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Bolivia--Workers On Alert

While pro-US violence and insurrection in Belgrade is trumpeted, there is hardly a hint of this Bolivian rebellion in any western press.

One of the aims in Cochabamba is the demand for the April water porivatisation reversal to be cemented into law. Coca subsidence farmers are demanding compensation before they pull the plants and transfer to other crops. Jim

October 5, 2000

Translated from a text by Libertarian Youth (anarcho-communists)

Bolivian Workers Are On Alert

The social tensions in Bolivia remain high. Coca growers and teachers have rejected the government's latest proposals. The coca growers are proclaiming up with coca and down with the North Americans, "Coca is a matter of life or death." The teachers are insisting on a wage increase of 50 percent. Meanwhile, the meeting between the rural people of the high plateau region (altiplano) and government authorities was recessed. Progress in the discussions has been slow. There has only been agreement on two points: first, compensation and medical care for people who were injured and freedom for those detained, and second, annulment of the INRA land reform law and its replacement with a new law.

Yesterday resistance to the coca eradication plan became the binding force holding together the coca growers, teachers and rural agriculturists in the Cochabamba coalition. In spite of the desperate efforts of the government to undermine the solidarity of the coalition and the gains made by the rural agriculturists in the negotiations, what has clearly emerged in the third week of the crisis is that the Banzer government is at an impasse.

The following is an outline of a situation, the outcome of which is unpredictable:

1. The Armed Forces have declared that they are in a "state of alert."

2. The coca growers have "mined" the bridges in the tropical Chapare region, and have armed themselves.

3. Rural people of Colomi (Cochabamba) are threatening to "blow up" electrical transmission-line towers.

4. Agriculturists of San Julian have announced that they will take over the thermoelectric power plant at Santa Cruz.

5. More than five thousand rural people have reinforced the road blockade in Achacachi (La Paz), near the military quarters.

6. The Chamber of Deputies has approved the military presence on the roads.

7. A secret document, reputed to be authored by the military, has called for President Banzer to replace his ministers.

8. The businesspeople of Santa Cruz have declared an emergency and called for a firm hand against the rural people who have mined the bridges of the Chapare region.

9. The lack of goods in the markets is producing hardship, while the black market is growing.

10. President and former dictator Banzer has reassured the military that there will be no trials of those among them who have killed or may kill people.

11. Today, in the Achacachi district, twelve thousand rural people gathered in a general assembly. They resolved to leave the highway blockades in place, and to resist governmental repression.

12. Fascist groups (falangistas) are threatening to march on the blockades and shoot the rural people maintaining them.

13. The All-Bolivian Confederation of Agricultural Workers (ConfederaciÛn Sindical Žnica de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia) is threatening to declare a civil war if the government orders the arrest of its executive secretary, Felipe Huanca Quispe.

14. In the southern part of Bolivia, cattlemen and landowners have used firearms and machetes to attack "landless" agriculturists. There were seven injuries, including one girl.

15. The road blockages have spread to most parts of the country, and the main cities are virtually blockaded by protesting rural agriculturists, rural teachers and tradespeople.

16. Thousands of soldiers equipped with tanks are being concentrated in the city of Santa Cruz.

17. Rank-and-file union members have gone beyond their managing bureaucrats. For example, two days ago, the executive secretary of the rural teachers' confederation was rebuked by the teachers for having signed an agreement with the government. In regional assemblies of the confederation, the agreement was repudiated.

18. The minister of education has given the teachers 24 hours to return to classes. If they don't return within this period, the school year will be terminated.

19. Two days ago, more than a hundred young people in the city of El Alto attacked the offices of banks, multinational corporations and police stations in protest against the government, and in a desperate attempt to release political prisoners. Twenty people were arrested during the actions.

The Permanent Human Rights Assembly of La Paz (APDHB) reported to international organizations that 159 people were injured by bullets, buckshot and teargas used by the armed forces during the recent repression.

Among the injured were children affected by the teargas. Some have been seriously injured and remain in hospital. According to reports received by the Assembly from the areas with the most intense conflict, in La Paz and Cochabamba, about one hundred people were arrested, the majority of whom were later released.

More than ten people were killed by the army. According to the president of the APDHB, Waldo Albarracin, it has been confirmed that eight were the victims of gunshots.

The government appears to be equipping itself with a smokescreen for repressing the workers. Congress is now in an extraordinary session. According to unofficial information, they are on the verge of declaring martial law, a state of siege throughout Bolivia that will unleash a bloodbath.

We are in a state of maximum alert. Our purpose is to provide alternative information and unmask the genocide being perpetrated by Banzer and his mafiosi henchmen in the government.


Libertarian Youth, October 4, 2000

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