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Diversity has failed in Bolivia. News Team

Zimbabwe style “Land Reforms” by the government of Bolivia are pushing Bolivia to the brink of breaking up.

The government of Bolivia was taking over by Bolivia’s two Indigenous tribal groups, who make up about two thirds of the countries population. Essentially, “Land Reform” means large seizures of white owned farm land to redistribute to government supporters. The same policy has been carried out in several African countries, most notably Zimbabwe, and has led to widespread starvation in every case.


Both the autonomy and land-reform issues have sparked violent unrest over the past year, pitting the largely white farmers and ranchers of Bolivia’s more affluent lowland east against the impoverished indigenous majority who back Morales, himself an Aymara Indian and the nation’s first indigenous President. Little surprise, then, that a national furor has erupted over a confrontation involving government officials and Larsen, 64, who along with his two sons, owns 17 properties totaling 141,000 acres throughout Bolivia, three times as much land as the country’s largest city. (Larsen insists his holdings amount to less than 25,000 acres.)

Autonomy is favored by more than the two-thirds of Santa Cruz voters needed to pass, according to polls, and Governor Ruben Costas, a staunch Morales opponent, said recently that it would “give birth to a new republic.” He has since denied that he implied a separatist movement for Santa Cruz or the other three eastern states: Beni, Pando and Tarija, which will hold similar votes this summer. But critics say the remark betrayed an underlying goal of the country’s eastern elite: gaining total control over Bolivia’s vast natural gas reserves and its most fertile land.

Conflict over land is also at the heart of the clash over a new draft constitution restricting an individual’s land holdings to just under 25,000 acres — a profound challenge to the ownership pattern in a country where 10% of the population controls more than 90% of arable land. “This is an extremely problematic proposal,” says Osinaga. “You impose those kinds of limits and watch how fast the economy crumbles and poverty grows.”

Under its current land reform program, the Morales government has already given landless Bolivians deeds to 25 million acres (10 million hectares). Some analysts suggest that staging the autonomy referendums is simply a political device to give the easterners greater leverage in pressing Morales to renegotiate constitutional changes. Others fear the rising tension points to that classic Western movie resolution: a violent showdown.

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