"We cannot dismiss that a serious danger exists, a threat to the territorial integrity" of
He said the vote could raise "serious consequences for the unity of the country that are in total contradiction" with the constitution, according to the Erbol news agency.
The declaration heightens the stakes of Sunday's vote in opposition-controlled
Morales told CNN in Spanish he hoped Sunday would pass peacefully.
"I am counting on the conscience of the people who want to preserve
The provincial referendum asks
Surveys suggest the proposition will pass with as much as 70 percent support.
Three other eastern provinces are to hold their own autonomy votes next month, and two provinces are thinking of following suit.
If all are passed, landlocked
The distinction is more than geographical: the mountains are mostly inhabited by indigenous Aymara and Quechua people, while lowland residents are mostly of European or mixed descent.
The long-running racial and cultural clash was laid bare when Morales became
He has embarked on a nationalization drive that this week included taking over a telecommunications company, Entel, that was a subsidiary of Telecom Italia, and four energy firms.
His efforts to railroad through constitutional changes -- at times excluding the opposition -- has raised hackles in the lowlands.
Though outnumbered in
About 5,000 of them held a protest march in the city of
The leader of a powerful indigenous rural group, Fidel Surco, told the crowd that if violence broke out, "the responsibility for a bloodbath" would rest with
An ally of Morales, left-wing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, on Saturday reiterated his support for the Bolivian government in the crisis, which he alleged was fomented by "foreign countries".
"This is not just
The Organization of American States late Friday also came out against
Republished from AFP