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My first diary. Bare with me, please.

Well, it happened. Evo Morales, the MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo)and Bolivia's indigenous population have taken gas laws, power and justice to the streets. Evo, following in the footsteps of his long-time political friend Hugo Chavez, has called upon Congress to vote on a referendum that would allow him to suspend the Bolivian Constitution in times of crisis.

After the somewhat recent events of the department of Santa Cruz's autonomous mandate"Referendum Revocatorio", citizens of La Paz, Santa Cruz and 7 other departments used street marches, blockades and demonstrations to have their voices heard. With over 80% of the vote, Santa Cruz and their prefect Rubén Costas declared themselves autonomous much to the disapproval of Evo Morales. With almost two weeks of curfew, and a striking resemblance to martial law, the "Cruceños" were for once allowed to legally oppose the policies of Evo Morales and his cabinet.

In retaliation, the Morales administration introduces the 'Referendum Revocatorio'. If Evo didn't win at least 56%of the vote (the amount he won to become Bolivia's first Native American president) he would officially resign from the presidency. Now, with him having won with almost 60%, things are looking tough for middle-class and upper-class Bolivians. Already Evo's opposition, including Jorge 'Tuto' Quiroga and Samuel Doria Medina, have spoken out against his cabinet calling upon diplomatic solutions.

He could win this next one, and already the violence has reached the suburbs. Members of the U.S. embassy and the State Department are being evacuated. By Wednesday, the State De[artment is hopeful that all those who work for the embassy be transported to Washington D.C., leaving certain people like Acting Mission Director of USAID, Peter Natiello and his deputy.

Philip Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has been asked to leave and at this point he has already left or is in the process. USAID Mission Director Mike Yates, currently working in Afghanistan, has been asked not to return to the country. Curfews in the department of Santa Cruz have angered the vast majority and they have called upon their friends in the autonomous movement, Pando, Beni, and Tarija. La Paz, Potosí, Oruro and Chuquisaca have spoken in favor of the administration while Cochabamba remains in dispute. The Cochabambinos are also in violent conflict. The Chapare region is a staunch supporter of Evo while the rest side with the western side of the country.

The question over when the violence will slowly grind to a halt remains. Already, fights have led to the deaths of at least 16 people. Evo's cabinet, waiting impatiently for the referendum has had a lot to say.

Originally posted to Izquierdista on Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 02:38 PM PDT.

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