Is democracy seriously at risk in Bolivia?

Since he took office, Evo Morales has enshrined indigenous values, nationalized the oil and gas sector and vowed to help millions out of poverty. But those criticising him say he could be following what they call dictatorial ways.

He reformed the constitution to promote indigenous rights, but also to permit his possible re-election. He has removed the head of the judiciary and challenged every single Bolivian institution that has dared oppose him.

But still, on Sunday, millions of Bolivians will continue to vote for him.

The reason? Many of his followers respect him for challenging the same institutions that have been unfair to the indigenous majority, the laws that have discriminated against them and the justice that in the past imprisoned them for demanding equal rights.

So most poor people here see no risk if next Sunday he is re-elected president and obtains the majority in what has come to replace the traditional Congress – the Plurinational Assembly that now has a very special place for the leaders of each indigenous community.

But some analysts here say there are risks.

“Since Morales took office, institutions in Bolivia are getting every day weaker.There is no limit to what Morales can do. Instead of reinforcing the institutions that are necessary for the country”, one analyst told me here in La Paz.

There are two visions of Bolivia that for now are very far from each other and that is pushing this country to extremes. One is looking to respect indigenous traditions, rights and values, but could violate the law as many here traditionally understand it.

For now the majority doesn’t seem to care much about the risks but about the promises that Evo Morales has made. The first one he has already accomplished – giving those who have been discriminated against for decades a say in state matters.

[original]

spotted by RS

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