Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bolivia's Constitutional Crisis and the Church

Another political stand-off that could possibly lead to violence? You bet, this time in Bolivia. The government of President Evo Morales is in a dispute with the opposition over plans to rewrite the constitution of four of the provinces of Bolivia.

The change in constitution is understandable. The president is the first President who is also ethnically indigenous. He is attempting to push for a rewrite that would give more power to the indigenous majority in the affected provinces. The opposition is also understandable since the point out the constitutional assembly that wrote the new constitution did not include the opposition.

Bolivia’s Catholic Church has not been quite in expressing their concern about the potential for deadly conflict. The 40 Bishops of the nation have asked for calm negotiations. The bishops have met with the governors of the four provinces asking for a slowing of the process to relieve tension, this is not to be.

Complicating this tense situation is the fact that these are oil producing provinces. The Church worries that the country is facing a polarizing crisis that will pit the poor against the rich, east against west, and indigenous peoples against the majority population.

Let’s pray the Churches call for calm, respectful negations and compromise is heard.

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