What does Bolivia have to do to make the front page?

As far as I can tell, there has been a partial secession in Bolivia.  (This story makes it sound more like "autonomy" than secession, but that line is a fine one, try this story too.)  The wealthier, more business-oriented, lighter-skinned, and natural gas-rich provinces near Santa Cruz wish to control their own fate.  But as of 8 a.m., there is nada on the front page of The New York Times.  So far it doesn’t make the front page of news.google.com either.  Nor The Washington Post.  Here is a Spanish-language account from Bolivia, it does make the front page there.  Here’s a blog report as well.

It is not an accident that Bolivia has lost territory to Paraguay and also to Chile.  When it comes to Schellingesque focal point purposes, those events aren’t as long ago as clock time might make them seem.  I might add that both conflicts were over resource wealth, just as today’s conflict is in part over natural gas.  I would not be surprised if Bolivia lost territory again.  If there is any trend over the last five hundred and fifteen years, it is that indigenous peoples in the Americas are losing control over natural resources.  Every squib in Kosovo gets reported, why not this too?


You can thank/blame America's obsession with Islam. If a country isn't Muslim, Americans aren't interested.

My friend's trip to Bolivia got cancelled at the last minute; I was wondering why. Oh well, as long as it makes the front page of MR.

I follow German sites (for professional reasons), and saw a reference to events in Bolivia on the German Wikipedia site this morning: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauptseite

I expect it will be covered in the European papers in the morning. South America certainly deserves more American interest.

I just discovered your site. Your books on capitalism and creativity sound interesting, and I will look into them. My work concerns, from a literary angle, the conjunction of capitalism and literary autonomy.

I don't even see anything on univision.com

Find an angle to blame it on USA/Bush and stand back, puhlenty of coverage then....

A lot of south american strife has had leftist ideological leanings. Does the systematic US-Media underreporting have any causality there?

[If there is any trend over the last five hundred and fifteen years, it is that indigenous peoples in the Americas are losing control over natural resources.]

Was that merely a statement of fact or did it have a hint of a judgmental overtone? Just curious. The torch of socio-political control is frequently peripatetic.

"It is not an accident that Bolivia has lost territory to Paraguay and also to Chile. When it comes to Schellingesque focal point purposes, those events aren't as long ago as clock time might make them seem."

Indeed, I have it on decent authority that, when loading firearms, Bolivian soldiers chant, "un Chileno, dos Chilenos, tres Chilenos,...." as the bullets are inserted.

No one should be shocked that something like this happens. How many people do you know that think that democracy is a goal worth striving for, rather than a means to an end?

Democracy (or a democratic republic, or whatever) in and of itself is nothing more than two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. If a democracy does not have as part of its DNA that liberty must be protected (indeed that is the whole point of a democracy, unless you are a tyrant), then that democracy has already begun to implode and lost any moral right to exist.

(Bolivia) has been paradise for many years, and now you have a few fools that are destroying it.

Yes, the fools are Hugo Chavez and his dimwitted stooge Evo Morales.


Yeah. What you said. Replace (1) with that.


Whose liberty? If I were one of the poorer natives of Bolivia, I'd see this as "gee, the descendants of the people who took this stuff from us are very well off. We are not. If we took it back, we'd be better off. Let's take it back!" Why should I respect property rights today that are based on transactions of previously stolen property?

The reason is that we have crappy papers. Peter says it is because they are not islamic. Not true!

When the current round of trouble between the Turks and the Kurds started with the ambushing and killing of a dozen Turkish soldiers (the worst violence in a decade) it was front screen news on the BBC site. I turned to the Washington Post, hoping to find out the US government response...

There was nothing on the front page. Nothing on the world page or any other section. Finally I found a tiny mention buried in the ap wire report listing.

I sent a letter to paper asking for an explanation and got this from

Foreign Editor Keith Richburg:

"....we can't claim that every incremental development makes its way into our pages...."

Hello Tyler.
No secession happened because the "autonomic" provinces governments nor can neither want to reform their regional institutions without the previous approval of their proposals in a national referendum. And an eventual approval would install the same rules for each one of the nine regions. So, secession isn't in Santa Cruz leaders' plans. Anyway, rethorics in Bolivia are bit extreme and incediary, as those news show.
-Excuse me for my English.

It may be noteworthy that Bolivia's leading daily, La Prensa, put a story about FIFA banning official soccer games played above 2750 meters altitude without prior acclimatization higher than this news: http://www.laprensa.com.bo/noticias/16-12-07/portada.php

Another obvious reason is that the racial struggle in Latin America between the whiter elites and the darker masses that has been spreading for the last decade might make readers worry about what massive immigration from that part of the world portends for America. But, the official motto of the media when it comes to immigration is Don't Worry, Be Happy!

On the La Prensa comment:
See, this news aren't really as significant for Bolivians as a foreigner might think.
By the way, I'm Bolivian and live in Cochabamba.

So let me get this straight. Americans don't care unless the people are:
-Not Latino

Hmm. Well this is better than the usual complaint about not caring unless there are natural resources involved. Oh but wait there are, and we still don't care; there goes that one.

Please tell us what your real complaint is; then don't call us, we will call you.

Paul: Told you. ;)

That you did, Erik, that you did.

On the plus side of the ledger, the hispanophobic threadjacking attempt doesn't seem to have found any takers.

I like it that people think that wealth can be taken from one group of people and handed to another, just like a basketball or cookie or something.

The value of wealth exist, in part, because of the people who control it and how they control it, and because it can be purchased and/or sold.

In most cases, nationalization produces less revenue for governments than if they simply left the resources in private hands and modestly taxed it.

No matter how sympathetic we might be to the plight of poor Bolivians who had their land stolen 400 years ago, no matter how "understandable" their modivations might be, no matter how outraged we might be at the injustice... nationalizing industries is going to be a disaster. Bolivia is going to kill the chicken that lays the eggs. The Chavez inspired policies are going to lower the standard of living for everyone in the country, and after the economy implodes Bolivia will be even weaker and more exploitable by foreign policies.

It doesn't matter if self-destructive policies are cooked up by well-meaning leftists... they are still self-destructive.

If Evo Morales cannot change a corrupt political system run by the minority ladinos, then there needs to be a true revolution in which the whole government is pulled up by its roots and a new one created to serve the majority Indian population which has endured this form of apartheid for more than four centuries.

Impressive and attractive posting. I enjoyed it. I think others will like it & find it useful for them. Good luck with your work. ;-)


It is a good posting. I like it. It's pretty much impressive.


Comments for this post are closed