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Bolivia: Morales says victory ‘deepens democracy’
The Financial Times ^ | 8/11/2008 | Naomi Mapstone in La Paz

Posted on 08/11/2008 11:42:17 PM PDT by bruinbirdman

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president, has claimed a reinvigorated mandate for constitutional reform after a partial count of Sunday’s recall referendum showed he had won more than 60 per cent of a national vote of confidence in his government.

The president is expected to move swiftly to seek approval for a draft constitution that would redistribute wealth from the hydrocarbons industry, intro­duce land reform and open his way to run for a second term.

Addressing supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace on Sunday, Mr Morales said the vote had “deepened democracy”.

“We are convinced that it is important to unite all Bolivians. The vote is to unite different sectors – countryside and the city, the east and the west,” he said.

Amid chants of “Evo, we are with you!” Mr Morales said he would fight to bring dignity to all Bolivians.

But while the president, with almost 90 per cent of the votes counted, surpassed his 2005 election victory, he still faces staunch opposition from the country’s wealthier regions in the east, such as Santa Cruz.

Ruben Costas, governor of Santa Cruz, accused Mr Morales of being a tyrant and said his province would not back down on its desire for autonomy. “This government is insensitive, totalitarian ... it denies development to the people; it’s trying to concentrate power and turn us into his beggar,” he said.

Branco Marinkovic, a Santa Cruz landowner and head of the civic committee that represents the pro-autonomy states, also criticised the government.

“The east wants to continue in a free market, they want to continue with a system whereby the people can actually progress ... This really isn’t an indigenous matter or a race matter, it’s just a matter of them holding on to power,” he said.

In Cochabamba, tensions ran high when Manfred Reyes Villa, the governor, refused to acknowledge his defeat at the polls, saying the recall vote was illegal.

Mr Morales in turn says that votes on autonomy passed in the provinces of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija this year were illegal.

Jim Shultz, a Cochabamba-based political analyst, said Mr Morales needed to find a way to avoid the perception that he represented only indigenous people.

“At an emotional level, Evo represents two of the things that are the most powerful forces in politics: hope and fear. For about half this country he represents hope ... and then there are the people who look at Evo and he inspires their deepest fear.”

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2005; bolivia; energy; freemarket; hydrocarbons; latinamerica; morales; santacruz; theft; wealthredistribution
Not totalitarian, yet. The new constitution would probably make it "authoritarian".
1 posted on 08/11/2008 11:42:17 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

well what a bunch of BS,,these treacherous little vermin sure cause a lot of suffering to be so popular!

2 posted on 08/11/2008 11:47:14 PM PDT by coalman (type to slow to be relevant,but I try)
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To: coalman
"....these treacherous little vermin sure cause a lot of suffering to be so popular!"

Chavez and this guy LOOK like total thugs (maybe because they are???).

3 posted on 08/12/2008 3:58:36 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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