The fighting in Cochabamba has stopped, at least for now. The what, you ask?
Evo Morales was elected president following several years of instability caused primarily by… well, Evo Morales and the MAS party. Now that he’s in charge, he’s got to walk the fine line of balancing the needs of his rowdy constituents, the needs of the rest of the country, and the desires of the international community (i.e. the US and the World Bank, which want to see less coca and a more stable economy). Mostly he seemed to be doing a pretty good job of it: there was leftist rhetoric, an increase in allowable coca harvest, increased spending on social programs, some threats to renegotiate oil and gas contracts, but no major nationalization of industries.
However, regional prefects (governors), especially in the province of Cochabamba, have been frustratingly independent-minded. In the past few weeks, that’s heated up to include “independent” and “spontaneous” protests (organized and paid for by MAS). After a few hundred injuries, a couple deaths, and some buildings torched, we’ve gotten a truce.
Evo has created a monster. Will it eat him, or Bolivia, or both? I don’t know.