Thursday, October 23, 2008

Historic Agreement and Jubilation

(digitalwarriormedia) On Jan. 25, 2009 a referendum vote will be held for Bolivia’s new constitution. The document represents many decades-long struggles by Bolivia’s marginalized indigenous majority. Arriving at this political moment has cost much in lives lost and compromises made.

The agreement is a victory for Morales and the Movement to Socialism party (MAS). However, the question remains as to what compromises MAS and Morales made with the opposition to get the laws passed.

The MAS party majority and the opposition amended 100 articles of the 411 articles in the new constitutional text. One of the most glaring political concessions was Morales’ agreement to only run for one additional five-year term. Previously MAS had sought unlimited opportunity for presidential re-election. If re-elected in December 2009, Morales would have to leave office in 2014. There were other negotiations made on the issues of autonomy, justice and the electoral system.

Initially the reaction from government supporters and the social organizations is one of historic accomplishment and jubilation. Many consider this a triumph over neoliberalism and European imperialism. There was a long period in Bolivia's history where indigenous people could not vote and were unable to enter the Plaza Murillo. This week tens of thousands gathered in a 23-hour vigil to demand that elected officials honor their constituents.

The Union of South American States (UNASUR), Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and United Nations have all congratulated the achievement of the Morales government on obtaining a political agreement.

The new constitution will maintain nationalization of the nation’s resources and grant rights and autonomous recognition to indigenous groups, renounce war, incorporate the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and extend social and cultural rights.

Three years and three days after Bolivia inaugurated its first indigenous president on a platform of political and social reform, the electorate will finally be able to cast their vote for a new Constitution.

Photos: ABI



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