[Bush appears to be doing what he can to create instability before the US elections. -jlt]
On Wednesday, opposition groups in Bolivia blew up part of a natural gas pipeline, vandalized government offices, and threatened to cut off natural gas exports to neighboring Brazil and Argentina. Evo Morales asked for the U.S. Ambassador to be expelled, claiming that he is linked to opposition violence.
The disturbances, which are being carried out by the Santa Cruz Civic Committee and the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista in conjunction with departmental governors and other opposition leaders, began last week in an attempt to force the Bolivian government to abandon its new pension for the elderly, in favor of more revenue going to opposition-controlled governments in Bolivia's Eastern lowlands. Opposition leaders are also demanding that the government cancel a scheduled referendum on a new constitution.
The protests come just weeks after President Evo Morales received an overwhelming and unprecedented level of support - 67% of the vote - in a national recall referendum. Support for Morales increased in almost all departments - including the so-called "opposition" ones, while two opposition governors lost their seats. In total, majorities voted to support Evo in 6 out of 9 departments, while a 7th - Tarija - was split almost 50/50.
The opposition movement seeks to maintain control over its disproportionately large land holdings and to increase its share of natural gas revenues, despite that the Eastern lowland states receive the lion's share of these revenues already.Recommend this Post