Bolivian President Evo Morales easily won a recall referendum and promised to press ahead with his plans to nationalize business and to create a socialist centralized state such as exists in Venezuela under his good friend, Hugo Chavez. Morales said he would work to redistribute land and take over large business corporations. “We’re heere to move forward with the recovery of our natural resources, the consolidation of nationalization and the state takeover of companies.” Morales is the first leader of Bolivia who comes from the indigenous majority of the population. However, the voting also witnessed the re-election of regional governors who oppose his reforms and want autonomy for their resource-rich provinces. Each side now believes it has won the support of the people of Bolivia.
If Morales follows through on his program of change and centralization, he is bound to create conditions for civil war. Eastern sections of the country will not stand by idly and allow Morales to take over business and farm operations. There is bound to be fight which might result in open civil war.
There is no question reform is vitally needed in Bolivia but a civil war would tear apart the nation and if Morales won, there would be a mass exodus of skilled people and their money. Hugo Chavez has money to throw around, but that money is not infinite and any sharp decline in oil prices will leave Chavez with promises made that can not be kept. Morales should seek a middle way in which poor people finally attain greater access to wealth, education and power, but not at the expense of tearing apart the nation.
Morales should not ignore what happened to Cuba.