Farmers at the root of Bolivia's political crisis hope President Morales will make good on land reform, despite violent opposition.
When Evo Morales took office in 2006, he passed a bill, allowing million acres of under-used state land to be given to rural peasants. Now, he wants to change the constitution, with a fiercely contested referendum in December.
High in the Andes, the village of Achacachi is at the center of the raging political crisis destabilizing Bolivia.
Like thousands of the country's indigenous peasants, Julio Mamani struggles alongside his father, uncle, wife and son to survive on their ever diminishing plot of fertile land.
Each day they pray that President Evo Morales will make good on land reform promises, despite the violent opposition he faces.
The reforms would allow the Mamanis, and about 80 other families to move to the resource rich east onto property seized by the government from wealthy landowners - an issue that has sparked a wave of recent protests.
SOUNDBITE: Farmer Julio Mamani, saying (Spanish):
"It makes me feel sad, but we are obligated to leave because the opportunities to share land here are shrinking. For this I want to go there (tropical Eastern region). We are natives of here clearly, we feel, we have pride to be Omasuyenos, but the land will not permit us to live here".
Mamani and his wife live in a shack, sharing one bed with their three children, and his father. On the $2 a day he makes farming they cannot afford wood, and use cow dung to heat their food.
The east is home to the bulk of Bolivia's agricultural and natural gas resources, and aggressive opposition against Morales. They accuse him of manipulating Indians to take over the existing power structure, and worry he will destroy the economy.
When Evo Morales took office in 2006, he passed a bill, allowing million acres of under-used state land to be given to rural peasants.
Now, he wants to change the constitution, with a fiercely contested referendum in December.
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters
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