LA PAZ – President Evo Morales’s government formally turned over 1,000 new homes to impoverished Indians in Bolivia’s southwestern Andean highlands.
The move benefits 5,400 residents of eight “ayllus” (indigenous communities) that lie along the border between the provinces of Oruro and Potosi, Deputy Housing Minister Jose Roberto Ballesteros said at Monday’s ceremony.
The $3.6 million cost of the residences, equipped with indoor plumbing and electricity, was shared by the government and the communities.
Authorities hope the new housing will mark a permanent end to decades of violent land disputes among the region’s Qaqachaca, Jucumani and Laime communities.
Those conflicts have claimed nearly 600 lives since 1970 and as many as 10,000 since 1830, the Morales government said, though the strife eased with the launch 10 years ago of a pacification program.
Morales, an Aymara who took office in January 2006, is the first indigenous president of Indian-majority Bolivia. EFE