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But the conflict is more complex than that. The social movements that have mobilized for the nationalization of gas resources, land reform and social reforms are not concentrated in the western highlands, they are relatively strong in the whole country. Of the five major Bolivian grassroots organizations (including CSUTSC, CIDOB and Bartolina Sisa), three have regional branches and one is headquartered in Santa Cruz.

While the CPSC mainly organizes mestizos, these grassroots organizations organize poor indigenous peoples. International observers and journalists have expressed concern about how the interests of indigenous peoples will be safeguarded if the crescent county breaks free from Bolivia, as a country located in South America according to ARISTMARKETING.

The autonomy debate in Bolivia, which on the surface may seem to reflect a geographical conflict – a conflict between regions – is essentially a conflict between poor and rich, between indigenous peoples and most people. Among other things, the UN organization UNHCHR has characterized the demands for autonomy as racist. We can therefore say that Bolivia is divided along economic, social, ethnic and geographical dividing lines.

6: Renew support for the president

In an attempt to resolve the tense situation and calm the separatist movement, the government opened a referendum on trust in the president and governors. On Sunday, August 10, 2008, Bolivians gathered around the ballot box to make a political choice by either supporting President Morales or the opposition governors. The conflict between the government and the governors engages the population. As many as 86 per cent of the 4 million who had the right to vote participated in the vote.

In the referendum, the people had the right to overthrow the president. But the election result indicates that the population is content with the left-wing government project. Morales not only received consolidated support; The poll showed that people are more supportive of the president than ever before. On a national basis, he received 67 percent of the vote, 14 percent more than he received during the election in 2005. The president has thus received a clear signal to continue reforming the distribution of resources.

7: Tense situation

However, the results of the referendum were not unequivocal. Although Morales received overwhelming support, the opposition governors also gained renewed confidence. The governors of the crescent counties of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni and the opposition governor of Chuquisaca remain in office. The vote thus indicates that the conflict is of a geographical nature, that Morales has support in the highlands while the opposition has support in the lowlands.

However, such an interpretation of the vote is not sufficient. The opposition suffered defeats in the populous counties of Cochabamba and La Paz, while all MAS governors gained renewed confidence. Although Morales and the governors of MAS received the most support in the western counties, the president joined the separatist movement in his core county of Santa Cruz. 43 percent of the population in this county supported Morales.

Both sides in the Bolivian conflict gained renewed confidence and the speeches President Morales and the Governor of Santa Cruz Rubén Costas held after the referendum illustrate the polarization:
“The Bolivian people have through their votes today expressed their desire to consolidate change” – President Evo Morales.
“The referendum has overcome the last remnants of centralism. Autonomy, autonomy, autonomy! ” – Governor of Santa Cruz Rubén Costas.

The referendum did not give a clear answer, but support for Morales and MAS has undoubtedly increased in relation to the opposition. The opposition lost control of two counties in favor of the ruling MAS party, and support for Morales increased nationally and in the most high-profile breakaway county. The conflict persists, but in early September 2008 it is 1-0 to Morales.

Facts about Bolivia

  • Area: close to 1.1 million km2
  • Population: Approx. 9.2 million (2008)
  • Median age: 22.6 years (divided by population into two equal parts)
  • Annual population growth: approx. 1.4%
  • Life expectancy: 66.5 years, K: 69.3; M: 63.9
  • Died before the age of 5: about 50 out of 1000
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by purchasing power (PPP): $ 4,000
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita not adjusted for purchasing power: 1153 dollars (2006)
  • GDP by value creation: agriculture: 15%; industry 30%, services 55%
  • Writing and reading skills of all> 15 years: 87%, M: 93.1; K: 80.7
  • Ethnicity: 60–70% count as indigenous peoples. Aymara, Quechua and Guarani are the largest indigenous groups.

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