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Monday, January 26, 2009

Bolivarian constitution

The new constitution has been approved by about 59% according to early accounts. There is great expectation that this will change the lot of the poor indigenous population.
I love Google's English translation of this editorial from a government portal linked media outlet:

The hope and optimism should be the north of all Bolivians, feelings that can be expressed on this day dedicated to the millennium of Man desire to achieve abundance, prosperity and happiness, through the traditional festival andalusia Aymara god called Ekeko, "which was officially opened on January 24 of each year in the city of La Paz.
The legend was founded during the prolonged siege that was the city of La Paz in 1781, of Tupac Katari, scarce food, they were replaced by horse meat of mules and donkeys, in addition to boil leather straps were in the mule and elsewhere.
So, it is said, was a small man, looking pudgy and cheerful, in Spanish and indigenous features, which began distributing food to the people, relieving, thus extending the hunger in this capital.
No doubt a legend, which also has an Aymara tradition and represents the god of fertility, but that is rooted in the conscience and tradition of Bolivians, especially the paceños, the prevailing belief, which moves in the acquisition of thumbnails you want to own property, they are "challadas" on behalf of the god symbolic. An anthropologist noted [...]

On the eve of the constitutional referendum, make for an examination of conscience, with our vote, guaranteeing the future of our country.


A resurgent tradition. Bolivia: The whites in the East don't like the indigenous revival because it is, as Morales has said, the end of colonisation. Their feudal land holdings the Spanish colonists built up (Indians not getting the vote until 1952) have been exempted from the new law established by the referendum (max. individual land holdings), and more autonomy for their regions means it is not the end of the world for the remnants of empire. Bolivia however does have a history of being scythed off to its neighbours, so the independence of the Eastern portion (where the neighbouring Brazilians have interests in the gas fields) is not unthinkable. Acre split off from Bolivia and was annexed by Brazil early last century.El Diario
"The present constitution was born under the principles of the Bolivarian Constitution of 1826, from there, the rule was at least 17 amendments, most of all, not substance. The rule will be considered by the Bolivians on Sunday is completely different in form and content, "said Antezana.
[...]
But in 1880 the Constitution was amended several times, but without changing the essence of the original Constitution of 1826 which was written by Simón Bolívar.
[...]
For the lawyer, throughout this process remains a tendency "semi-colonial, semi-feudal," which comes to the formation of the Constituent Assembly in 2006 where he discarded all previous constitutions and drafted a completely new look.


Land tenure is a big issue for colonial countries. Here is a description of the issue from La Razon:

The question on the ballot reads as follows:

Do you agree with the proposal for most of the Constituent Assembly to Article 398 of the draft Constitution of the State is read?. Prohibits latifundio and double qualification for being contrary to the collective interest and development of the country.

Latifundio means the holding of unproductive land, land that does not meet a social economic function, the land that applies an operation servitude or semi-slavery in the employment relationship or the property that exceeds the maximum zoned that exceeds the amount set by law. The maximum may not exceed 5[thousand] hectares, 10 [thousand]hectares.

The people elected by the choice of 5 [thousand] hectares.

The results issued by the network ATB were as follows.

Bolivia 100%
10 thousand hectares: 21.6%
5 [thousand] hectares: 78.4%


Other reports say the large land holdings already in existence are not affected by this. An attempt to break up the big estates. From Wikipedia:

There are also racial overtones to the autonomy movement, quasi-fascist groups such as the Nación Camba and the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista use violence and intimidation tactics against indigenous groups, using autonomy as a tool to subvert the elected government. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, also published a report on the situation in Santa Cruz following a visit in December 2007 and observed that the political climate had give rise to ‘manifestations of racism more suited to a colonial society than a modern democratic state’.
[...]
Four departments, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, announced in December 2007, shortly after the proposal of a new Bolivian constitution, that they would seek more autonomy and self-government. Santa Cruz and Beni called referendums on autonomy to be held on May 4, 2008 and June 1, 2008 respectively. However, the autonomy statutes which they have proposed have been declared illegal and unconstitutional by the National Electoral Court of Bolivia.
[...]
The racist elements of the autonomy movement came to the fore in the city of Sucre on May 24. Peasants from settlements outside Sucre came to the centre of the city to participate in a ceremony with President Morales. Instead they were accosted by an aggressive group of young people and marched to Sucre's central square. There they were made to strip to the waist and burn their ponchos, the flag of the MAS party and the wiphala (the flag of the Aymara). While they were doing this they were forced to shout anti-government slogans and were physically assaulted. Present in the square at the time were Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga, former president and leader of the opposition party Podemos, opposition Senator Oscar Ortiz and Prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa. After these events the government declared it to be a "day of national shame".

5 Comments:

At 27/1/09 3:57 am, Blogger Crushed said...

Bolivia also used to have a coastline at one time. It lost it to Chile in the 1880s.

 
At 27/1/09 8:44 am, Anonymous Lance said...

"The whites in the East..."

Erm, I may be completely wrong about this but reading the other day I was given to understand it was a matter of people of mixed ancestry/race not liking it also, rather than "whites". Or are evil colonialist oppressors all just referred to as whitey these days?

 
At 27/1/09 9:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt those shady groups have funding and training provided by the CIA as per the normal practice in that part of th world.

 
At 27/1/09 9:59 am, Anonymous deano said...

Lucky James Bond saved their water.

 
At 27/1/09 6:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also I remember Superman preventing a flood there.

 

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