Boulevard St Michel
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The Peruvian newspaper, La Republica, reported that sources said the United States Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor had an interesting conversation with Bolivian President Carlos Mesa during his recent trip to Argentina. The daily reported that Taylor had suggested to Mesa that elections be moved up and scheduled for the end of 2004, even though his term lasts until mid 2007. Taylor was in Argentina for ongoing negotiations to restructure that country’s external debt.
Naturally, the United States Embassy denied that any such conversation took place. However, with the recent rumors of a military coup and the U.S.’ active interest in the economic outcomes of any external gas sale, it certainly begins to fill in the blanks.
Also on his recent visit to Argentina to cement the 6-month gas sale to that country, Mesa sat down for a brief interview with the Porteño newspaper, Clarin. In addition to discussing the topics of gas, the sea, and relations with Chile, Mesa referred to the "minorías eficientes" (efficient minorities), the radical sectors that dominate the headlines. The term minority refers to the numbers and not any ethnic connotations. He was subtely referring to the COB (Central Obrera Boliviana), who seems to defy any sense of rationality and common sense. A public disinformation campaign has hid the facts of Bolivia's gas reserves. The reserves far exceed the amount needed for national domestic consumption.
One might also include the elite large business leaders in Santa Cruz and Tarija as "minorías eficientes". These leaders utilize the noble “autonomy” buzzword, in order to hide the fact that the gas sale and increased political power will give them greater foothold to control the political environment in these departments.
The COB and the elite business leaders may not represent mainstream views, but they seem to garner much of the headlines and distort the true feeling of most Bolivians towards these delicate issues.