December 8, 2007

In Bolivia the Military Chief Takes a Side

Yesterday the Bolivian Chief of the Armed Forces, General Wilfredo Vargas, the highest ranking military man in Bolivia, responded to calls for military intervention in the simmering social/political/regional crisis by calling opposition leaders "cowards."

The military should be congratulated for that stance, even though it may not be an altruistic position. In years past, the military would have likely been quick to storm the presidential palace and take over government, given the level of violence and insecurity in Bolivia. In the last 20 years or so, however, the concept of defending a democratic constitution vice an administration or political position has begun to taken hold within the military ethos, causing the armed forces to make careful calculations and second guess their instinct to act.

Of course, as opposition leaders suggest, the military leadership is being bribed into compliance, and undoubtedly this helps them toe the party line, but I can't help think that should the Evo administration make some egregious assault on democratic norms in Bolivia, the military would likely act no matter how much they are getting paid. After all, they have institutional interests at stake as well. Barring this, the military chiefs will stay quite with the $40K they are allegedly being paid and democracy will not so much be assaulted to death, but instead it will be a death by a thousand decrees.

Of course, this doesn't mean that there will not be a "Major's Revolt" in the future, since presumably the $40K is only going to the chiefs of the services and the booty is not being pushed down to other levels of command.

1 comment:

El Caiman said...

Chaves is going to have to step up the help for Evo. These ignorant fools are not capable of understanding and appreciating what Chaves is doing for them. venezuela should help with a mission robinson to teach them about the 21 century socialism. Things are goin to have to change if Bolivia has any hope in joining Cuba and Venezuela in the federation of bolivarian nations.