Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Bolivian miners’ strike reflects growing divide

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 26, 2010

by Andres Schipani for Financial Times, August 26th, 2010.

At his inauguration at the pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku five years ago, Evo Morales donned a poncho, it was a moment of high symbolism: Bolivia’s first president of Indian descent has championed their rights ever since.

Five landslide elections have made Mr Morales, a leftwing former llama herder and coca farmer, one of Latin America’s most popular leaders and left the opposition fragmented.

Mr Morales and his Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) have a comfortable majority in Congress, enjoy the loyalty of the military and hold sway over the judiciary. The government expects 4.5 per cent gross domestic product growth this year.

But divisions among his traditional Indian supporters are surfacing. In the mining region of Potosi, traditionally one of Mr Morales’ bastions, residents, miners and peasants have been on strike and engaged in anti-government protests since late July. (continue reading… )

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