Monday, February 06, 2006

Internal Conflict and Petty Jealousy Mar MAS Administration

During the presidential race, it was easy to note that the fronturunner parties were not really cohesive political parties but conglomerates of interest groups. Both Podemos and MAS were boasting about having more than 40 social groups backing them. Even if they thought that that showed the extent of their reach, in reality it sent the message of them being an easy prey to interest groups.
Now, it is starting to happen in MAS. According to this article in Los Tiempos, even Evo is starting to lose his calm with all the pettiness behind curtains. The article mentions not only the delay in the approval of Evo's austerity plans, but plain jealousy towards vice-president Garcia Linera.
The article says
La Prensa even found out that there were quarrels between the vice-president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, and Morales' entourage. Most of them were generated by jealousy from old militants of MAS, because of the "excessive public appearances" of the Vice president in exterior policy matters.
According to sources, Garcia Linera was the mastermind behind Morales' advances towards the USA and Chile's Ricardo Lagos. This caused sorrow in the Executive, not because of the acts themselves, but because it was the vice-president who expressed them.

Also, the fight for positions is on. MAS deputies "demanded angrily" more power quotas, arguing that they had expensive campaign costs and, obviously, now want their investment to yield some profits. Evo answered that he could not make everybody happy.

Jealousy towards Garcia Linera may be a decisive factor in the success of MAS. In the run to the elections I read several articles stating that Garcia Linera was the brain, while Morales was only the facade. Also, Garcia Linera was critical to capture the vote of the middle classes. Old militants probably did not like it, but stayed calm as long as his presence captured the necessary votes. Now that everything is said and done, things are bound to change.
The old guard feels it is being ousted by this newcomer and now that they finally got to power, they are not going to let it go easily. So, there is a chance that they will start blocking the vicepresident in everything they can just to show him who has the power. In addition, if Morales is really planning to pull a Chavez and consolidate power through the Constituent Assembly, he needs to create a cult around his person and the last thing he needs is the vice president to steal his thunder. So, he may, in time, add his efforts to those of the old guard.
Garcia Linera, on the other hand, knows his worth and is not likely to let the old guard push him around. The confrontation against the Chancellor is the perfect example: One day, the Chancellor says one thing, five days later Garcia Linera says that what the Chancellor said will not take immediate effect and finally, the Chancellor had to change his position and accept Garcia Linera's line.
What is bound to happen, if Morales is not able to control the old guard, is that MAS could split right down the middle. The fact the Morales is not keeping his deputies happy can only add wood to the flames.

On the matter of the deputies protecting their investments, it can only mean that if they are not able to get it back legally, corruption will run uncontrolled through the parliament.


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