Social movement mobilization and hydrocarbon policy in Bolivia and Ecuador
Gonzales, Angela D.
Trinkunas, Harold A.
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This thesis seeks to explain the variation between Bolivia and Ecuador in terms of social movement mobilization around hydrocarbon policy since the early 2000s. In Bolivia, protest movements, which gained widespread national support, emerged demanding the renationalization of the industry. In contrast, in Ecuador protests around hydrocarbon policies have remained regional. This is a curious development since it conflicts with the findings of current studies on indigenous movements in these countries: in Bolivia, studies have found that indigenous movements are characterized by their regional mobilization, unable to unite around common interests, whereas in Ecuador, indigenous movements are known for their ability to unite under a national movement and political party. This thesis argues that each country's experience with the neoliberal economic model and the political strength of indigenous movements were significant factors that affected mobilization around hydrocarbon policy. Furthermore, the study also seeks to explain the variation across country in the relative strength of indigenous groups that live in the hydrocarbon-rich regions. It argues that the movements in Bolivia's hydrocarbonrich region are limited relative to their Ecuadorian counterparts by the strength of eliteled autonomy movements, geography, and a historic regional divide.
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