To understand the recent “autonomy” referendums in
Saturday May 24, Bolivian president Evo Morales was scheduled to appear in the town to announce some the delivery of some new ambulances and some government funding for local projects.
“But in the early hours of Saturday morning, organized groups opposed to Morales began to surround the stadium where he was to appear a few hours later. Confronting the police and soldiers with sticks, stones and dynamite, they managed to occupy the stadium.”
It was a racist occupation. Morales cancelled his visit, but the mob wasn’t satisfied. They surrounded several dozen Morales supporters – many of them Quechua Indians – robbed them, forced them to walk several kilometres, and then “to kneel, shirtless, and apologize for coming to
Morales is an Aymara Indian, the first indigenous president in
Central to that redistribution is a new constitution that will allow greater access to the land for the indigenous majority. This majority has been fighting for equality for centuries. It took a revolution in 1952 to abolish a system called “pongaje” that was a kind of feudalism, in which the indigenous people had few rights, and were virtually slaves to European landowners.
This is the necessary background to the “autonomy” referendums taking place in
But these claims are quite dubious. First, these referendums do not have legal status, and Morales’ instructions to his supporters were to refuse to participate. The “high rate of abstention in various provinces in Santa Cruz such as Camiri (42%), Puerto Suárez (31%), Montero (62%), Portachuelo (19%), San Ignacio de Velasco (17.8%), Charagua (40%) and Saipina (60%), indicate an overall abstention rate of between 40-45%, according to the Bolivian Information Agency.” And as British-based Latin American expert Mike Gonzalez has pointed out, those who did vote, often did so out of fear, voting “under the watchful eye of the thugs of the UJC – the neo-fascist youth organization of Santa Cruz.”
The referendums all are couched in demands for “autonomy.” These demands are accepted uncritically in most of the western media. More balanced coverage is available from Al Jazeera.
“Statutes passed in
The threat of withholding the natural gas reserves is now a central issue. The next referendum will take place June 21 in natural gas rich Tarija – centre of most of
It is critically important that the
The support of
Respected analyst Eva Golinger has convincingly documented that two agencies notorious for undermining popular movements in
We all have a stake in the desperate struggle underway in this, the poorest country in
Republished from PolEconAnalysis blog
 Franz Chávez, “Bolivia: Local Indigenous Leaders Beaten and Publicly Humiliated,” Inter Press Service News Agency, May 27, 2008, www.ipsnews.net
 Chávez, “Bolivia: Local Indigenous Leaders Beaten and Publicly Humiliated”
 Cees Zoon, “Bolivia: mutiny in the provinces,” Radio Netherlands Worldwide, June 2, 2008
 Kiraz Janicke, “Venezuela Rejects Bolivian Province’s Autonomy Vote,” May 5, 2008, venezuelaanalysis.com
 Mike Gonzalez, “Fight for Bolivia’s future lies behind referendum,” Socialist Worker (U.K.), May 10, 2008, www.socialistworker.co.uk
 “Bolivian states vote for autonomy,” All Jazeera English, June 2, 2008, http://english.aljazeera.net
 Janicke, “Venezuela Rejects Bolivian Province’s Autonomy Vote”
 Eva Golinger, “USAID in Bolivia and Venezuela: The Silent Subversion,” September 12, 2007, venezuelaanalysis.com