Bolivia’s Indigenous Majority Catches a Break
Bolivian President Evo Morales, himself an Aymara Indian, has won a referendum on a new constitution granting special privileges to Bolivia’s indigenous people. The electorate split along racial lines, with the country’s elite white and mixed-race minorities largely opposing the measure.
Quechua and Aymara Indians make up about 55 percent of Bolivia’s population. Morales won office promising to empower those people. He is a socialist, a close ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and the first indigenous person to lead his country.
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The new constitution gives autonomy to indigenous peoples and boosts state control of the economy, but is opposed by many of the traditional elite.
Many mixed-race people in the fertile eastern lowlands rejected the charter and four of Bolivia’s nine provinces had a majority no vote, according to the exit polls.
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