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News :: International
"Nationalization or death!" Uprising in Bolivia
25 May 2005
((i)) La Paz (25/05/2005 11:08)

* After holding an emergency meeting, the FEJUVE (Federación de Juntas Vecinales de El Alto) has descended from the mountains to the Altiplano of Bolivia and the capital city of La Paz to "take over the National Congress.” In addition, they ratified a citywide strike as it entered its third day with no end in sight.

* Meanwhile a group of Army officials disassociated themselves with Carlos Mesa and called to the military to be united with the mobilizations.

* It is uncertain what will happen next. It is clear however that the road blockades at Copacabana, Desaguadero, Achacachi and Oruro with strong concentrations in the localities of Pallcoco, Batallas, Huarina, Warisata y Escoma (towns around La Paz, the capital) will be lasting. The protestors manning the blockades are members of the inidigenous Aymara community that have once again left their towns and villages to make their presence felt and voice heard in front of a deaf state. They are confronting the state’s partiality to the transnational companies and the state’s forgetfulness of the national majorities.
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Intense social mobilizations have followed one after the other in the last few weeks. The central demand is the Nationalization of Hydrocarbons (gas and oil), although some movements, related to the Movement Towards Socialism party (MAS) of Evo Morales, tried to weaken the slogan to support solely the current accomplishment of the Constituent Assembly [that recently passed a bill that taxed all hydrocarbon exports 50%].

The 24th of May was without doubt the most critical moment in the mobilizations when the 20 provinces of the La Paz Altiplano marched towards the government seat together with wage-earning miners. They were intent on entering Murillo Plaza, first circling through the four corners of the city through the Omasuyos, Pacajes, Camacho, Ingavi, Aroma y Los Andes province. Later they arrived and reinforced the comunarios of the Murillo province in the taking of the Plaza. Also the coca growers who arrived from Chapare [traditional base of Evo Morales] wanted to be part of the take-over, but emphasized the gas contracts.

It was the hardest day as far as repression. Not only enormous amounts of tear gas but rubber bullets were used against the masses who had gathered to take back the power. The police also wanted to intimidate to the leadership by stopping and persecuting several of them.

At this point, considering all that had happened in an emergency meeting, the FEJUVE (Federación de Juntas Vecinales de El Alto) descended from the mountains to the Altiplano of La Paz to "take over the National Congress.” In addition, they ratified a citywide strike as it entered its third day with no end in sight.

Groups of the Departmental Federation of Farmers of La Paz Tupaj Katari and the rural teachers joined this march.

The military in action

But not only beat the hearts of the social movements. On the evening of the 24th two military men, lieutenants colonels, made an announcement that distanced themselves from the military High Command and called for the resignation of Carlos Mesa.

They made many mentions of the consequences of neoliberalism in Bolivia, they railed against the transnational companies, they asked the constituent assembly and other officials to add themselves to the social mobilizations.

They assured that they will not shoot in the town, but at the same time announced that they have the control capacity to recover the stability in the country when there is a new plan for the government. This coup has been connected to Jaime Solares, leader of the Bolivian Workers Union, who has called for the formation of a patriotic military government.

In synthesis, it is uncertain what will happen next. It is clear however that the road blockades at Copacabana, Desaguadero, Achacachi and Oruro with strong concentrations in the localities of Pallcoco, Batallas, Huarina, Warisata y Escoma (towns around La Paz, the capital) will be lasting. The protestors manning the blockades are members of the inidigenous Aymara community that have once again left their towns and villages to make their presence felt and voice heard in front of a deaf state. They are confronting the state’s partiality to the transnational companies and the state’s forgetfulness of the national majorities.
See also:
http://thhp://bolivia.indymedia.org

This work is in the public domain