Changes to Latin America’s political landscape sometime appear to be a zero-sum game. When democracy succeeds in one place, it is often offset by increased dictatorial power in another. Fidel Castro’s regime — facing the end of Castro’s life — is battling to prevent a resurgent democracy when he dies. In Venezuela an attempt by Hugo Chavez to reform the constitution to become president for life and structure a socialist regime was defeated. And Bolivian president Evo Morales is tightening his grip on power, running roughshod over opponents to establish himself as the de facto president for life.
Even before Chavez’s defeat at the polls, Morales had decided to force a political confrontation with his opposition. Influenced by his mentors Castro and Chavez, Morales is aiming at installing in Bolivia a socialist, authoritarian regime, modeled after the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes.Facing imminent defeat at the hands of the Bolivian Constituent Assembly — which failed to agree on a new constitution — Morales decided to convoke, unilaterally, a meeting of the Constituent Assembly, without the opposition being present. Meeting in a military barracks in the city of Sucre, a Morales stronghold, the Assembly approved his project of constitution in record time. The new constitution would greatly increase his presidential powers, give the indigenous population a politically privileged status and reduce the share of hydrocarbon revenues being allotted to the provinces/
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In other Bolivia news, Bolivia looking for heavy investment from oil firms
But a spokesman for the ministry of oil said the total figure could rise to $1 billion since state-owned YPFB has asked the firms to carry higher capital costs than operating expenses.