"El Si" passes by big margin
The deed is done. The die is cast. The Rubicon has been crossed.
The voters of the Department of Santa Cruz approved the referendum in favor of "autonomia" today (Sunday, May 4) by over 85 percent, with a pretty good turnout of around 65 percent.
Several communities where sentiment in favor of President Evo Morales and his MAS (Movement Toward Socialism) party runs high blockaded themselves and prevented balloting. There were also anti-autonomia demonstration in a low income neighborhood in the city of Santa Cruz, though pro-autonomia supporters prevailed in the ensuing rock-throwing fight.
AUTONOMIA GATOR STRIKES -- A festive mood prevailed as voting took place. Photo from CNN
A few other irregularities were reported and a vice minister of the government was detained for trying to subvert the balloting, but generally things went smoothly on a day when the weather was perfect for a referendum. (Not a cloud in the sky.)
We hope coverage in your local media at least tells you this much. Bolivia will no doubt soon be descending again below the radar of the North American media, however, so we will be posting further developments on the weblog as the plot thickens to keep you up to date with major developments.
And there will be major developments. Between now and June 22 three more provinces will vote on similar pro-autonomia measures. Please stay tuned.
This weblog was created to provide a fuller and more accurate picture of the current situation in Bolivia. Our principal effort to try to pull things together and place them in proper perspective is the penultimate post below, titled "Main Story."