The process belongs to the people

Oscar Olivera

Socialist Unity spoke briefly to Oscar Olivera, the executive secretary of the Cochabamba Federation of Factory Workers and spokesperson for La Coordinadora in Bolivia, when he was on a recent tour of the UK.


What effects has the Morales victory had on the social movements?

I think it's a positive step because the victory of Morales was a victory of the social movements and when the social movements have a victory it is a positive step of sorts.


What's the relationship now between the social movements and the Morales government?

He is trying to get all the social movements under party control and they are taking away the originality of the movements. The most dangerous thing is that he is trying to divide the social movements that are not with him and is trying to insert himself into the movement and split it.


You have described MAS as not being a political party in the traditional sense but they are composed of, or came out of, the social movements - how can there be that conflict between the government and the social movements if that is the case?

Because there is a conflict of understanding between what is his government and what is the process. I believe the process of change belongs to the people and this government is obliged to obey this process and the government is subordinate to it.

The social movements see beyond nationalisation, see beyond the government of Evo Morales but the Morales government only sees the Morales government and that's its limitation.


A lot of people in Bolivia seem to be saying "give Morales a chance" but the leadership of the social movements is a lot more advanced than that - is there a difficulty in relating the demands of the leaders of the movements with the everyday aspirations of the people?

I think some of the social movements have been co-opted within the Morales government and some of these have been a bit critical of him. The others have been silenced, we have not said anything because we are creating and mobilising outside.


The attitude of the multinationals to Morales getting in has been mixed, some of them are squealing because of the hydrocarbons and the rest of it and others companies are bringing investment into Bolivia because Morales seems to have brought some sort of stability.

Evo Morales has a double speech - he says one thing and does another, this is why he is dangerous for the process. Inside MAS there is a struggle to define the line and the line that Morales takes will be the line that wins. I think the reason he is going to the right is that this is the line that is winning inside of MAS.


July 2006

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