The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
In the late 2000s, the two most important centers of opposition to the Movement to Socialism (mas) government and the new constitution were the city and department of Santa Cruz and the city of Sucre in the department of Chuquisaca. The forces in Sucre demanded capitalía, to return the city to its original 1825 status as the exclusive capital of Bolivia. Their advocates sought to reunify the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the state in the same location for the first time since the Federal War of 1898–99, when the legislative and executive powers were transferred to La Paz.
The struggle to make Sucre the unitary capital (capital plena) served the opposition as a unifying symbol and fuel for direct action. At no time was this movement more volatile than in 2007, when street violence paralyzed Sucre and nearly shut down the Constituent Assembly. The movement publicly harassed representatives of the mas in the assembly, and running battles between urban protestors and police and the military culminated in the deaths of at least three people and the forced exile of the pro-mas prefect of Chuquisaca. Félix Llanquipacha’s Sucre Must Be Respected, Damnit!!!, a semi-offcial history commissioned by the municipal council of Sucre, gives a local version of the events of 2007 and glorifies the broader sucrense campaign for regional autonomy and a return to political preeminence. The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful in its objective—although Article 6 of the Bolivian Constitution of 2009 does declare that “Sucre is the capital of Bolivia,” in fact, the executive and legislative branches remain in La Paz as before, making it the administrative capital of the country and its seat of government.