Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bolivia seeks to indict opposition leader

Is Bolivia's effort to indict the leader of an insurrection in the country's four eastermost provinces an example of good government or repressive rule? That's the question raised by La Paz's decision Sunday to press for the indictment of Branko Marinkovic, leader of an autonomy movement blamed for violent protests that threatened to split the country in September. "We have enough evidence in this investigation to allow us to link Mr. Marinkovic with the acts of terrorism that occurred in several parts of the country in September," government minister Alfredo Rada told state radio, according to the Reuters international news service. Supporters of Marinkovic contend he is the victim of political persecution, Reuters said. Twenty people have already been jailed on charges related to the September violence, in which 17 people were killed and government buildings were attacked. The four provinces, which have white-majority populations and are the country's richest areas, seek more authority over resources and to limit the authority of the central government and its president, Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader. Morales took office in 2005 and promptly nationalized Bolivia's energy industry, including its burgeoning oil production. He has aligned himself with Venuezuela's Hugo Chavez, whose animosity towards U.S. President George W. Bush is acknowleged internationally, and Cuba's Fidel Castro. Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America.

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