So a friend who works in the City told me the other evening, anyway. Which means I shouldn’t have been quite so astonished at the Financial Times coverage of the referendum, which is both balanced and informative. (The coverage in the Morning Star, we’ve already established, is top-notch (-; )
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s popular leftwing president, has claimed his second big electoral victory in six months with the endorsement of a new constitution that he promised will pave the way for true equality for the country’s indigenous majority.
Initial results show 60 per cent of Bolivians voted in favour of the new charter, which puts a cap on the size of landholdings, extends state control over resources such as natural gas, removes Roman Catholicism as the state religion and introduces community justice and the election of judges.
Well, it’s almost 62% actually, but who’s splitting hairs? (Oh, right. Me.)
It even covers the distintegration of the existing opposition, in a cloud of arrests, foam-mouthed racism and recriminations. Sharp! The FT is the first foreign newspaper I’ve seen to acknowledge the fault lines in the opposition, never mind the wave of arrests and criminal prosecutions that followed the violent uprisings and attempted coup d’etat in September. But oh ho ho, what’s this we read?
Carlos Mesa, former Bolivian president, has pledged to form a new party to contest the elections.
“The radicalised opposition in Santa Cruz played to regionalism and racism,” he said. “Now with presidential elections in December we’re going to have a lot of people trying to figure out how to form a national opposition that can go after a piece of Morales’ base . . . they are likely to fall somewhere between Podemos and Morales [on the political spectrum].”
For which one might be tempted to read, ‘Carlos Mesa, respected historian and journalist but, let’s be honest, less than adequate at the Presidency when it was thrust into his hands, fancies another crack at power because he thinks he might be able to get it right this time’. One might be tempted. If one were uncharitably inclined.
Or one might be tempted to read more into it and start sniffing out the beginnings of the USA trying to establish
an economic stranglehold a toehold in Bolivian government once more. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions…