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Cablegate: Huanuni Update: March On La Paz or Meeting With

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #1928 1922022
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 112022Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4289
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6923
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4270
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8159
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5404
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2634
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2794
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4716
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5265
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 9871
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0404
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 001928

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EMIN ECON BL
SUBJECT: HUANUNI UPDATE: MARCH ON LA PAZ OR MEETING WITH
MORALES?

REF: LA PAZ 1860

1. (SBU) After deadlocked meetings with the ministers of
mining and labor, Huanuni's state-salaried miners were driven
from their road blockades by police July 6. The miners
retreated with 14 wounded but swore to continue their
protests with a march on La Paz. According to press accounts,
the police and military intercepted a group of 800 Huanuni
miners on their way to La Paz the evening of July 10,
confiscating explosives, including molotov cocktails and
dynamite, and marijuana. July 11 press reports indicate that
the miners are now back in negotiations with the government.
Army leadership has announced the gradual withdrawal of
troops originally sent to Huanuni at the request of the
miners to maintain order.

2. (SBU) Huanuni is officially producing no ore at the
moment (note: sources inform emboff that some contraband ore
from Huanuni is being sold as the product of other nearby
mines.) Official losses for Huanuni mine are estimated at
USD200,000 per day. Mining Minister Echazu has warned that
the Huanuni strike also threatens the Vinto smelter, another
COMIBOL operation since its nationalization.

3. (SBU) The Huanuni miners have increased their demands, now
calling for the resignation of Mining Minister Echazu and
Labor Minister Delgadillo. They are also calling for the
resignation of the prefect and secretary general of Oruro,
and the director of the Bolivian Mining Corporation
(COMIBOL). Their demands for a meeting with President
Morales were originally denied, but on July 9 Labor Minister
Delgadillo announced that President Morales will meet with
them if they suspend their pressure tactics. (Note: As
discussed in previous cables, international mining companies
are unable to arrange meetings with Mining Minister Echazu,
let alone President Morales himself.)
GOLDBERG

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