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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Morales and Bolivia---

Bolivia's president Evo Morales is attempting to push through some reforms and ensure the presidency certain powers and authority that are both applauded and denounced by the Bolivian masses.

Since winning the presidential election by a margin of over 25% last year Morales has been reviewing promised changes for Bolivia and has discussed ways to effect those changes. Now he's ready to move from the research and development phase of his reforms to the next steps--- set up and implementation.

Morales, Bolivia's first indeginious president, promised to assign power and wealth to Bolivia's Indian majority. He has also suggested the country's new constitution eliminate the Senate which is controlled by the opposition, effectively removing the dissenting Senators from any government decision making processes.

Further, of the country's nine state governors only three support Morales. The remaining six have severed ties with him and his administration in angst and three regional assemblies have denounced his policies and declared states of emergency.

However, his popularity has been buoyed recently by an October 28th. agreement between major foreign oil companies and Bolivia that would give the government a majority of the company's oil revenues, part of Morales' nationalization decree.

Recently, the United States agreed to extend a key trade agreement and the Inter-American Development Bank has decided to forgive hundreds of millions of dollars of Bolivia's foreign debt.

Morales' political party, Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) is in complete control of the movement to write a new Bolivian constitution. Morales is calling upon Bolivian legislators to adopt a bill that would give him the authority to remove and replace state governors, his most vocal opponents at this time.

The party's majority in the lower house of Congress recently approved and forwarded a controversial land bill backed by Morales that allows the government to seize private land it deems unproductive for redistribution to the landless poor.

The opposition controlled Senate has yet to approve of both the land reform bill and the bill assigning the president authority to remove sitting governors. These will most likely face very stiff opposition in the coming months.

Morales is loved and hated almost equally within Bolivia. His opponents and supporters hold rallies and demonstrations throughout the country decrying or hailing Morales' suggested reforms and the new constitutional challenges.

According to comments from those in opposition and support alike his direction remains cloudy, not fully revealed.

From the opposition and some of those "in the middle" there is concern that Morales' proposed reforms mirror those of previous Bolivian leaders--- Those who tended to use strong arm tactics to rule the country.

Still, others are simply uncertain. They're uncertain what Morales truly wants for Bolivia.

Either way, his "revolution" is under way--- only time will tell.

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