For Immediate Release
Morales Wins Referendum but Opposition Hits Back
Forrest Hylton Says It's a Mystery as to Why the Morales Government Holds Back on Use of Force Against Opponents
WASHINGTON - Tensions between the Morales government of Bolivia and autonomists continue while half-hearted fuel strikes come on the heels of a recall referendum called by the wealthy lowland provinces pushing for regional autonomy.
The Real News spoke to journalist and author Forrest Hylton from La Paz, Bolivia. "The basic issue comes down to who is going to get the money from the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources, and these autonomists want to make sure that they get the money, and they're going to carry out their completely illegal agenda, regardless of whether Evo wants to dialog with them or not."
Even though the Morales government won the referendum with a four per cent increase in votes, Hylton observes this victory as short sighted. "It's very, very curious to see such an overwhelming victory for the central government. Even in the bastions of right wing reaction, Morales did extremely well and yet, for reasons that are not clear to anybody, they seem unable to translate that mandate into effective power."
Opposition leader and governor of Santa Cruz, Ruben Costas, tried to confront the Morales government by taking over the police command, but didn't face any punishment by the central government and the police were prevented from responding. "The police are furious at Morales because Morales is holding them in check", says Hylton, "but for whatever reason, the government has proven very reluctant to employ the security forces at its disposal. And it must be stress --that with a mandate of 68 per cent, the government has a legitimate monopoly on the use of force, but for reasons that are mysterious to almost everybody he is afraid to use that monopoly of force."
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