July 1, 2006
One of the consequences of the radical nationalist politics introduced by the new president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is that the part of the country where most of the natural gas is found is experiencing a surge in secessionist sentiment. The department of Santa Cruz, in the flatlands of the southeast, has as much or more in common with the culture of Paraguay and Argentina than to the rest of Bolivia. Publius Pundit is tracking the recent march by 100,000 protesters in that region's capital city, also called Santa Cruz. One of the banners reads, "God doesn't want communism. The people want autonomy."