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Cablegate: Vp Shares His Views On Autonomy Movements

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TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON BL
SUBJECT: VP SHARES HIS VIEWS ON AUTONOMY MOVEMENTS


1. (SBU) Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera shared his
vision of Bolivia's autonomy movements as he inaugurated a
seminar titled "Departmental Autonomy and the Strengthening
of the Nation State" April 18. The vice president argued
that autonomy at its core is a mechanism for the distribution
of state power. Garcia Linera stated that he shared the idea
that autonomy can enrich and strengthen democracy by bringing
the state closer to the people through greater more direct
"participation by the people." He added that autonomy should
result in a better, more just distribution of power and
wealth and should prevent the continued concentration of the
state's economic resources in few hands.

2. (SBU) The vice president posited that there are "two
fronts" with different visions of autonomy; the departmental
movement headed by civic committees (concentrated in eastern
Bolivia) and the economic elite; and a cultural-linguistic
movement led by indigenous groups. The departmental
movement, Garcia Linera argued, is the economic elite's
reaction to a long process in which eastern departments
(especially Santa Cruz) have seen their political power
diminish. He added eastern Bolivia's real ambition is
national power. Per the vice president, the indigenous
movement is a response to the state's traditionally racist
policies. Garcia Linera then reflected on the long-standing
fragility of the state and the lack of a national identity
and vision. He then explained that despite their disparate
nature, Bolivia's various indigenous groups have a national
vision. The vice president supported this assertion by
stating that it was not the GOB, but the "historic lucidity"
and "communitarian demand" of Bolivia's indigenous groups
that led to the nationalization of hydrocarbons.
GOLDBERG

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