The Islamic Post Blog

Morales: ‘Let the People Decide’ by Khalida
June 22, 2008, 4:57 am
Filed under: July Volume I- 2008, Latino/Caribe | Tags: , ,

By Noora Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer

President Evo Morales volunteered to hold a nationwide referendum in August allowing Bolivians to decide whether he and his vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera should remain in power, after the provinces voted for autonomy from the Morales government. Opposition forces took Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, and Tarija in a series of referendums that are denounced by the Organization of American States (OAS) and many Latin American countries.
Morales referred to the referendums as  “popularity polls” due to the unconstitutionality of the May autonomy referendum. “Those opposition groups who lost their control over the national government want to use the autonomy question to damage or divide Bolivia,” Morales explained to Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now, “First, the autonomy statute that they’re holding a vote on is illegal and unconstitutional. Why? Because under the current constitution, there is no provision for autonomy… Second, any referendum must be called by the national congress, but here the governor decided illegally and unconstitutionally [to hold a referendum]. This is because the historical enemies of the indigenous movement of the people, and the enemies of social progress, are in agony.”
Although it was widely reported that the Santa Cruz referendum was a landslide, with 85% of the residents of Santa Cruz voting “yes,” over 50% of the eligible population boycotted the referendum by not voting at all. Residents of areas with majority populations loyal to the Morales government destroyed voting booths in their communities, which  precipitated clashes between pro- and anti-referendum partisans, and left hundreds injured.
The Bolivian president mentioned during a speech at the Plaza de Armas in front of thousands of adherents that before the nationalization of natural gas in May of 2006, Bolivia received 300 million dollars annually from the industry, this tripled in 2007 to 1700 million dollars and this year the income escalated even higher to 2.5 billion dollars a year, as reported by the Associated Press. The profits “are not Evo’s, nor the government’s, nor do they belong to the prefects and mayors, all of this is for the people of Bolivia,” Morales asserted.
The recent announcement of the nationalizations of telecommunications in Bolivia follows Morales’ denouncing of capitalism in general at the United Nations to more than 2,500 indigenous delegates who took part in a two-week session, the first since the UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding declaration last September upholding the human, land and resources rights of indigenous people.
The Bolivian president also called for the UN system, particularly the powerful Security Council, to be “democratized” so that power cannot continue to be monopolized by a few nations.

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