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Bolivia has a new constitution, but remains a divided country

Bolivia has a new constitution!

Sixty percent of the population voted in favor of the new charter which grants full political rights to the important indigenous population of this landlocked country, which is the poorest in South America.

The new constitution will also strengthen state control over natural resources and most economic activity.

Also, it permits President Evo Morales, an indigenous Indian and a socialist, to seek another term. Previously a second term was prohibited.

According to the new legal document, "community justice", which indigenous groups have followed for centuries, is now officially recognized. Indian communities will have also the right to receive a greater share of royalties on gas and oil exports and minerals produced on or beneath their lands. It's unclear how those rights will be apportioned between the more than 30 ethnic groups that represent at least 60 percent of the population.

Despite the new constitution, Bolivia remains a divided country, both geographically and ethnically. The 60 percent of the voters who approved the new constitution come primarily from the Andes Mountain region, where the Indian population is concentrated.

Those who opposed the constitution, and who oppose Morales in general, are concentrated in Bolivia's lowlands near the Pacific Ocean, where important agro-industrial companies are located and where the population is dominated by white and mixed race groups.

The approval of the constitution is widely viewed as good news for everyone who wants a better and just Bolivia.