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Bolivia

WORLD
October 22, 2008 | Oscar Ordonez; Patrick J. McDonnell, Ordonez is a special correspondent. McDonnell is a Times staff writer.
Bolivian legislators on Tuesday agreed to schedule a national referendum on their country's controversial draft constitution, a major victory for leftist President Evo Morales in this deeply divided nation. "There is no going back from this process of change," said a jubilant, teary Morales, addressing thousands of supporters gathered in the Plaza Murillo in downtown La Paz.
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WORLD
September 20, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
His mother pleaded: Don't go to the road blockade. "I had a bad feeling," she recalled. "It was dangerous." But her son insisted. Edson Abad Ruiz was a proud member of the Juvenile Union of Santa Cruz, a group dedicated to defending this rebellious eastern region of Bolivia from its chief foe, the leftist administration of President Evo Morales.
WORLD
September 17, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Fragile dialogue between the Bolivian government and its opponents appeared to move forward late Tuesday as the two sides backed a framework for talks. Negotiators hammered out an agreement on issues to be discussed, including the controversial distribution of revenues from natural gas and petroleum. Five provinces aligned against President Evo Morales are calling for a greater share of the energy funds. "Dialogue is the only path for the nation," said Ruben Costas, governor of the eastern province of Santa Cruz, an opposition stronghold.
WORLD
September 14, 2008 | From the Associated Press
President Evo Morales on Saturday accused an opposition governor of using foreign thugs against government supporters in violence that has claimed at least 18 lives and prompted him to declare martial law in one province. In a bid to defuse the bitter dispute over a new constitution and land reform that threatens to tear apart the poor Andean nation, Chile called for an emergency meeting Monday of South American leaders. "A larger tragedy has to be avoided," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a strong ally of Bolivia's leftist president, confirming that he would attend the meeting.
WORLD
September 13, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Bolivia declared martial law Friday in the isolated northern state of Pando, site of violent clashes a day earlier that left at least nine dead and dozens injured. The move was the government's most dramatic action yet against a wave of violence this week in provinces opposed to the leftist leadership of President Evo Morales. The violence had prompted widespread speculation that the government would declare a national state of siege. But Friday's announcement was limited to Pando, where the order limits public gatherings, bans protests and imposes a midnight-to-6 a.m. curfew.
WORLD
September 12, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell and Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writers
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that he was expelling the U.S. ambassador in the latest escalation of tensions between Washington and Latin American leftists. The move came a day after Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close Chavez ally, accused the U.S. envoy in his country of fostering divisions and ordered him to leave. On Thursday, chaos worsened in Bolivia as clashes between government sympathizers and opponents in a remote province left at least eight dead and dozens injured.
WORLD
September 11, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered the expulsion Wednesday of the U.S. ambassador to his country, accusing him of fostering divisions in the deeply fractured Andean nation. The move comes as tensions rise and violence increases in states opposed to the leftist policies of Morales. The president has regularly accused Washington and its ambassador of plotting against him. "The one who conspires against democracy and above all seeks the division of Bolivia is the ambassador of the United States," Morales said during a speech at the presidential palace.
WORLD
September 7, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Renowned as the cradle of Bolivian independence, this colonial town in the south-central highlands has become a front line in a new battle that is threatening to rip this South American nation asunder. The pugnacious prefect, or governor, Savina Cuellar, a former livestock herder who proudly dons the broad-brimmed hat and billowing skirt that mark her indigenous origins, has become a symbol of the country's deep divisions. Her peasant background inevitably evokes comparisons to the humble history of leftist President Evo Morales, the coca-leaf cultivator who in 2005 was elected Bolivia's first indigenous president.
WORLD
August 12, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Both sides in Bolivia's bitter political standoff came out of a weekend recall referendum Monday with reason to declare victory. The big loser appeared to be national unity. President Evo Morales won a renewed mandate for his socialist vision, garnering more than 60% of the vote, according to preliminary results that won't be official for a week or so. But his chief antagonists in the rebellious, resource-rich crescent of lowland states known as the "half moon" also savored their triumph.
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