July 31 - Bolivia's leftist government opens a consultation process with indigenous people to decide the fate of a proposed highway while enviornmentalists say the process is flawed. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Protesters angry over a plan to build a highway through indigenous territory in Bolivia clash with police. The violence comes after the country's leftist government opened a consultation process with indigenous residents of the area to decide the fate of the proposed highway, that has drawn sharp criticism from environmentalists. Long-standing opponents of the 420 million dollar highway were frustrated by the opening of the consultation saying they instead want the project cancelled. Environmentalist Patricia Molina said the consultation process is flawed because it's included communities dedicated to drug trafficking that're not indigenous and has failed to include some communities in the sub central area of the indigenous territory. Opposition to the project has put President Evo Morales at odds with his indigenous support base, while the road is at the heart of Morales' drive to boost infrastructure investment in the impoverished Andean nation. The government says they'll take until mid-September to consult residents of the area, where work on the middle section of the 185-mile road has been halted for nearly a year. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters