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The Distribution of Bolivia’s Most Important Natural Resources and the Autonomy Conflicts

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August 5, 2008

The Distribution of Bolivia’s Most Important Natural Resources and the Autonomy Conflicts

On August 10, Bolivian voters will participate in recall referenda that will determine whether the president, vice-president, and governors of Bolivia’s states will continue to serve in office. While polls suggest easy victories for President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera, some regional governors in the Eastern lowland states may face rejection. A number of Eastern lowland states, meanwhile, have recently held referenda on new “autonomy” measures, despite rulings from the electoral court declaring these votes to be illegal.

What role does the distribution of land and natural gas – Bolivia’s most important resources – play in the “autonomy” movements’ opposition to the Bolivian government’s policies?

The Center for Economic and Policy Research hosted a panel discussion that examined these questions and their centrality to Bolivia's political divide.

The Distribution of Bolivia’s Most Important Natural Resources and the Autonomy Conflicts

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 8:45am

SEIU Conference Room
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(Map) (Metro)

On August 10, Bolivian voters will participate in recall referenda that will determine whether the president, vice-president, and governors of Bolivia’s states will continue to serve in office. While polls suggest easy victories for President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera, some regional governors in the Eastern lowland states may face rejection.

The Bolivian government has taken control over the natural gas sector, and begun to distribute revenues to a greater sector of the population, including a pension program for workers in the informal economy. A number of Eastern lowland states, meanwhile, have recently held referenda on new “autonomy” measures, despite rulings from the electoral court declaring these votes to be illegal. Among new powers being sought by the Eastern lowland states are greater control over hydrocarbons resources, taxation, and land holdings.

What role does the distribution of land and natural gas – Bolivia’s most important resources – play in the “autonomy” movements’ opposition to the Bolivian government’s policies? A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines these questions and their centrality to Bolivia's political divide.

Presenting

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and lead author of the new paper, “The Distribution of Bolivia’s Most Important Natural Resources and the Autonomy Conflicts.”

Discussants

Hernando Larrazábal, Inter-American Development Bank Executive Director for Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay

Doug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite University

With an introduction by

His Excellency, Ambassador Mario Gustavo Guzmán Saldaña, of the Republic of Bolivia

Comments will be in English and Spanish. Translation will be provided.