April 13, 2008

Bolivia OKs Indigenous Autonomies

The Bolivian government ratified its recognition of indigenous autonomies, in accordance with a November 2007 ruling and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, vice president Alvaro Garcia said here.

According to the government official, the country's new political Constitution guarantees Bolivian native people the right to free determination, self-governing and to manage their own financial resources.

Garcia told members of the Eastern Bolivia Indigenous People Confederation that the Evo Morales government will outline mechanisms to transfer management resources to the indigenous communities.

There is no need to hold a referendum on the indigenous autonomies, because they are already legal. They just need to be implemented, the Vice President claimed.

Garcia questioned the autonomy referendums being promoted by authorities from the departments of Benu, Pando, Santa cruz and Tarija, and dubbed such attempts as divisive.

The official said that unlike indigenous autonomies, which do not need of a referendum to become legal, department autonomies must be legally voted upon by the people.

He also criticized Santa Cruz authorities for having launched a campaign threatening to jail citizens who refuse to vote in the May 4 polls.

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