Is Bolivia's effort to indict the leader of an insurrection in the country's four eastermost provinces an example of good government or repressive rule? That's the question raised by La Paz's decision Sunday to press for the indictment of Branko Marinkovic, leader of an autonomy movement blamed for violent protests that threatened to split the country in September. "We have enough evidence in this investigation to allow us to link Mr. Marinkovic with the acts of terrorism that occurred in several parts of the country in September," government minister Alfredo Rada told state radio, according to the Reuters international news service. Supporters of Marinkovic contend he is the victim of political persecution, Reuters said. Twenty people have already been jailed on charges related to the September violence, in which 17 people were killed and government buildings were attacked. The four provinces, which have white-majority populations and are the country's richest areas, seek more authority over resources and to limit the authority of the central government and its president, Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader. Morales took office in 2005 and promptly nationalized Bolivia's energy industry, including its burgeoning oil production. He has aligned himself with Venuezuela's Hugo Chavez, whose animosity towards U.S. President George W. Bush is acknowleged internationally, and Cuba's Fidel Castro. Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America.
It's not at all reassuring to hear that directors of General Motors Corp. are considering declaring bankruptcy if efforts to secure billions of dollars in subsidies from U.S. taxpayers prove unsuccessful. The ramifications for the U.S. economy would be dire, since the largest U.S. automaker employs thousands of people and has spawned entire industries of suppliers. But the implications would be even worse, since it seems nearly impossible that a multibillion-dollar corporation with partners and affiliates across the world should be caught unable to keep its doors open. Yet, in a statement released Friday, members of GM's board said a bankruptcy filing was still an option for the company that has seen its share price drop from $42 last year to $3 Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal. What's worse, the board's statement seemingly contradicted comments by Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, who told Congress this week that GM management does not consider bankruptcy a viable option. In other words, GM management and directors don't know what they're doing. And that figures, considering how they drove what was the world's most powerful automaker to the brink of collapse. GM spokesman Tony Cervone told the Wall Street Journal that the company would do everything in its power to avoid bankruptcy. The automaker is said to be spending $5 billion a month to keep operating and will be out of cash in a few months.