Vote for autonomy in Bolivia
Voters in the department (province) of Tarija, in southern Bolivia, have voted by a large margin (80%, according to one exit poll) in favor of greater autonomy from the central government in La Paz. BBC. As with a similar measures in the eastern department of Santa Cruz (see May 5), and the northern departments of Pando and Beni, the practical effect is questionable because there is no clear constitutional framework for such an action. Also, supporters of President Evo Morales boycotted the referendum in Tarija. But the overwhelming result does demonstrate persistent deep antipathy toward the government of Morales. Indeed, a recall referendum will be held in August, in lieu of a constitutional reform referendum that he had been pushing for several months, but kept getting postponed. It was to have been the centerpiece of his redistributionist agenda, on behalf of Bolivia's poor Indian majority. This latest setback for Morales is bad news for his patron Hugo Chavez and, therefore, good news for the United States.
Paraguayan inmates demand sex
If you've never been inside a Latin American prison,* that headline may seems a bit confusing. How can inmates make such demands? Unlike American prisons, which are rigidly controlled by guards, with constant surveillance, in most Latin American countries, the sole responsibility of guards is to prevent escapes. What happens on the inside is none of their business, which is why rebel organizations, terrorists, and drug traffickers are able to coordinate their activities so well -- from the inside!
Anyway, prisoners in Paraguay staged a riot to back up their demands for more time for conjugal visits, with suitable quarters. No one was seriously hurt, but it prompted the Justice Minister to agree to allow conjugal visits after working hours. CNN.com.
* I was "just visiting," like in Monopoly!
Paraguay's difficult transition
With just two months until the end of his term, the outgoing president of Paraguay, Nicanor Duarte, has offered to resign. He was elected to the Senate, the new terms of which begin July 1, which is six weeks before the presidential inauguration, and he cannot serve in those two offices concurrently. He belongs to the Colorado Party, which has dominated Paraguay for many years, but lost the recent elections. See CNN.com and my April 22 blog post. It seems to be a blatant, underhanded maneuver aimed at clinging to power.