Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Striking Teachers in Bolivia - Part II
A quick update on the teacher's strike in Bolivia - union leaders are beginning a hunger strike today (sorry, Spanish article only) despite continuing negotiations with the government. Teachers are demanding a new education law and the dismissal of the minister of Education (see this previous post for more on the strike). Meanwhile, civic committees and opposition politicians in four departments (similar to states) are going on strike this Friday to protest recent actions in the constituent assembly (specifically when Evo Morales' party pushed through a resolution that would permit a majority of votes to approve any changes during the assembly). Evo's party has an absolute majority of assembly delegates, and opposition members are worried that he will use to push through radical changes to the Bolivian constitution, similar to the law teachers are protesting. No word yet on the reaction of Bolivians to the teacher's strike and the union's stance against the compulsory teaching of indigenous languages. I don't think it will be resolved any time soon, since this current conflict over education policy is a vital part in the construction of a "new" Bolivian national identity (and we'll see how new the identity ends up being), as well as for future relations between indigenous and non-indigenous South Americans.