I wasn’t necessarily expecting approval, Telegraph, I mean, I know you better than that. A bit of distortion, a bit of pro-right wing slant, I thought I could handle it. But when you start out with an article that gets it mostly right, even with a hint of sympathy, it makes it all the more jarring when you drop three clangers in a row. You’ve disappointed me. In several places. I don’t feel I have much option but to point them out. I don’t want us to have to have this talk again, alright?
(The constitution) proposes limiting land holding 12,400 acres, effectively stripping several eastern property barons of their main source of agricultural wealth.
There is a new limit to the size of landholdings. Correct. It is not retroactive. This was a huge concession to the opposition, made in order to get them to come to the dialogue table. Nobody is going to be stripped of the source of their agricultural wealth if they’ve already got it and if they’re not using indentured or forced labour to farm their lands. So steer clear of the human rights abuses, and you can keep your humiiilde terrenito of a mere 25,000 hectares. Nobody is going to touch it. Clear?
Thirty-six indigenous towns and groups would win the right to territory, language and “community” justice under the new basic law.
As may be inferred from the previous point, no-one is going to be confiscating much territory and handing it over to indigenous groups any time soon, so I don’t know what the ‘right to territory’ specifically refers to. But hey, who needs to refer to actual changes in the law when you can make a nice sweeping generalisation? Like saying a group has ‘a right to language’. Sounds nice. And I get it, I mean, I do, I’m really familiar with the pressures that cause indigenous people to stop speaking their language, but I don’t think this is really a constitional change per se. I’ll read the text more thoroughly and get back to you on that, though. I’m pretty sure the previous constitution had some rather unmistakable things to say about indigenous peoples’ right to speak their own language. What it didn’t have and this one does, was a requirement that civil servants and schoolteachers have a grasp of at least one native language. It was always an asymmetry in the bilingual education reforms that indigenous children were expected to be educated in Spanish and their own language, whereas kids in the city never had to learn any language but Spanish.
Now, for extra points, here’s the howling error:
It would also scrap the single-term limit for the president, allowing Mr Morales to stand for re-election. He has proposed early legislative and presidential polls in Dec if the new referendum passes.
Remember what I was saying not ten hours ago about attempts to play dog-whistle alarmist politics by mentioning term limits? The article already tells us sternly that (t)he opposition…fear that Mr Morales’ march towards a socialist state is taking their nation into the orbit of Venezuela’s fervently anti-US president, Hugo Chavez, and further away from economic efficiency, so that’s the obligatory Chavez mention out the way. Leaving Evo’s relationship with the Venezuelan loudmouth aside, what is this nonsense about abolishing a single-term limit? Telegraph, there is no single-term limit. You can run for president of Bolivia as many times as you want (just ask Manfred Reyes Villa), so long as you do it discontinuously – no consecutive terms. The new constitution, by restoring the pre-1994 two-term rule, is actually limiting how long the president can stay in office. For now 😉