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Enforced Democracy: the Bolivian referendum

After a long day of tension, rumors, and ocasional provocations, Bolivian polling stations have closed and the counting of votes is underway. But the results are already known. Regardless of whether the "yes" vote or the "no" vote wins, Bolivia's most valuable natural resource - natural gas - will remain in the hands of the transnationals.

Bolivia, South America's poorest country, has long had its wealth plundered by foreigners. First, it was the realization by the Spanish in the sixteenth century that a small hill in the southeast of the country was comprised almost entirely of silver. For two centuries, the wealth extracted from Cerro Rico in Potosí was, according to Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, "the primary nourishment of the capitalist development of Europe." Next it was saltpeter, desperately needed as fertilizer for exhausted European soil, and plundered by the English. Then during the second world war, Bolivia's tin was mined and sold at approximately ten times less the market price, leading to massive strikes, and massacres of the workers, who were only demanding to be paid a living wage. Now, the world wants Bolivia's gas - the second largest reserves in Latin America. But Bolivians are sick of watching the wealth of their nation stolen from underneath their feet. [ Read More ]
[ WeAreEverywhere.org ] [ Bolivia Video Screening in Portland, Tuesday July 20 ]