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Solidarity With The Bolivian People!

The situation is critical in Bolivia, where the "Cocalero" peasant confederation and other social movements of Cochabamba (such as the Water Coordination) are being severely attacked. There have been several dozen demonstrators killed recently by the army, 60 leaders have been arrested and the parliamentary immunity of Evo Morales has been lifted.

All those who had the privilege of meeting these comrades at the PGA conference in Cochabamba - and hopefully many others - will want to give them a hand now. We will be demonstrating next friday. A short dossier in spanish and french is available. Olivier

Bolivia : another aggression of US neocolonialism

Under the pretext of a war on terrorism or on drugs, the US government, with the complicity of local politicians and financiers, is pursuing its longterm objective of a worldwide control over natural ressources and strategic territories. Today, it threatens to submit by force any resistance to its hegemonic ambitions.

After the Plan Colombia, the major social crises provoked in Ecuador and the total destruction of the Argentine economy, the chaos generated by market neocolonialism is now destabilising Bolivia. In this country, violations of human rights are multiplying, in particular against the peasant and indigenous population of the Cochabamba region.

Since several months, the Bolivian government has totally militarised this region in order to eradicate the traditional cultivation of the coca plant, a " war on drugs " whose real objective is the eviction of the peasants and indigenous for the greater profit of the transnationals. The selling prices of the so-called " substitution " crops are so low that its not worth harvesting them. Thus the small family plots of coca are essential to the peasants' survival.

The numerous demonstrations of the farmers unions have been brutally repressed. Leaders have been shot in cold blood by the army. Their have already been dozens of dead, among whom there were recently four soldiers.

The government seized upon this pretext to arrest 60 union leaders. The Bolivian human rights organisations have already denounced the abuse that they have suffered : beatings and wounds, electric shocks on the teeth, etc.

Simultaneously, the Parliament voted, in extremely dubious conditions, the repeal of the parliamentary immunity of the deputy Evo Morales, one of the most popular deputies and foremost union leaders of the country. The leader of the " cocaleros " is accused of being the " intellectual author " of the soldiers' deaths. Evo Morales has been on hunger strike for the past nine days.

Moreover, Radio Soberania, which belongs to the peasant confederation of Cochabamba has been heavily damaged and closed down without apparent motive by the police.

The whole region suffers from a military occupation which seeks to repress all demonstrations, roadblocks, etc. Organisations of other social sectors in solidarity with the peasants are also brutally attacked. Thus the offices of the Cochabamba Water Coordination have been vandalised and their leader, Oscar Olivera indited for " sedition " !

Denouncing these flagrant violations of human rights and democratic liberties, the organisations of several sectors, cocaleros, water coordination, health workers, organisations of retired people, ecologists, etc., demand : - The immediate liberation of the union leaders and other political prisoners. - The rehabilitation of deputy Evo Morales. - The reopening of Radio Soberania. - The distribution of land, the protection of the pension system and a halt to privatisations. - The long overdue instauration of a national dialog. These movements in resistance have called for a national campaign of demonstrations and roadblocks starting the 31 of january.

In Geneva, we will also manifest our solidarity with the Bolivian people struggling against an ever more violent and destructive process of globalisation.

Demonstration in front of the Bolivian Mission, Friday, February 8th from 17H to 19H (139 Rue de Lausanne)

The initial members of the Platform of support for the Bolivian people are : Action Populaire Contre la Mondialisation (APCM), Association bolivienne de Genève, Association de soutien à la feuille de coca, EA-CISA, CETIM, LIDLIP, Nord-Sud XXI, SolidaritéS.

Geneva, January 31 2002

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