Posted by: becketfund | January 25, 2009

Bolivia: New Constitution Adopted

LA PAZ – Following are key elements of the new Bolivian constitution as proposed by President Evo Morales, AP reported on January 25. INDIGENOUS RIGHTS — Recognizes self-determination of 36 distinct Indian “nations.” Sets aside seats in Congress for minority indigenous groups but not for the Aymara and Quechua, who together represent the majority in Bolivia’s western highlands. RELIGION — Both the Christian God and Pachamama, the Andean earth deity, are honored. Church and state are separate. Freedom of religion is guaranteed, and no mention is made of The Roman Catholic Church, a departure from the current constitution. And, HOMOSEXUALITY — Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation but refers to marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The NY Times reported on January 26 that opposition leaders argue that the constitution does not reflect Bolivia’s growing urban population, which mixes both Indian blood and tradition with a new Western identity, and could leave non-Indians out of the picture.

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