.
Evo attempted to nationalize most of the companies in Bolivia: TV cable companies, radio companies, phone companies, airplane companies, banks etc. Most of these businesses belonged to the wealthy people and provided work for the indigenous people. When Evo attempted to nationalize the businesses, the shareholders (owners) did not allow it. Therefore, the first confrontations began. In January 2007, both parties, the MASISTAS (indigenous people who supported Evo’s party, el MAS) and the wealthy business owners confronted Cochabamba with rocks and sticks.
Two people died and more than two hundred were wounded. It became clear that the problem was just starting. After a series of wrong decisions and no visible solutions regarding Bolivian economy, Evo’s supporters began to foster their resentment towards the wealthy people because they believed that Evo’s plans were not effective because the wealthy people did not abide. Thus, the real problems started. Confrontations became much more intense and bared an increasing number of casualties from both sides.
In a lapse of one year, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (city with majority of habitants opposing Evo’s reforms) performed two petitions for autonomy with more than two million people voting against Evo’s reforms. Evo ignored the petitions stating that he could change the legislature in his favor. This was extremely controversial and it cultivated more hatred among the opposition. Furthermore, Evo’s nationalization policies strained relations with Bolivia’s neighbors, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. These countries exported most of the gas from Bolivia, thus, the nationalization of oil companies halted the businesses.
Bolivia’s economy worsened. In the present Bolivia attempts to fight its economic disaster with Evo in the head. Evo is still making flawed decisions and Bolivia is falling under extreme poverty. The widening gap between the wealthy and the poor is causing more intense confrontations. If the problem is not stopped soon, Bolivia will become bankrupted and a civil war will finish the nation. Location: The problem is set on the major cities of Bolivia: the two capitals La Paz and Sucre, and two economically strong cities, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.
La Paz is the capital of Bolivia and Sucre is the legislative capital of Bolivia. Both cities are primarily populated by indigenous and poor people. The other two cities, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba are the wealthiest cities because they have the most natural resources (natural gas, farmlands, rivers, etc. ). Therefore, both of these cities are populated by the wealthier class. These cities want autonomy, independence. Thus, they want to separate from Evo’s government. Evo doesn’t allow it because they are the most profitable cities in Bolivia.
Therefore, most confrontations occur here. Parties Involved: Although the problem is solely Bolivian, there are many other countries involved. Venezuela, Cuba, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are somewhat involve. Venezuela is perhaps most involved in the turmoil because Chavez is exerting power over the Bolivian president. Initially, Venezuela (Chavez) and Cuba supported Evo Morales, but, after Fidel Castro’s disease, Cuba slowly pulled out from the conflict. Chavez, on the other hand, kept encouraging Evo’s decisions. Evo became Chavez’s puppet.
On the other hand, the other neighboring countries and the United States strained their relations with Bolivia because Evo’s policies affected exports and debts. For instance, Evo’s alliances with Cuba and Venezuela, his background as a coca leader, and his vocal criticism towards the U. S. froze the relations between the U. S and Bolivia. Furthermore, Evo’s nationalization policies hurt Bolivia’s “oil and gas” relations with its neighboring countries. UN involvement: The UN is not involved in the turmoil although it should become involved before the problem aggravates.
The problem has not yet developed into a war, but, if it is not solved soon, it could become Bolivia’s first civil war. Therefore, the United Nations should send peacekeeping troops at least to prevent further confrontations. Both Bolivian sides (the wealthy and the poor) are armed. The poor people directed by Evo Morales are supported by Chavez and his troops and the wealthy people are supported by businesses. There have been major confrontation were people from both sides have been massacred. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre, and La Paz have been major confrontation sites.
In Santa Cruz, confrontations have reached limits: airports were taken over by the military two times and troops have been sent from Venezuela to fight against the opposition. The problems are still increasing. The habitants of Santa Cruz have asked for autonomy (economic independence) two times and Evo has ignored their calls. Furthermore, Evo’s supporters’ hatred is fostered by decades of resentment towards the wealthy people. If the UN does not become involved soon, perhaps it will be too late to stop the imminent civil war.