Roberto Chavez, the general secretary of the FSTMB (Bolivian Miners’ Union), spoke to Alan Woods about the conditions of the miners and their role in the class struggle in Bolivia. Their view is that the Morales government is not going far enough. They want serious, radical change.

One year after the swearing in of the Morales government in Bolivia it is possible to make a sober balance sheet of the situation. Morales has attempted to carry out some reforms while trying to appease the oligarchy. The masses are drawing conclusions: that compromise is not possible. The struggle must go all the way.

On Thursday October 5, violent confrontations broke out in the mining city of Huanuni, Oruro, in Bolivia, which left 16 dead and scores of others injured. Clashes started as 4,000 "cooperativistas" tried to take over the main Huanuni mine, and the 1,100 miners who work there, organised in the powerful Bolivian Union Federation of Mine Workers, FSTMB, defended the mine.

The Bolivian revolution is at the crossroads. The government has moderated its policies and retreated on many fronts. The reaction manoeuvres against the government and any of the reforms its attempts to implement. There exists a mood of confusion and anger amongst the masses, which at any moment could explode into a fresh insurrectionary movement.

The recent announcement by the Evo Morales government in Bolivia of the “nationalisation” of the country’s hydrocarbon resources has shaken the multinationals. This move, although in reality not complete nationalisation, is a reflection of the overall revolutionary wave sweeping across Latin America.

The massive victory of the MAS in the elections was the distorted by-product of the revolutionary movement that Bolivia has witnessed for the last two years. This is why the imperialists are worried. The choice faced by the Morales government is clear: either with the workers and peasants or with the multinationals. If he attempts to please both he will please none.

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