October 6, 2006
At least 11 miners died in a clash between rival unions over control of a tin mine southeast of Oruru, in the central highlands. Some of them were throwing sticks of dynamite. One group consists of an independent cooperative, and the other is the union recognized by the state-owned mining company, COMIBOL. The cooperative miners apparently instigated the attack, trying to forcibly gain access to richer tin deposits. They were strong supporters of President Evo Morales in his campaign for president last year, and seem to think they are entitled to government support for their mining claims. About 700 policemen were sent to quell the violence. See CNN.com. This sort of incident may be symptomatic of the radical populist style of politics Morales has pursued, encouraging poor people to grab what they can, regardless of the law. The worst fears of Morales's opponents may be coming true.