Bolivia fights back against imperialism

February 24, 2009

-Tim Bowron

On January 25 Bolivians voted by a large majority to approve a new constitution designed to give greater control over the country’s natural resources to the indigenous majority of the Andean nation.Evo Morales

The constitution, which was championed by Bolivian President Evo Morales (a former Aymara peasant activist and leader of the left nationalist Movimiento al Socialismo/MAS), was the culmination of nearly two decades of struggle by the indigenous majority to wrest back control of their lands from the blanco elites and their friends the foreign multinationals. During the 1990s Bolivia saw a succession of governments embark on an unprecedented campaign of privatisation including the full or partial sale of the state-owned oil, gas, electricity and telecommunications industries. In 2000 the then-President (and former military dictator) Hugo Banzer signed a contract with a consortium led by US company Bechtel to give it exclusive rights over the supply of water and sanitation services in the city of Cochabamba, with local residents forbidden from collecting their own water through rainwater tanks or other natural methods.

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