Monday, 3 August 2009

Bolivia's indigenous people gain more autonomy

According to the BBC, President Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous leader, has begun implementing provisions that give indigenous people the chance to govern themselves. The changes are outlined in a new constitution, which enacted a decree setting out the conditions for Indian communities to hold votes on autonomy in referenda that will take place in December. Bolivia's indigenous people were banished to the margins of society for centuries and did not enjoy full voting rights until 1952.

Not surprisingly, the new charter has been bitterly opposed by Bolivia's traditional elite. Many Bolivians of European or mixed-race descent in the fertile eastern lowlands, which hold rich gas deposits and are home to extensive farms. The reforms in the new constitution include a limit of 5,000 hectares on new land ownership and state sovereignty over gas fields.

No comments: