Bolivia: When minorities deny the rights of the majorities

By Miguel Lora Fuentes, Bolpress (translation by David Montoute)

How true it is that nothing lasts forever. Bolivia’s exploited classes, of mainly indigenous origin, are now confronting more than five centuries of exclusion. This territory’s original inhabitants were subjugated by the cross and the sword during the colonial period, they were harassed and had their lands taken from them under the Republic, and their culture was ignored during the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1952. Now, as they finally take state power by democratic means at the beginning of the 21st century, the dominant minority accuses them of wanting to install the ``first racist, fascist state in Latin America’’.

The current historical juncture is characterised by a profound crisis of the market economy, of liberal democracy and of the very foundations of the old republican colonial state, a monocultural, centralist and exclusionary state that has remained intact since the foundation of the Republic.

The current historical moment opened by the indigenous and working-class movements resembles the period between the 1940s and 1950s in which a struggle for power between the ``rosca’’ [oligarchy] and the popular movement marked the prelude to the nationalist revolution of 1952.

What is new is that the indigenous peoples are now the challengers of the old colonial state –which was both subordinated to foreign powers and the architect of today’s racialised class-society. Determined to liberate themselves from their accursed colonial heritage, the historically excluded sectors, who were never recognised as subjects with political rights, are changing the course of the state and attempting to consolidate cultural, socioeconomic and institutional reforms in the country.

The exercise of politics has been ``deprivatised’’. Previously it was in the hands of the systemic parties, whereas now the masses have burst onto the scene, appropriating the bourgeois democracy and the normative judicial apparatus which has historically subordinated them. Vice-President Alvaro García Linera defines this juncture in ``Leninist’’ terms: ``It is the moment of the masses … Bolivia’s Indians have decided to become political actors and decision makers. This is the most important event in the history of the Republic and has delivered a mortal blow to the neo-liberal model.’’

In the minds of the exploited classes, a different vision of the state has crystallised, and a Second Republic is emerging, one whose sustenance is the communitarian civilisation ignored from the Republic’s inception.

From the beginning of this century a ``new plural and social subject’’ is under construction, and it demands a new national project. It has broken with the old, colonial, republican state and assumed the historical challenge of collectively building the new SocialUnitarianState based on plurinational communitarian law. Its aim is a true Bolivia – one that is democratic, productive, peaceful and committed to integral development and the free will of the people.

Without moving an inch beyond the conservative boundaries of the exhausted neoliberal paradigm, the most reactionary political and business interests have rejected the democratic battle of ideas and called for fascist tactics to block the transformations promoted by the immense majorities.

Minorities entrenched in the region of the ``half moon’’, deceived by the agro-industrial, land-owning commercial elite and linked to multinationals, openly violate the democratic rules of the game. They denigrate institutional rule, practice the crime of sedition, openly call for disobedience and organise de facto mini-republics that are independent of central authority.

In search of pluralism

The right wing understands the background of the current program of transformation as the ``domination of one group by another’’. It sees the ``closing-down’’ of political, economic and cultural freedoms, the construction of a ``racist state’’ with the ``constitutionalisation’’ of the term ``native indigenous campesinos’’ . According to the Podemos parliamentarian Walter Javier Arrázola Mendivil, this term has no sociological or historical foundation and shatters the universal principle of ``citizenship’’.

The conservative political sectors see only the descendents of the pre-conquest peoples and nations being recognised by the new political constitution of the state, while other social identities built in the last 500 years, such as the mestizos [mixed Spanish/indigenous heritage] are denied any value.

The right says that the new Magna Carta ``creates first and second-class citizens’’ and ignores ``mestizaje’’ [the ``mixed race’’]. In this way, ``being indigenous’’ becomes a means of social and economic advancement and a kind of ``cultural and economic [reprisal]’.

But is this really the case?

The prelude to the Magna Carta approved at the end of 2007 describes the existence of a wide diversity of cultures in our national territory. These cultures had no experience of racism until the advent of colonial rule.

Now, the Bolivian people propose the building of a new, truly pluralist state, inspired by the memory of its martyrs and its past social and indigenous struggles. The indigenous worker-campesino majorities are carrying out a bourgeois democratic revolution. They don’t seek to wipe out the conservative political minorities, but rather demand respect and equality for all.

The only goal of the indigenous emergence, says García Linera, is equality – nothing more, nothing less. That is why its premise is the construction of a state that is respectful of political, economic, juridical, cultural and linguistic pluralism. Above all, it must promote the ``intercivilisational complementarity of the Bolivian people in all their diversity’’, living together, and with universal access to water, work, education, health and housing.

However, the new political constitution of the state seeks to establish the foundations of a new ``pluralistic society’’ from the political, economic, judicial and cultural perspective, and transcend the postulates of economic liberalism and representative democracy.

To this end, the indigenous worldview for the first time ever becomes a substantial part of the plurinational state’s identity. Now, communitarian institutions are recognised as an inherent part of the state’s forms of economic, political and cultural organisation.[1]

For the conservative right-wing, the constitution’s recognition of the pre-colonial indigenous nations and peoples is excessive. It considers this recognition a disproportionate benefit from the plurinational state, as with the institutional representation of the state or the autonomous indigenous territories and their sovereign control of renewable and non-renewable resources.

It is inconceivable for them that the native, indigenous campesinos should have direct representation with their ``practices and customs’’, 50% representation in Congress and other state organisms/institutions such as the Constitutional Tribunal, the Agro-ecological Tribunal and the Plurinational Electoral Council. But the only thing the constitution really does is recognise the free will and self-determination of these peoples, in accordance with Agreement 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples ratified by the majority of the world’s countries on the September 13, 2007.[2]

`Mestizos’ vs. indigenous peoples

The Right minimises the importance of indigenous demographics in Bolivia and sticks closely to the concept of ``mestizo multiculturality’’ to devalue the communitarian orientation of the current changes. ``The statistical mean in each indigenous group or ethnicity (37 in total) is a little over a thousand inhabitants, which the political and ideological project of the MAS [Movement Towards Socialism] attempts to configure as a nation.’’

According to parliamentary representative Arrázola, there are only two numerous indigenous groups in Bolivia: the Aymara and the Quechua (91% of the indigenous population) who inhabit the departments of La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, Chuquisaca and Cochabamba, the western half of the country. The other 9% is made up of almost 500,000 natives distributed among 34 lowland ethnicities (Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz and Tarija). The opposition legislator claims that there is no ``credible data’’ that shows a native and indigenous majority in Bolivia, the only document that backs this claim is the ``Censo de Población y Vivienda’’ carried out in 2001, which concludes that 62% of Bolivians identify themselves as indigenous. This study, adds Arrázola, did not offer Bolivians the choice of identifying themselves as mestizos, unlike a study five years earlier (``Auditoría de la Democracia, Informe Boliviano 2006’’), which arrived at the conclusion that 64% of Bolivians describe themselves as mestizo or cholo; 19% indigenous or native; 11% white; 0.55% black and 4.28% ``none of the above’’. ``Genetically’’ it’s impossible to demonstrate racial or ethnic purity, since globalisation has created a hybrid world. Even the President Evo Morales Ayma of Bolivia is a ``mestizo or cholo’’ because his surname is of Spanish origin, whilst Ayma is of indigenous origin, says Arrázola.

What is certain is that the national majority identifies with one or another of the country’s 37 ethnic groups, some of which extend beyond national boundaries. To the 1.3 million Aymaras who inhabit La Paz, Oruro, Potosí and Cochabamba, we must consider the 100,000 Aymaras in Chile concentrated in Tarapacá and Antofagasta, with another 600,000 in Peru, mostly in Puno, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna. In Peru alone, the Aymara occupy a territory approximately the size of Belgium or Switzerland in seven of the Puno department’s ten provinces. Besides this, the Guarani are almost 300,000 in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil.

A `Marxist-Stalinist’ state?

The conservative political sectors see the MAS program’s use of the term ``indigenous’’ as an ideological prop of a ``Marxist-Stalinist’’ state – one that substitutes ethnic struggles for the class struggle. While the official constitution guarantees the protection of private property, the centralised ``state capitalism’’ of a planned economy will, in their opinion, lead to a gradual elimination of private property.

The fact is that Morales’ government negotiated new contracts with the oil companies which guaranteed their holdings, their investments and their profits. It provided strong guarantees for private property and investment in accordance with the law, while the new constitution essentially proposes that the old elites share power with the emerging indigenous elites.

The economy envisioned by the new pluralist state expressly states that the communitarian, state, private and social-cooperative forms of economic organisation ``are equal before the law’’ and are articulated on the principles of complementarity, reciprocity, solidarity, redistribution, equality, sustainability, balance, justice and transparency.

The four axes of the new pluricultural state under construction are:

1. The state as protagonist in the economy and responsible for the equitable redistribution of the national wealth;

2. Equality between Bolivia’s diverse peoples and cultures;

3. The right of the indigenous peoples to take decisions at a state level; and

4. The autonomous national state.

One of the objectives of the changes is the reconstitution of the indigenous communities –facilitating the autonomous development of their collective culture. Its starting point is an acknowledgement of the current unequal land distribution. The west covers a third of the national territory and is home to almost two-thirds of the population, while the east, which covers two-thirds of the country, is home to little more than a third of the population.

The right claims that the MAS will take advantage of the native, campesino concept to redistribute eastern territories. In this way, the inhabitants of the west can ``conquer’’, ``neo-colonise’’ and promote a process of ``acculturisation’’ of the lowland inhabitants who historically, culturally and sociologically built ``mestizo identities’’.

A single national project and regional resistance

The conservative political sectors define the current juncture as a struggle between two distinct visions of two distinct and different countries. But in practice, the minority provincial classes lack a concrete program, as in 1952, and are simply opposing the new political and economic project that is dominated by the national majorities.

Small clans permanently linked to political power, and co-governing with the military dictatorships and neoliberal regimes, were cornered by a popular insurrection in 2003. After 20 years of ``democracy’’, this is the first government in which these groups are not directly administering the state apparatus.

The land has become a strong and cohesive rallying point for the national oligarchy. A report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reveals that approximately 100 feudal-style families own five times more land (25 million hectares) than 2 million campesinos (five million hectares) condemned to scratching a living from eroded and over-exploited mini-estates. On average, a landowning family in Bolivia holds a quarter of a million hectares, while a campesino family must make do with one hectare.

The concentration of land is most notorious in the department of Santa Cruz. There the latifundios [large estates] were initially set up with the help of ex-dictators and later by corrupt functionaries and politicians of the old, defunct political parties such as the ADN, MIR and MNR after the ``second agrarian reform’’ of 1996.[3]

The clan is powerful because in addition to land, it also owns rivers, forests, haciendas and even the very lives of its labourers. It controls the agro-industrial sector, foreign trade, the banks and the communications media of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija. It controls the principal business, civil and even popular organisations. And now the oligarchy has de facto control of the government and political power in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija – that is, in four of the country’s nine departments.

Seeing their interests threatened by a new constitution that restricts individual landholdings to a maximum of 5000 to 10,000 hectares, the ruling classes openly conspire against the government and try to set up autonomous mini-republics. These have their own parliament and police forces, and total control over land, taxes and the region’s natural resources.

The conservative minorities recovered their influence by championing autonomy and fighting centralism, which according to them is responsible for all the nation’s ills. ``Bolivian and indigenous poverty, above all in the west of the country, is a result of state centralism and the concentration of decision making in the government of La Paz... Faced with the country’s poverty, the eastern departments proposed decentralisation and democratisation of power, by means of the Departmental Autonomies’’, says Arrázola, arguing that the rich Cruceño region (where two-thirds of the nation’s GDP is generated; Santa Cruz produces one-third of GDP, 50% of taxes and import duties and slightly more than half of Bolivia’s food) grew ``thanks to hard work, and the liberal and enterprising vision of its people’’.

Businesspeople, traditional party politicians and various middle-class professionals make up a solid anti-popular bloc capable of mobilising great numbers of people. They have the firm support of the pro-Santa Cruz Civic Committee and the bourgeoisie as a whole: the Eastern Chamber of Forests and Fisheries (CAO), the Santa Cruz Chamber of Industry, Trade, Services and Tourism (Cainco), the Businessmen’s Federation and the Santa Cruz Cattle Ranching Federation (Fegasacruz).

The circumstantial leader of the clan is Branco Marinkovic, president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, who together with Governor Costas, is the visible leader of the secessionist movement. On December 6, 2007, Marinkovic sent a letter to President Morales to inform him that he was taking up a struggle ``for democracy and freedom against dictatorship’’, stating that Santa Cruz autonomy move has no political motives and no individual’s personal interests behind it. This is despite the fact that he could be the principal estate-holder to suffer from the Agrarian Reform’s Communitarian Recovery Law.[4]

The US embassy promotes and finances the clan. Philip Goldberg has a close relationship with Costas and Marinkovic, whilst USAID finances rightist politicians. Goldberg also worked as special assistant to US ambassador Richard Holbrooke between 1994 and 1996. Holbrooke was one of the architects of Yugoslavia’s disintegration and the downfall of President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Goldberg, who promoted the separation of Serbia and Montenegro, was also in Kosovo, fomenting conflict between Serbs and Albano-Kosovars. Now he encourages the rebellion of the Bolivian autonomists.

The rebellion of big business in the four departments has made it clear that Bolivian society has yet to overcome the defects of the past. In recent months, peasants and indigenous people have been denigrated, insulted, spat at and beaten on the streets of Santa Cruz and Sucre for the sole reason of having darker skin and wearing pleated pollera skirts and abarca sandals.

It’s as if we had regressed decades in a matter of months. All of a sudden, small white and mestizo groups are reincorporating discriminatory and racist expressions into their vocabulary, things we believed dead and buried. In Sucre and Santa Cruz, there is daily denigration of the ``smelly and uncultured Indians’’, the ``fucking Indians’’, the ``dirty collas’’ and ``uppity Indians’’. Today, the oligarchy defies the legitimate president merely because he is an ``Indian’’, a ``macaque’’, an ``ignoramus’’…

The clans' political hegemony is broken

The political crisis generated by society’s most conservative sectors has apparently stalled the country’s transformation, but it has simultaneously radicalised the position of the popular movements. On September 10, 2007, a ``Conference of Campesinos, Native Peoples and Popular Urban Organisations’’ ratified an urgent policy requirement. Namely, ``expropriation of the latifundios without compensation and the immediate distribution of their lands among rural and urban producers who are prepared to make use of it for the benefit of society’’.

President Morales’ priority in his third year of governance is to accelerate the program of structural transformation and the ``decolonisation’’ of the state with the help of a new National Coordinating Committee for Change. One of its first measures is the recovery and expropriation the holdings of landowners enslaving the Chaco’s indigenous people.[5]

The process of decolonisation is irreversible. This is not a political speech, but a painful reality which must be approached with boldness. And, as Morales says, the only way to transform the state is to close the deep wound which colonialism left in Latin America.

The government says it has fulfilled the basic program of the 2005 electoral campaign, such as the nationalisation of oil and gas, and the establishment of a constituent assembly. It now tries to incorporate the philosophical principles of the indigenous community into the new state, meaning the equal redistribution of natural wealth and resources, and a collective ``living standard’’ that does not depend upon anyone’s exploitation.

The aim of the plurinational state under construction is the search for a decent standard of living – one with sovereignty, dignity, complementarity, solidarity, harmony and equality in the distribution and redistribution of the social product. The new Magna Carta questions neoliberalism from a communitarian perspective, privileging equality over freedom and collective rights over individual rights.

According to many analysts, Bolivia is experiencing a break with the philosophical principles of the ``Enlightenment’’ – that is, a break with the idea of the individual as nature’s supposed owner and master. In the indigenous project, not only individual and social rights are claimed, but also those of nature itself.

The Bolivian state has recognised indigenous societies as alternative societal models, distinct from capitalism, the market and Western society. On the international scene it holds up this other kind of conviviality, superior to the Western individualism that has unleashed the environmental crisis.

The Bolivian social movements are building a more civilised human model, austere and respectful of nature, with the invaluable contribution of the ancestral knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples. They are creating a collective subject that does not jettison individual creativity and private freedoms, but does privilege the individual’s intersubjective dimension and his essentially communal identity.


[1] ``SECTION III: CULTURES. Article 99: I. Cultural diversity is the essential foundation of the PlurinationalCommunitarianState. Interculturality is the instrument of cohesion and harmonious and balanced conviviality amongst all peoples and nations. Interculturality will respect differences within equal conditions. II. The State assumes the existence of native indigenous campesino cultures as reservoirs of values, knowledge, spirituality and visions as a firm resolution. III. It will be the State’s fundamental responsibility to preserve, develop, protect and promote the nation’s cultures.’’

[2] After 24 years of debate, the United Nations approved the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, which recognised the right to self-determination, possession of land, access to natural resources and the preservation of the traditional knowledge and culture of the world’s 370 million indigenous people. As victims of historic injustice, the colonisation and usurpation of their lands, territories and resources has prevented them from exercising their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests. Now these indigenous peoples are free from discrimination, according to the preamble of the historic declaration. The declaration also condemns doctrines, policies and practices based on the superiority of particular peoples or persons for any national, racial, religious, ethnic or cultural reasons. These are, it says, ``racist, scientifically false, judicially invalid, morally abhorrent and socially unjust’’. Bolivia has become the first country in the world to pass into national law this historic declaration of the United Nations. ``Bolivia is a nation of nations’’, said Evo Morales as he declared Law 3760 on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

[3] Three years ago, the INRA estimated that the Cruceño provinces of Guarayos, Chiquitos and Cordillera had 800,000 hectares of recoverable land in the hands of 500 individuals. No small number of former ministers and legislators abused their power to monopolise land. Former Senate president Sandro Giordano and his wife, and the family of Luis Fernando Saavedra Bruno, are notable examples.

[4] Notables in the right-wing power bloc are Oscar Ortiz, former manager of Cainco and now a senator for Podemos, the offshoot of the fascist ADN of ex-dictator Hugo Banzer; ex-president of Fegasacruz Antonio Franco (a rancher and current Podemos legislator who demanded the jailing of NGOs that help indigenous people); and Branco Marinkovic, ex-president of the Businessmen’s Federation and now president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee. In the civil section of the autonomist front, the former president of the Civic Committee Rubén Costas stands out. Today he is the department’s governor. The former parliamentarian and health minister Carlos Dabdoub is one of the movement’s ideologues and currently the autonomy secretary for the Santa Cruz governorship. According to INRA, 15 families have half a million hectares of land which is an area 25 times bigger than the city of Santa Cruz (20,000 hectares). (See ``The rebellion of the 100 clans’’,; ``The land question – the background to the autonomy movement’’,

[5] There are still about a thousand landless Guarani families, with neither a salary nor basic rights. As unbelievable as it sounds, the boss’ permission is required to even speak to them.

Original article at

By Chris Sweeney

Two members from a rightwing Santa Cruz youth group were arrested outside the Trompillo airport on June 19 with a rifle, telescopic sight, and 300 rounds of ammunition in a purported assassination attempt on President Evo Morales. In an unprecedented and highly questionable move, the accused were freed the very next day by a Santa Cruz attorney sympathetic to their separatist cause. This potentially violent scenario is telling of the fractious nature of politics currently unfolding in Bolivia, a country plagued by extreme social inequality and political marginalization.

Three days after the alleged attempt, a referendum aimed at increasing the autonomy of the Tarija department from the national government was resoundingly approved, marking the fourth such victory for the departmental autonomy movement in Bolivia over the past two months. While Morales hopes to strengthen the central government in an effort to equitably redistribute Bolivia's resource wealth throughout the country, his opposition, a number of departmental political leaders, aspire to increase their autonomy from the central government in order to preserve the privileged status the country's elite have enjoyed for centuries. The stage is now set for a dramatic showdown that will undoubtedly shape the future of Bolivia, the choices offered to its citizenry, and their prospects for more meaningful lives.

Bolivia's Natural Wealth

Bolivia is rich in natural resources. According to the CIA World Factbook, the landlocked Andean country has more than 650 billion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves, second only to Venezuela in all of South America. Bolivia exports over 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, making it the sixteenth largest exporter in the world. In addition, the country is home to a variety of mineral deposits, including zinc, tin, and silver. Consider also that Bolivia is a net exporter of crude petroleum, and the importance of the wealth of its vast commodity resources -- real and potential -- becomes abundantly clear. Possession of such valuable commodities should guarantee Bolivia prosperity on a national scale. However the reality for the majority of the population is far from this egalitarian ideal. Indeed, Bolivia is narrowly divided along geographic and ethnic boundaries by ideologies, language, race, cultural and fiscal policies that, until recently, have ensured that the majority remain impoverished while an economic and political elite few inordinately benefit.

Bolivia's Poor Majority

Bolivia's indigenous peoples, who account for well over half of the population, have been systematically oppressed for centuries. Living primarily as subsistence farmers in the arid western mountainous regions of the country -- the Andean Altiplano -- Bolivia's indigenous majority largely lacks access to basic educational, health, and economic opportunities. The Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress reports that over 80 percent of rural residents lack access to clean water and means of sanitary waste disposal. The 2007/08 UN Human Development Report ranks Bolivia languishing behind every country in the western hemisphere except for Guatemala and Haiti, with regards to life expectancy, educational opportunities, literacy, and GDP per capita. One may question how a country so blessed with natural riches can suffer such poverty.

The Rich Minority

Living conditions in the eastern lowlands, home to the country's mestizo (30 percent) and white (15 percent) populations, are dramatically different. Nestled in the corner of the Amazon, the tropical climate allows for much more arable land, evident by greater agricultural production as well as different land usage. In the east, large landholdings are not the exception but the rule. According to the United Nations Development Program, 25 million hectares of prime farmland is controlled by some 100 families. In comparison, the remaining 5 million hectares of farmland in the country are shared among 2 million campesinos. This lopsided pattern of land use is reminiscent of the hacienda system, the form of land organization utilized during the high days of Spanish colonialism.

The case of U.S. national Ronald Larson, who owns more than 140,000 acres of land in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, exemplifies the intensity uneven land distribution. The white landowner employs large numbers of indigenous farmhands, and although he is not an oppressive employer by any means, the fact that the existing land tenure system has tolerated a single individual being able to amass such extensive landholdings essentially guarantees the continuation of the rigid divide between rich and poor in Bolivia. Says one laborer: "We are not slaves, but we are not prospering. We just exist" ("American Rancher Resists Land Reform Plans in Bolivia," New York Times, 9 May 2008). As long as such vast tracts of land are held by a privileged few, the potential wealth hidden in Bolivia's soil will remain largely inaccessible to most of the population.

The large agribusinesses of the east have normally generated healthy profits, but it is what lies beneath the soil that traditionally has accentuated Bolivia's grievous earning gap. Most of Bolivia's natural gas and petroleum deposits are located in the wealthier and more educated eastern regions of the country, in such departments as Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando, and Beni. Until recently, profits from the exploitation of their resources have been unfairly shared sparsely with the rest of the country through an imperfect tax system. The revenues that the energy sector has generated in the east are largely responsible for the development of the bulk of the financial markets and business services located there. As a result, this region enjoys a much higher cross-the-board per capita standard of living compared to the rest of the country.

Evo Morales and Democratic Reform

The marginalization of the masses is now being challenged by a populist indigenous movement. Evo Morales was elected President of Bolivia on December 18, 2005, running on the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party ticket. As president, he has introduced a new economic model aimed at the equitable redistribution of the nation's patrimony. "Capitalismo Andino Amazónico" (Andean-Amazonian Capitalism) represents a pluralist approach to economic growth designed to give every citizen equal access to Bolivia's literal goldmine. Vice-President Álvaro Gracia Linera explains, "Industry in Bolivia should learn to coexist with forms of self-organization and commercial development owned in particular by the people in the Andes and Amazon." The Agencia Nodo Sur (South Node Agency) explains that Andean-Amazonian Capitalism is neither socialism nor neoliberalism, but a system catering to the contemporary realities of Bolivia which recognizes communal, state, and private forms of economic organization as being equal under the law.

One of Morales' primary objectives as president has been to implement a new constitution that protects the rights of all citizens. To this end, the Bolivian Constituent Assembly approved a relatively moderate constitution in December 2007. Still, its approval was highly controversial. Members of the opposition party claimed that they were physically prevented from attending the proceedings by pro-government social movements, such as trade unions and coca growers; the MAS maintains that those who were absent from the vote on the constituent assembly were so in order to boycott the proceedings. Regardless, the draft constitution contains two progressive measures that, if promulgated, should quickly serve to benefit the majority of Bolivians. First, it creates the strong central government necessary to ensure the equitable division of the nation's natural resources amongst the citizenry. Second, the proposed constitution will respect regional autonomy while protecting the rights of indigenous groups on a level equal to their mestizo counterparts, so as to promote a more pluralist national cultural identity. This arrangement is being contested by some orthodox politicians who fear that allowing indigenous groups to practice traditional customs, especially in those regions with a mixed demographic profile, will further splinter an already badly fractured political system. Other contested issues include agrarian reform and the division of natural gas profits through taxes.

Morales Makes His Move

While the new constitution awaits ratification by the electorate, Morales has not waited to make his populist vision a reality. First, he has nationalized the all-important energy sector. On May 1, 2006 -- International Workers Day -- Morales ordered the army to reclaim gas fields, pipelines, and refineries throughout the country. He announced that "the state recovers ownership, possession and total and absolute control" of Bolivia's vast natural gas reserves ("Bolivia's Military Takes Control of Gas Fields," Reuters, May 2, 2006). The government demanded that private firms relinquish at least 51 percent of ownership to the Bolivian state energy firm, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), within 6 months. Although the existing private companies and multinationals based in Bolivia were not pleased by the above moves, they for the most part accepted Morales' terms. According to the BBC, the 10 largest private firms operating in Bolivia signed new contracts accepting the government's terms just days before the predetermined deadline lapsed.

However the nationalization process was not as "absolute" as it may seem. Indeed, the appropriation of the energy sector falls in line with the mixed-economic model of Andean-Amazonian Capitalism. The new agreement provides for state ownership of hydrocarbons and control of their sale. Some private companies will continue to operate production facilities, and may receive up to 50 percent of the value of production, so long as they respect the stipulations of law. On June 2, 2008, Morales shifted control of the natural gas pipelines previously owned by Ashmore Energy International and Shell Gas to YPFB because the foreign companies had failed to be in compliance with government regulations.

The idea behind the new arrangement is to retain the efficiency of a private company while securing profits for state use. The dual involvement of state and private interests effectively balances productive capacity and social welfare, a healthy approach to achieving the national prosperity that is too often absent in South America. Although it may be unnecessary in the long run, a strong central government is viewed by many political scientists as being necessary for Bolivia at the present time in order to deconstruct the racial and cultural barriers which have divided society over the decades. In this regard, Morales is attempting to mediate between several competing groups so as to create a unified Bolivia. It is clear that the overall success of Bolivia takes precedence over the benefits to any particular party, regardless of its respective affiliation. As he explained during the nationalization of a processing plant formerly owned by Glencore International AG, a Swiss mining company, "Companies that respect Bolivian laws that do not steal money from the Bolivian people, will be respected. But if the companies do not respect the laws, I have no other alternative than to recover those companies" ("Bolivia to Nationalize Mineral Plant," Associated Press, February 8, 2007).

The Moon Rises in Bolivia

Morales' reforms, however, have faced stiff opposition. Indeed, the constituency of his popular movement is fiercely opposed by the far more affluent mestizo minority, as the redistribution of wealth and resources threatens the power maintained by this elite class. The country's so called "Half Moon," where most of the opposition forces are based, is made up of the four previously mentioned hydrocarbon-producing departments situated along Bolivia's eastern border. These departments particularly have taken issue with the aforementioned redistribution of wealth, claiming that the earnings from natural gas production, for example, should stay in the region where the resource was found.

The big political debate, then, revolves around who should have first draw on the profits from the sale of natural resources. The current hydrocarbons tax (Impuesto Directo a los Hidrocarburos), drafted in 2005, divides 12.5 percent of hydrocarbon tax revenues between the four aforementioned producing departments; 6.25 percent goes to each of the five non-producing departments; and 56.25 percent goes to the national government. Having the majority of profits going to the national government seems to be the most appropriate policy in a country sharply divided since Spanish colonial times along ethnic, economic, and political boundaries because it allows the government to address these problems with a unified approach. Indeed, critics of Bolivia's current situation insist that a strong, transparent and democratic central government is needed to achieve meaningful reform. Morales' administration has thus far filled this role surprisingly well, given the obstacles it has had to face and the tenacity of his political foes.

The Vote for Autonomy

Leading the opposition to Morales is Ruben Costas, the prefect of Bolivia's largest and wealthiest department, Santa Cruz. Costas spearheaded a referendum, held on May 4, 2008, calling for increased regional autonomy and voiding some of Morales' reforms to prevent Santa Cruz's copious wealth from being redistributed to the entire nation. Key provisions of the entirely illegal referendum on autonomy, which Costas' side overwhelmingly won, reserves Santa Cruz the right to negotiate its own contracts with foreign oil companies and gives it control over the possession, distribution, and administration of its own land holdings. According to Bolivian federal authorities, Morales is in favor of granting some autonomy to both departments and indigenous communities, however only if this condition is pursued through a legal constitutional framework and will preserve the integrity of the nation. The May referendum in Santa Cruz clearly did not meet this criterion.

Nevertheless, pro-autonomy forces received more than 80 percent of the vote in all of the autonomy-seeking departments. Santa Cruz's results were replicated on June 1 in the smaller departments of Pando and Beni and on June 22 in Tarija. However, the legitimacy of the Tarija vote deserves even greater scrutiny than the others. There, the department prefect, Mario Cossío, refused to recognize a similarly illegal vote organized by his opposition on June 15 that selected a sub-prefect and departmental councilor. Cossío's critics claim that his position, clearly guided by politics and not the law, further undermine the results of Tarija's autonomy referendum.

A Growing Problem

The Tarija case is characteristic of the situation being played out on a national scale. Competing political groups are attacking each other through illegal means and neither side is willing to negotiate with its respective opposition. If these counterproductive methods continue, with neither side conceding to the other, it could trigger the political disaster that has thus far been avoided. Secession was once merely a threat used by the Half Moon departments to bring attention to their cause, but it is once again gaining steam in various forms. In Tarija, for example, residents of the Gran Chaco region have expressed interest in splitting from their current department and forming a new one. The proposed "Chaco" department, which would be the nation's 10th such political division, is indicative of the multitude of political alliances currently at play in Bolivia.

"MASismo has failed," said the conservative Costas, in reference to Morales' political party, "We have set out on a road towards a new republic and modern state that will be forged in the four autonomous provinces, until this becomes the most decentralized country in Latin America" (Franz Chávez, "Referendum Gives Major Boost to Autonomy Movement," IPS). The primary point of contention between Costas and Morales is the question of to whom autonomy should be granted. Morales wants to recognize regional, departmental, and indigenous groups in a mixed political system comparable to his diverse economic model. Meanwhile, Costas is trying to divide the country strictly along political and geographic boundaries without granting indigenous groups any special powers, a concession which he opposes because it would undermine his administrative capabilities as well as those of nation's other prefects. Although Costas is essentially proposing a federalist society, he is careful to avoid the term because of the negative connotations it produces in Bolivia, namely its association with the Federal War of 1899, in which mestizo elites first allied with and then betrayed native Aymara indigenous groups.

The Legal System: A Political Reality Check

Regardless of their successes, the aforementioned referendums were blatantly illegal. Two months before the Santa Cruz vote, the Bolivian National Electoral Court (CNE), the nation's highest governing authority with plenary jurisdiction over elections, declared the then planned referendums unconstitutional. Admittedly, the CNE is loaded with Morales' supporters -- including its president, José Exeni -- but the ruling was also backed by the Bolivian Congress and other institutional bodies. Several international organizations have also sided with the government; the OAS and the EU both chose not to send electoral monitors to oversee the referendums due to their illegality, representing a strong show of support for the CNE decision. Furthermore, the results of the referendums also have been rejected by the newly formed South American Union, UNASUR. Up to now, the U.S. has encouraged dialogue between the involved parties, but has otherwise remained mum on the issue.

MAS, using some creative mathematics, has nonetheless claimed victory in the referendums, citing a 38 percent abstention rate in Santa Cruz, 46.5 percent in Pando, 34 percent in Beni, and 35 percent in Tarija, according to the Latin Daily News. When these numbers are combined with those who voted "no" to autonomy, it can be established that the referendums have been rejected by 52 percent, 56 percent, 40 percent, and 55 percent, respectively, in terms of the absolute percentage of the electorate. In addition, MAS has brought attention to numerous omissions on voter registration lists and other irregularities designed to assist the opposition in its illegal bid for autonomy.

It is interesting to note that Costas, Cossío, and Bolivia's other prefects were elected by popular vote, and not selected by the president as is stipulated by law. Thus, Morales could demand the resignation of the leadership of this regional opposition, but according to Dr. Martin Mendoza, a Cambridge political science professor, this would be far too controversial a step to take during these tumultuous times. Such an action could ignite the political tension into outright violence. At least one person died during the Santa Cruz referendum and many were injured there as well as in Pando and Beni during skirmishes instigated by the anti-Morales, ultra rightwing Youth League (to which the two accused in the assassination attempt belong). Instead of exercising his constitutional power to preserve his presidency, Morales has opted to leave this decision up to the people through a new referendum.

An Uncertain Future

Responding to the opposition, Morales has called for another referendum aimed at gauging national confidence in the President and all of the prefects. According to this template, the contested leaders must be affirmed by at least the percentage they received when voted into office. If not, their positions will be vacated and new elections will be held. This "confidence vote" -- which is legally sanctioned -- is scheduled for August 10th. Some experts, including Juan Carlos Hidalgo of the Cato Institute, have claimed that the recall vote is a ploy by the opposition to delay a vote on the new constitution. Indeed, Bolivian law stipulates that only one national referendum can be held in any given year, so the August 10 vote will push back a vote on the constitution until at least 2009.

However this move by the opposition could very well backfire. Many of the opposition prefects are no longer confident that they will survive the recall vote and have thus joined forces under the Conalde (national democratic council) to voice their disagreement. On June 23, the prefects from the four aforementioned departments, along with Manfred Reyes Villa from Cochabamba, publicly rejected the upcoming referendum. None of these prefects were elected by a clear majority and their newfound hostility to the legally-sanctioned referendum is a telling sign that they fear dismissal by their constituencies in August. Instead they have called for the renewal of "national dialogue," which although necessary to quell the worsening political turmoil, is in this case guided by self-serving interests and for that reason serves only to confound the problem.

Meanwhile, in a recent opinion poll, 55 percent of respondents approved of the president, a slight increase from April. For this reason, it is widely believed Morales will win the upcoming vote. He was elected by 53.74% of voters in 2005, an unprecedented victory in Bolivian politics, so it is unlikely that he will be ousted in August. What matters, then, is the margin by which Morales wins. A clear victory will further legitimize his government, strengthen the MAS party, and expedite the referendum ballot needed to approve the new constitution. A narrow victory, however, may serve to unify the somewhat divided opposition and give it new leverage against Morales. Even if he loses, there is no constitutional mandate to legitimize the ouster of the president in such circumstances, so Morales will likely be able to stall the impact of any vote until the next scheduled elections in January 2011, at which time it may no longer be relevant.

Chris Sweeney is a Research Associate for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. This analysis was published on the COHA Web site on 24 June 2008. It is reproduced here for educational purposes.

The Rise of Food Fascism: Allied to Global Agribusiness, Agrarian Elite Foments Coup in Bolivia

Roger Burbach

Like many third world countries Bolivia is experiencing food shortages and rising food prices attributable to a global food marketing system driven by multinational agribusiness corporations. With sixty percent of the Bolivian population living in poverty and thirty-three percent in extreme poverty, the price of the basic food canasta--including wheat, rice, corn, soy oil and potatoes, as well as meat—has risen twenty-five percent over the past year with prices gyrating wildly in the local markets.

As in most other countries affected by the food crisis, the overall rise in food prices is attributable to the workings of the free market—when the price of one or several commodities goes up, the consumers turn to other food stuffs, thereby driving up these prices as well. In an effort to halt the effects of this unregulated market, the government has enacted price controls and even prohibited the export of beef, most of which is produced on haciendas. But these measures have been largely ineffective: A black market flourishes as agrarian commercial interests openly flaunt the central government’s price controls, even directly exporting commodities like beef and cooking oil at higher prices to the neighboring countries of Chile and Peru.

This is taking place as Bolivia’s first Indian president, Evo Morales, is facing a sustained challenge by a right wing movement for autonomy that is integrally linked to the very agribusiness corporations that are profiting from the upsurge in food prices. Based in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, a powerful agrarian bourgeoisie is determined to upend the government’s agrarian reform program and to halt Morales’ efforts to more equitably distribute the wealth that flows from Bolivia’s oil and gas fields. Its ultimate goal is to topple Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) that backs him.

The corporate dominated agro-industrial complex in Santa Cruz is centered on the growing, processing and export of soy beans. Two of the world’s largest agribusiness multinationals, ADM and Cargill, play a major role in the regional economy. They are primarily exporters of Bolivian soybeans and sunflower seeds while ADM co-owns with a Bolivian firm the largest vegetable oil processing plant, Sociedad Aceitera del Oriente. (1) Giant agribusiness corporations like John Deere have commercial outlets in Santa Cruz as Bolivia manufactures no heavy agricultural machinery. Multinational companies supply most of Bolivia’s agrichemicals, while Monsanto and Calgene are promoting genetically modified seeds. Peruvian and Colombian agribusiness interests have also set up processing plants in Santa Cruz, including the Romero Company from Peru which has joint international operations with Cargill, while large soy growers from the neighboring Brazilian state of Mato Grosso have settled on Bolivian lands.

The agrarian bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz is orchestrating the movement for provincial autonomy in order to seize control of the region’s extensive resources from the national government. The referendum on autonomy that was unconstitutionally voted on and approved in Santa Cruz on May 4, 2008 would allow the provincial administration to write its own contracts with multinationals and to exercise direct control over the police and law enforcement agencies. Autonomy would also enable the province to override national legislation promoted by Morales and MAS on agrarian reform and the control of public forests and subsoil rights, including natural gas and oil.

The economic policies favoring the rise and consolidation of the agrarian bourgeoisie allied to global agribusiness took shape in the mid-1980s when the International Monetary Fund stepped in with a structural adjustment program. Hyper-inflation had gripped the country from 1983-85 and in exchange for the refinancing of Bolivia’s public and international debt the government agreed to a series of “market reforms,” including the reduction of tariffs and the slashing of state subsidies and assistance for the growing of basic food commodities. (2)

These measures overturned the strong role the state had come to play in the economy with the Bolivian revolution of 1952. Along with the nationalization of the tin mines, the worker and peasant backed revolution led to an agrarian reform that broke up the hacienda system in the Andean highlands which had bound much of the Indian population to the land in virtual servitude. With the takeover of the large estates by peasants, rural unions and Indian communities, the production and marketing of basic food stuffs increased, particularly in the 1950s and early 60s. (3)

But another agrarian dynamic began to take shape in the eastern part of the country during these years. Bolivia has three main geographical zones; the Andean highlands or plateau in the west where the agrarian reform was concentrated; the valleys located more in the center and to the south; and the plains or low lands that extend into the more humid and tropical regions in the east.

In the 1960s and 70s, a new landed class emerged in the low lands centered in the province of Santa Cruz. Seizing control of large swaths of the plains and rain forests, often illegally or through government concessions acquired through bribes, the new landed barons raised sugar cane and cotton while plundering the rain forests for lumber. The reactionary character of this region was manifested early on when General Hugo Banzer from Santa Cruz overthrew a leftist general backed by a popular assembly in 1971, ruling the country with an iron hand for seven years, much like the military regimes in other countries in the Southern cone that took power in the 1970s. (4)

The IMF reforms of 1985 privileged the role of Santa Cruz vis-à-vis other parts of the country. With the privatization and closure of many of the state tin mines in the Andean highlands, tens of thousands of miners were thrown out of work. Many migrated to the Chapare region in the south-central part of the country, becoming coca farmers, while others went to the east to squat on small patches of land and serve as an agrarian labor force for the large estates that were favored with credits and infrastructure loans backed by the World Bank. Then in the 1990s vast tracts of land were turned over to the cultivation of soybeans and by the turn of the century Bolivia’s export revenue from soy production was second in importance only to that of the natural gas and oil fields.

The rise of this agribusiness complex has plundered the natural resources of eastern Bolivia. As the frontier for soybeans advances further into the rainforests, the older depleted lands are either abandoned or turned into extensive cattle grazing pastures. Given the highly mechanized nature of soy farming, there are few employment opportunities in the countryside for either the local indigenous population or for those who migrate from the Andes searching for work. As Miguel Urioste, the director of the Land Foundation in La Paz explains: “This mono export model—promoted actively by the World Bank for 15 years—is a lamentable demonstration of how, those that decide public policies…in the third world, do not take into account the enormous environmental costs or the lamentable economic and political effects produced by this model. The monocultivation of soy has concentrated land in a few hands, it has transnationalized property rights, it has impeded new humanely planned settlements and concentrated thousands of poor peasants without lands to generate wealth, employment and well being.” (5)

While Bolivia ranks among the world’s ten top soy exporters, the production of domestic food stuffs by the peasantry has stagnated or declined and the urban population has come to rely more and more on imported grains. Today Bolivia imports sixty-nine percent of its wheat, forty-five percent of its rice, and forty-two percent of its corn. (6) In 2004, even the World Bank was compelled to admit: 'the rural economy is increasingly polarised between the small peasant sector producing foodstuffs, on the one hand, and the agro-enterprise sector producing cash crops for export, on the other’. (7)

The Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, a business organization lead by agribusiness interests, is at the center of the drive for provincial autonomy. According to Bret Gustafson, an analyst of the Santa Cruz elite and its political and cultural institutions: “The Civic Committee is an unelected entity dominated by business and agro-industrial elites who have a long history of resisting control of, and demanding subsidization by, the central government. Typical business members include the private chamber of commerce, the cattlemen, the agro-livestock chamber, the industrialists, the forestry chamber, the soy-producers chamber, and professional organizations (doctors, lawyers, architects). Other “civic”members include representatives of provincial civic committees, of carnival comparsas, and of social clubs or “fraternities.” (8)

Branko Marinkovic, the powerful head of the Civic Committee whose parents migrated to Bolivia from Croatia in the 1950s, is the largest landowner in the country with 300,000 hectares, much of it obtained for pennies or fraudulent maneuvers under past dictatorial and oligarchic governments. (9) He also has considerable business investments, including IOL S.A., one of Bolivia’s largest soy and sunflower processing plants. A political ideologue of the autonomy movement, Marinkovic funds and sits on the board of the think tank Fundacion Libertad y Democracia that has ties to the Heritage and Cato Foundations. (10)

The Cruceño Youth Union (UJC), a junior men’s organization affiliated with the Civic Committee, is the strong arm of the Civic Committee, often acting as shock troops for the autonomy movement. During the plebiscite in May its members, mainly in their teens and early twenties, roamed the streets of the city of Santa Cruz and surrounding towns violently attacking and repressing any opposition to the referendum by local indigenous movements and MAS-allied forces. Not wanting to provoke a violent confrontation, Evo Morales did not deploy the army or use the local police, leaving the urban areas under the effective control of the UJC when the voting took place.

The other less densely inhabited provinces in the east that make up what is called the Media Luna—Pando, Beni and Tarija--have held referendums calling for autonomy under similar conditions. On the national level, the major political party of the right, Podemos (We Can) tied up the efforts of a popularly elected Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution for over a year and it is now maneuvering with other political forces in La Paz to block a national referendum to enact the constitution.

Simultaneously, the right wing lead by the Civic Committee is sewing economic instability, seeking to destabilize the Morales government much like the CIA-backed opposition did in Chile against Salvador Allende in the early 1970s. As in Chile the business elites and allied truckers engage in “strikes,” withholding or refusing to ship produce to the urban markets while selling commodities in the black market at high prices that cause alarm among the poor. The national Confederation of Private Businesses of Bolivia is calling for a national producers’ shutdown if the government “does not change its economic policies.” (11)

The social movements allied with the government are mobilizing against the right wing. In the Media Luna a union coalition of indigenous peoples and peasants has campaigned against voting in the autonomy referendums and taken on the bands of the UJC as they try to intimidate and terrorize people. In the Andean highlands, the social movements have descended on La Paz in demonstrations backing the government, including a large mobilization on June 10 that stormed the American embassy because of its support for the right wing, particularly over the US refusal to extradite a past president who ordered the shooting of demonstrators in the streets in 2003. Because of this growing unrest, the country is awash with rumors of a coup, and Morales went to a summit in Caracas in mid-June with Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Carlos Lage, vice president of Cuba, to discuss how to defend his government.

The ability of the agrarian interests of Bolivia to take the country to the brink of civil war is reflective of the powerful agrarian bourgeoisies that have arisen in many countries of the third world in tandem with global agribusiness. When national governments attempt to control the steep increase in food prices, or popular movements agitate for agrarian reform and food sovereignty, they encounter powerful internal agro-industrial interests, in effect a fifth column nurtured and developed by the multinational corporations in conjunction with the World Bank and the IMF.

This new configuration of power is particularly manifest in South America. In Argentina when President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner tried to levy an export tax on soybeans, the large growers orchestrated a rebellion that has tied up the country’s exports and food marketing system for over three months. In neighboring Brazil, the agrarian bourgeoisie is perhaps the strongest and most entrenched in the Global South. Over the years it has fought a running war with the Landless Movement, violently repressing the efforts of the poor to peacefully occupy and till idle lands. In October last year at the genetically modified seed experimental station of Syngenta (the world’s largest agrichemical corporation) five peaceful demonstrators were shot and one killed: The NT Security company that carried out the attack has close ties to the Rural Society, a right wing growers association known for repeated acts of violence against the Landless Movement. (12)

Some argue that that we are witnessing the rise of “petro-fascism” as multinational corporations and nation states struggle for control of the life-blood of the global economy. (13) Now with the efforts of the multinational agribusiness corporations and the agrarian bourgeoisies to control the very sustenance of human life we may be facing an even more violent period of repression, conflict and upheaval.

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) based in Berkeley, CA. He has written extensively on Latin America and US foreign policy. His first book, co-authored with Patricia Flynn, was “Agribusiness in the Americas.” See for CENSA activities and publications.

Special thanks to Isabella Kenfield for her editorial assistance.

End Notes

1. Ximena Soruco (Coordinador) Wilfredo Plata and Gustavo Medeiros, Los Barones del Oriente: El Poder en Santa Cruz Ayer y Hoy, Fundacion Tierra, Observatorio de la Revolución Agraria en Bolivia, La Paz, Bolivia, pp. 206-12.

2. For a description of how the IMF and the World Bank imposed these structural adjustment programs on other countries in the Global South, see Walden Bello, “Manufacturing a Food Crisis,” The Nation, June 2, 2008.

3. Cristóbal Kay and Miguel Urioste, “Bolivia's Unfinished Agrarian Reform: Rural Poverty and Development Policies, ISS/UNDP Land, Poverty and Public Action, Policy Paper No. 3, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands and United Nations Development Program, New York, NY, October, 2005, p. 11-13.

4. Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson, Revolutionary Horizons: Popular Struggle in Bolivia, Verso Press, London, 2007, pp. 85-6.

5. Miguel Urioste, “El Banco Mundial Promovio los Moncultivos en Bolivia Durante 15 Anos, Fundacion Tierra, May, 2008,…

6. Marcos Nordren Ballivian, “El Precio de los Alimientos,” Foros del Banco Tematico, June 11, 2008.

7. Kay and Urisote, p. 15.

8. Bret Gustafson, “Spectacles of Autonomy and Crisis: Or, What Bulls and Beauty Queens have to do with Regionalism in Eastern Bolivia,” Journal of Latin American Anthropology, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2006, p. 363.

9. BolPress, “Movilización para Aplastar la Conspiración Oligárquico-Imperialista en Bolivia,” Unidad de Promoción Indigena y Campesina, Boletin N. 45, 20 de Mayo, 2008,

10. Bret Gustafson, “By Means Legal and Otherwise: The Bolivian Right Regroups,” NACLA Report on the Americas, January/February, 2008, p. 25.

11. La Prensa, “La CEPB Amenaza con Paro y el Gobierno Percibe Complot,” La Paz, June 21, 2008.

12. Isabella Kenfeld and Roger Burbach, “Corporate Murder in Brazil: Landless Rural Worker Shot by Security Company Hired by Multinational Syngenta,” Strategic Studies, Global Alternatives, October, 2007.

13. See Michael T. Klare, “Behold the Rise of Energy-Based Fascism,”, January 20, 2007,
Posted by Bolivia Rising on Monday, June 30, 2008