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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Distractions in Bolivia

Felix Patzi, a member of Evo Morales's ruling MAS party, has been sentenced to make adobe bricks as punishment for drunken driving. He was also asked to resign as a candidate for mayor of La Paz by Morales. The election is next month.
Unfortunately, this sideshow is distracting attention from a more important process that's underway in Bolivia, the undermining by Morales and his followers of the concept of separation of powers. The new Congress, which took office in January, and which is dominated by a MAS super-majority, has just approved Morales's legislation to allow the president to appoint members of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has been essentially non-functioning for two years after its president and several other members were forced out of their seats by accusations of impropriety, brought by Morales's MAS party.
The ruling party and Morales claim that the justice system has been dominated by members of the country's oligarchy and is corrupt. To some extent, that may in fact be true. However, a justice system dominated by one party now in office is no less corrupt and no step forward.

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