2008 May 07 Wednesday
European Ethnics Want To Secede From Bolivia

Bolivia's wealthier white Spaniards vote to separate themselves from the darker Amerinds.

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia, May 4 -- Bolivia's wealthiest region voted Sunday to distance itself from the central government, directly defying President Evo Morales with a measure that aims to give local authorities more power over resources.

Morales had urged his supporters to ignore the referendum, but turnout was unofficially reported at 61 percent. Multiple exit polls suggested Sunday about 85 percent of Santa Cruz voters voted in favor of the proposal, but final results were not expected before Monday.

The measure directs Santa Cruz authorities -- mainly business leaders who detest Morales's socialist initiatives -- to take more control of locally produced tax revenue, police forces and property ownership administration.

The Santa Cruz voters would be better off if Bolivia split into two pieces.

On the second page of the article the Washington Post reporter mentions the racial split that is at the heart of this political conflict.

Like Morales, many of those protesters were born in the country's western highlands and claim Aymara or Quechua Indian ancestry. Many autonomy leaders, however, are of European descent.

The more economically productive Euroes do not want to get shafted by the Amerinds. Bummer for the Euro Bolivians. Being members of a more successful group can set you up for persecution unless you are the overwhelming majority.

But 62% of Bolivia's population are Amerinds and the whites are best understood as a market dominant minority as explained in Amy Chua's World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 May 07 11:04 PM  Politics Ethnicity

aaron said at May 9, 2008 9:39 AM:

In several articles, and it's mentioned briefly in this one, the lowland mezito demographic is also in the seperatist camp. If it was just whites for seperatism, they wouldn't have mustered the required majority. The lowland indians did not suffer nearly so much as the Inca (not to mention they weren't demographically protected by the altitude). It seems more like the real story is Quechua and Aymara supremacism.

bbartlog said at May 12, 2008 1:43 PM:

If the population split is really only 62/38 then I'm not so sure that the 'market dominent minority' model is the best in terms of predicting what will happen. The minority here is not a small one like (say) the Jews in Russia or the Chinese in the Philippines. The white population may be big enough that the majority Amerinds can't really keep them in check. Situation seems unstable.

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