Article: "Bolivia: After Rallies for New Constitution, Morales Nationalizes Oil Company"
Excerpt(s): On Thursday, January 22, the last day of campaigning for the new constitution before the document is set to a vote on Sunday, January 25th, representatives from Bolivia's diverse social movements convened in downtown La Paz. The rally, located in the Plaza Murillo, marked the end of over two years of meetings, conflicts and mobilizations to, as President Evo Morales often says in speeches, "constitutionalize" much-needed changes. The following day, Morales nationalized the Chaco oil company. All of the previous weeks' marches for the constitution seemed to gather in the plaza, culminating in fireworks, cheers, and music. At a central stage, acts alternated between speeches of representatives of the various social movements present and musical performances by groups from around the country, including Afro-Bolivian dances and political hip-hop from La Paz. Members of the Bartolina Sisa women's organization spoke, along with miners, neighborhood council members, retirees, students, and campesino and indigenous leaders. The presence of such diverse groups underscored the importance of Bolivian social movements' participation in the process of change carried out in collaboration with the government. As Sacha Llorenti, the Vice Minister of the Coordination of Bolivian Social Movements told TeleSUR, "The structural transformations that the country is going through cannot be understood without recognizing [the role of] the social movements, the popular organizations of this country."
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