Hostilities flair in Bolivia
The situation in Bolivia is still tense as opposition forces squared off against the government in the face of sweeping reforms.
Hostilities have escalated over the past week to the point where Bolivian President Evo Morales declared martial law Friday in the Pando province.
The BBC reports that the recent outbursts were sparked by ‚Äúplans by President Morales to re-distribute the country's wealth and give a greater voice to the large indigenous community.‚Ä?
In response to this plan, the opposition instituted road blocks throughout the country and violence flared up, especially in Pando.
The opposition to Morales stems predominantly from Bolivia's four resource rich lowland provinces. The Star Tribune reports that ‚Äúthe provinces are seeking greater autonomy from Morales' leftist government.‚Ä? They hope to force Morales to cancel the December referendum that would help him centralize power and empower Bolivia's poor, indigenous majority.
The Star Tribune reports Bolivian Interior Minister Alfredo Rada estimated the death toll in Pando at around 30 people.
The Bolivian government is seeking the arrest of the Pando provincial Gov. Leopoldo Fernandez, who is accused of organizing an attack on pro-government peasants.
The BBC reports that ‚ÄúFernandez has denied having anything to do with the deaths, insisting they were the result of clashes between rival groups.‚Ä?
In hopes of bringing the situation to a peaceful and diplomatic end, the Union of South American Nations is holding an emergency summit in Chile Monday.
Morales is hoping to bring about an end to the violence without having to change his plans for the referendum.