LA PAZ – The governor of Bolivia’s La Paz province, the Aimara intellectual and opposition leader Felix Patzi, said that no alternative political force to the party of President Evo Morales exists at present, but predicted the rise of a new leadership capable of unifying a political organization to challenge him.
Patzi, 49, an Aimara Indian like Morales, completes this Saturday his sixth day of a hunger strike to demand that the government increase the budget for the region to finance new highways.
In an interview with EFE at the office where he is fasting, Patzi referred to Morales’s so-called “process of change” and predicted the rise of a new leadership, and also explained why additional funds are needed for the La Paz region.
He said there is now no alternative party structure capable of challenging the ruling Movement to Socialism (MAS) of Morales, “but there are many leaders that can easily come together in any party so they have the chance to win an election.”
“They will be leaders of the new generation. And they’re not going to be the traditional right-wing leaders,” said Patzi, a sociologist with a doctorate in development sciences through an agreement of the UMSA university in La Paz with Mexico’s UNAM.
Patzi also said that the “process of change,” as the government calls the reforms carried out since it took power in 2006, does not signify an ideological adherence of the population to the MAS.
“The process of change was always just a slogan, never an ideological project. Never,” he said.
What unites the population with the so-called process of change “is the discontent sparked between the years 2000 and 2005 by the critical situation in the country caused by the neo-liberals,” he said.
“All that uniting because of previous discontent has been called the process of change, but in fact it is no ideological alignment and that is precisely what the MAS lacks.”
Patzi was Education Minister in the first two years of the Morales government, after which he was invited by the ruling party to run for governor in 2010, but his candidacy was unsuccessful.
In 2015 he was elected to that position as a representative of the opposition movement Sol.Bo.
Patzi also said that it’s hard to imagine a new, strong leadership within the MAS that is not run by Evo Morales.
As for his hunger strike, Patzi said he is making a “sacrifice” to pressure the government into increasing the regional budget from $43 million to $431 million, but also to “raise awareness” among La Paz residents about local needs.