Telegraph, Reino Unido
By Hamida Ghafour in Santa Cruz
Last Updated: 1:29pm BST 04/05/2007
On a long, high wall near the main square in Bolivia's business capital graffiti reads 'Evo the dictator' and 'Independence for Santa Cruz'.
It is a sign that the excitement for this poverty-stricken Andean country of electing its first indigenous president after years of being governed by a wealthy white elite has already turned sour.
As Evo Morales has tightened his links to Venezuela's stridently anti-capitalist leader Hugo Chavez, opposition to his government has grown and the country is increasingly divided along racial lines.
While in the capital La Paz, Mr Morales has raised hopes that the original inhabitants of Bolivia will now finally get a slice of the national wealth, in Santa Cruz, 300 miles to the east the white business figures, of European origin, are increasingly determined not to lose the valuable land and resources they have dominated for almost 500 years.
White business figures in the eastern lowlands, home to the gas reserves, soya plantations and cattle ranches which drive the agricultural economy, are driving a growing movement for autonomy in a desire to distance themselves from the country's left-wing, populist leader.
"We are saying enough to violence, totalitarianism and narco-traffickers," said German Antelo, an influential white politician.
"The government doesn't have the experience to govern Bolivia, it doesn't have qualified people," said Branko Marinkovich, president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, an association of political and business elites which is driving the autonomy movement.
Mr Marinkovich, one of the largest landowners in the country, said government plans to give 20 per cent of land to the peasants would "harm the environment."
Mr Morales, a former coca grower with little political experience, was elected with an unprecedented majority of 54 per cent in December 2005.
He was elected by a vast majority on the promise that he would redistribute wealth in this landlocked country, the poorest in South America but where almost 70 percent of the population are Quechua and Aymara Indians, the largest indigenous population in the region.
His most popular move has been to lead the army to seize and 'nationalise' the natural gas fields. The move did not force foreign gas companies to leave Bolivia but imposed higher taxes on their activities which will see state revenues grow from US dollars 230 million in 2005 to nearly US dollars 700 million this year.
But as the months have passed, tensions between the wealthy white community and the indigenous peasant majority have risen, descending into violence that has killed dozens of people and injured hundreds.
In January, the city of Cochabamba, west of Santa Cruz, was rocked by heavy fighting between whites and indigenous people. It began when the white governor demanded autonomy for the province. Two people were killed, including Christian Urresti, 17, who was strangled by a group of indigenous protesters.
Ronny, his brother, said he had changed his mind about the president whom he voted for.
"I blame President Morales for my brother's death," said Mr Urresti, a pilot. "He is dividing the country in two. It's like he cannot accept 500 years of Spanish rule. He is taking revenge."
But the vice president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, himself of European descent dismissed allegations that divisions were worsening under his government.
"Bolivians have lived under apartheid since the founding of the country," he said. "We didn't bring these divisions but we have brought them to light."
Unreported World's 'Anarchy in the Andes' will be broadcast at 7 pm Saturday May 5 on Channel 4.