Bolivia's government out of touch with largest province

NY Times:

Street clashes broke out here and in small towns in the surrounding countryside on Sunday as Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest province and a bastion of separatist groups, held a referendum on measures that would give it greater autonomy from the government of President Evo Morales.

Still, voting unfolded without hindrance at most polling places even as Mr. Morales denounced the vote as illegal and some of his supporters laid siege to voting stations in isolated attacks. Dozens of people were injured in the scattered clashes, according to radio reports, including one demonstrator hit by a dynamite blast in the town of Montero.

At least one death was reported, an elderly man affected by tear gas that was fired at protesters in Plan Tres Mil, a sprawling slum here in the provincial capital. As polling stations closed, hundreds of pro- and anti-autonomy youths wielding sticks ran through the slum as the riot police, ordered to refrain from battling the protesters, stood idle.

Even before official results were announced, provincial officials declared victory to thousands of supporters here on Sunday night.

The vote deepens the rift between Mr. Morales’s vision for Bolivia, in which the country’s wealth in natural resources would be used to improve the lives of its impoverished Indians, and that of Santa Cruz, a prosperous, ethnically diverse province where many of those resources are found.

“We do not want the creation of another republic,” said Carlos Pablo Klinsky, a provincial lawmaker who helped draft the statute. “But we do want control over our own destiny and our own resources.”

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Morales is more interested in the Chavez-Castro control freak model of government. He also has a touch of Mugabe in him to, taking from the productive members of society and giving to the non productive. He too, can turn his country into a basket case economy. He is way too invested in trying to pull communism from the ash heap of history so that he can prove again that it does not work.

I think it is likely that he will chase most of the productive members of Bolivia out of the country and plunder their wealth giving it to those who have not earned it. It is a dumb idea but Castro and Chavez have shown the way to failure. The foreign investors will also leave and the poor of Bolivia will become even poorer.

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