Published November 21, 2012
LA PAZ, Bolivia – Bolivia is under a virtual curfew as census-takers count and classify the landlocked Andean nation's population in its first census in 11 years.
Stirring controversy was the government decision not to include "mestizo" as a category of ethnicity.
People have the option of declaring themselves members of one of 40 ethnic groups, including Afro-Bolivians. But "mestizo," or mixed-race, is not an option. Critics of President Evo Morales say he is afraid people won't identify themselves with a particular indigenous group, thus delegitimizing the government.
Morales is Bolivia's first indigenous president, an ethnic Aymara, in a country where more than 60 percent of the population is of native descent.
His government rewrote Bolivia's constitution to give native groups political autonomy. In practice, however, that autonomy has been very limited.