Bolivia's president calls unrest an attempted coup
South American presidents met urgently yesterday hoping to prevent a political collapse in Bolivia, where the government planned to charge a rebellious eastern governor with genocide for allegedly ordering the machine-gunning of peasants.
Bolivia's leftist president, Evo Morales, arrived at the hastily called summit having effectively lost control of half of his country. Anti-Morales protesters have blocked highways, taken over national government offices, closed border crossings and sabotaged pipelines, briefly forcing a cutoff of nearly half of Bolivia's natural gas exports to Brazil.
The most serious challenge yet to Morales' presidency is being spurred by governors of Bolivia's autonomy-seeking lowland provinces, home to the nation's energy deposits and best farmland.
"I've come here to explain to the presidents of South America" that these governors have attempted a coup, Morales said. He accused them of "inciting crimes against humanity by groups massacring the poorest of my country."
The governors want a larger share of the nation's gas profits, and are demanding that Morales cancel the centerpiece of his 3-year tenure: a planned referendum on a new constitution that would give Bolivia's long-suppressed indigenous majority more power, let Morales run for a consecutive second term and transfer fallow terrain to landless peasants.
Morales has the support of most Bolivians — voters ratified his presidency by an impressive 67 percent in a recall referendum on 10 August — a 13 percent jump over what the native Aymara and former coca-growers union leader won in December 2005 presidential elections.
But the same referendum also gave several of the rebellious governors renewed support in their provinces, where Morales' authority is tenuous at best.
Bolivia's chief prosecutor, Mario Uribe, said he would charge Gov. Leopoldo Fernandez and other top officials in Pando, the jungle province on the Brazilian border where 30 people were killed in political violence last week, with genocide for provoking "a bloody massacre."
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence referendum live: Markets gamble on Scotland vote with 'final prediction' showing eight-point lead for No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...