Bolivia, Elections 2020: Why the MAS Opts for Arce and Choquehuanca

Ollantay Itzamná Arce and David Choquehuanca. MAS-IPSP candidates

The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS-IPSP), a political organization that has kept the Evo Morales-Álvaro García duo in office from 2005 to 2019, has just announced that former Economy Minister Luis Arce and former Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca will be its presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively, for the general elections on May 3.

What are the possible reasons for opting for this combination?

The main and immediate challenge for MAS is to defeat at the polls the civil-Christian-military dictatorship that emerged after the coup d’état of November 10.

For this purpose, MAS is seeking to confront from a technical perspective the ineptitude of the economic management of the current dictatorial regime with the enviable economic results obtained during the government of Evo Morales, when Luis Arce was Minister of Economy.

Arce will be telling his opponents, during his campaign, what and how to make a solid and exemplary redistributive economy for Bolivia, that will yield positive results.

Arce was the architect of the enviable Bolivian economic model that lifted more than 3 million Bolivians out of poverty.

Furthermore, it seems that, due to the conditions of persistent colonization, the archetypal presidential candidate for the great majorities in Bolivia (especially for that “extended middle class” that represents 54% of the Bolivian population) is the male, urban, professional, successful, tie-wearing mestizo. Luis Arce fulfills these and other demands. The electoral racism that MAS suffered with Evo, will apparently be less with Arce.

David Choquehuanca, an Aymara social leader and founder of MAS, with ample and proven diplomatic skills as Chancellor of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is going to ideologically convince the indigenous campesino sector to resume the “plurinational process” that was lost in the last years of the Morales government.

Choquehuanca has the intellectual and moral solvency, not only to resume the commitment of the Plurinational State, but, above all, to materialize, to some extent, from the State, the proposal of Buen Vivir. This task has also been postponed due to the process of change that took place during the Morales government.

From the perspective of the social movements that constitute the Unity Pact that electorally support MAS, the proposal of the presidential binomial David Choquehuanca-Andrónico Rodríguez was and is the ideal way to ideologically “refound” the MAS as a political instrument of the social movements. But, not necessarily to contest a possible electoral victory under a racist and anti-MAS dictatorial government.

The coup leaders, and their accomplices, wanted the MAS duo to be David Choquehuanca and Andrónico Rodríguez, to flaunt their “racist supremacy” against the former, and to boast of their gerontocracy or adulthood against the latter. But, now, they will have to be more imaginative to avoid the confirmation of the electoral results of last October 20 in the ballot boxes of next May 3 (the Andean Chakana festival).

Translation by Internationalist 360º