For the moment, though, let's move further south, to Bolivia, where the economic elite, perhaps a little miffed that an indigenous man had the nerve to assume the presidency of that country (long controlled by a tiny economic elite of European descent, to the detriment of its indigenous majority) in 2005, have attempted an illegal quasi-secession of the Santa Cruz province, which is a gas-rich economic powerhouse of the country. The president, Evo Morales, has had the temerity to suggest that the distribution of wealth in that country might be fairer, especially for poor indigenous folk who've borne the brunt of labor since the Spanish conquest. But the rich white folks who control a third of Bolivia's economy feel different:
"We in this region are positive about the conquest," said Luis Nunez, the [Santa Cruz Civic Committee]'s vice president. "We do not in any way resent what that history meant for us. It reflects who we are now."A sentiment worthy of David Duke. Yesterday's vote (which was boycotted by 40 percent of eligible voters) seems to be a victory for the secessionists, but it remains to be seen whether a) the central government will allow autonomy for the province, and b) whether Bolivia's trade partners in Brazil and Argentina will conduct business with the rogue province. Both countries are governed by heads of state who sympathize ideologically with Morales, and are unlikely to cut Bolivia's central government out of any trade deals. Also waiting in the wings are three other provinces that are eying the success of Santa Cruz's autonomy movement, with possible referendums of their own in the coming weeks.
Sounds like a good time to head down south!