Bolivia cry for help from Los Tiempos newspaper
Police strike ends -- Police pay was $70 to $100 a month

COCHABAMBA - - In as much, the police riot arrived at uncontrollable levels.  At night, the government had to offer 50 per cent of wage increase to control the situation.

In spite of the convulsive atmosphere, the government preferred to shut up and not to admit until today an official uprising.  The opposition took advantage of to assure that there is "anarchy".  The Revolutionary National Militia called to a political summit because "the social situation is serious".

10 Apr 2000   From: Jim Gladwin <greenleaf@ak.planet.gen.nz>
Subject: Bolivian Situation - a newspaper address and jpg attachments
Machine-translated from Spanish to English, so excuse the grammar please.

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Last night, an attempt was frustrated to pacify the city.  The Church did not want to sign a document, drafted by several institutions, that requested to terminate the contract with Waters of the Tunari.  One knew that the Vice-president does not want to know of that possibility to avoid a "second Lithco".

Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 04:06:23 +1200  From: Jim Gladwin <greenleaf@ak.planet.gen.nz>
Subject: Bolivian Situation - a newspaper address and jpg attachments
Cc: Laurence COMPARAT <laurcomp@alpes-net.fr>
The attached pictures and the following text is an extract from: Los Tiempos - Newspaper of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
 Cochabamba is the locality of the martial law clampdown.  There are more photos and news coverage at: http://www.lostiempos.com/  As translated from Spanish to English via http://translator.go.com/

_____________________

Forwarded by The Water Pressure Group  http://www.water-pressure-group.org.nz/  email: jimg@pl.net  PO Box 10046, Dominion Road, Auckland, New Zealand; Ph / Fax 0064 09 828 4517; Mobile: 025 2666 552
______________________________

Bob Olsen, Toronto bobolsen@interlog.com
The world is run by the people who show up.

#####
Striking Police Clash With Soldiers, Coca Farmers Protest as Tensions Remain High in Bolivia
Police seem to win 50% increase in pay
From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org>  Date: Monday, 10 April 2000 8:29
Subject: Bolivia

I've posted several reports about the Bolivia situation since yesterday.  This is the most recent AP report - it's about 4 hrs old.

I'm posting this one because - although it's fairly detailed and it refers to high prices for water- it fails to refer to the effect of neolib economic policies in causing public dissatisfaction.  You'll notice that the AP sez that the economic crisis is blamed in part "on the government's war on cocaine trafficking".

Of course the facts are not simple.

But I've posted one report from last Friday to the effect that church leaders had persuaded the international water company -[ a consortium led by London- based International Water Limited (IWL), IWL is jointly owned by Italian utility Edison and U.S. company Bechtel Enterprise Holdings.] - to withdraw from the contract - by which the investors are allowed to hold 50% of the stock AND take over management, in return for a promise to put an equal amount of money into capital improvements.

Also that after declaring martial law the Bolivian government announced it would not allow the IWL to break the contract.

Also notice that in Cochabamba, which is where the water supply has been (is being) privatized the government kept control of the city's radio stations to prevent independent reporting.

But above all notice how reliable AP turns out to be - in the service of privatization, globalization and Bechtel!!  -- Cheers, Michael

===========
Apr 9, 2000 - 03:25 PM

Striking Police Clash With Soldiers, Coca Farmers Protest as Tensions Remain High in Bolivia
Police seem to win 50% increase in pay
By Peter McFarren, Associated Press Writer

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) - Police walked off the job in the country's two largest cities and Indian farmers massed outside the third-largest city here on Sunday, protesting, among other things, the government's destruction of the once-thriving cocaine industry and high water prices.

By late afternoon, most of the tension was limited to the central city of Cochabamba, where the wave of anti-government protests began a week ago.

Thousands of farmers angry over the government's handling of Bolivia's economic slump gathered on the outskirts of the city and thousands more rallied in the main square.

A commission headed by Vice President Jorge Quiroga was en route to Cochabamba to try and negotiate an end to the conflict that has paralyzed the city for a week, said government spokesman Ronnie MacLean.

The other hotspot was the Andean foothill town of Achacachi, in the west, where five people were killed in clashes between protesting Indian farmers and soldiers who tried to remove their roadblocks.  Two farmers, two soldiers and a police officer were killed Sunday, said MacLean.  Eight people total have died in political violence over the weekend.

Police were at the center of the conflicts for part of the day, with hundreds of officers in the capital of La Paz and in Santa Cruz, the country's second-largest city, taking over their own headquarters and jails and demanding a 50 percent increase in pay.  The strike turned violent in La Paz, with police firing tear gas at soldiers, who fired their automatic weapons into the air.

In both cities the strikes were over in hours with the police winning their salary increases.

No violence was reported in Santa Cruz, but the army was called in to control the streets of that eastern city.

The streets in Cochabamba were quiet Sunday morning following a day of tear gas, rubber bullets and the government suspending many constitutional guarantees.   But by early afternoon Sunday, thousands of protesters had gathered in and outside the city.

Anticipating a serious confrontation, the government flew in soldiers from other parts of the country.

The escalation in anti-government action was unexpected and reflected Bolivians' disgust over rising water rates, unemployment and other economic difficulties plaguing this nation in the heart of South America.

The economic crisis was blamed in part on the government's war on cocaine trafficking.

The destruction of more than half of the country's coca leaf production has left thousands of Quechua and Aymara Indian farmers without a livelihood and depressed the economy in regions where cocaine trafficking once thrived.

Leaders of the coca farmers helped organize the protests that have paralyzed Cochabamba since last Monday.

Under emergency provisions, the government is allowed to arrest and confine protest leaders without a warrant, impose restrictions on travel and political activity and establish a curfew.  In Cochabamba, they kept control of the city's radio stations to prevent independent reporting.

Calm prevailed in much of the country, in most smaller cities and the countryside as military patrols in combat gear remained on most rural roads, allowing buses and trucks to circulate and carry food to many cities where shortages were already being felt.

An exception was Achacachi, where Indian farmers pitched rocks at soldiers who tried to remove their roadblocks. Farmers had been blocking roads all over Bolivia last week, but most had been peacefully removed by the weekend.

The farmers there took over and ransacked government buildings as troop reinforcements were sent in Sunday afternoon to try to control the violence.

The state of siege called by President Hugo Banzer Saturday was the seventh time that such an emergency has been imposed since democracy returned to Bolivia in 1982.  Typically, however, quiet returns within a day.

Brought to you by the Tampa Bay Online Network

======================  #####
From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org>  Date: Monday, 10 April 2000 8:15
Subject: Bolivia menu - water de-privatization just a pipe-dream?

This menu comprises several reports - the final item was posted by The Democracy Center, - which has addresses both in Cocachamba and California - and was published in Saturday's San Jose Mercury News.

Unfortunately the posted story - dated Friday - about the Archbishop having persuaded the Bechtel-linked water company to withdraw from its privatization contract - seems to have been superceded by government action.  So the promise of de-privatization may only be a pipe-dream. -- Cheers, MichaelP

--------------------
Agence France Presse
Monday, April 10 12:50 AM SGT

Tense calm settles on Bolivia, police strike ends
Police pay was $70 to $100 a month

LA PAZ, April 9 (AFP) - A tense calm settled on Bolivia Sunday after a day of violent protests that left two dead and dozens injured in reaction to a government-declared state of emergency, as a police strike ended in the capital.

The government agreed to a 50-percent pay increase for lower level police officers here and guaranteed that the officers who participated in the weekend strike will not face repercussions.  Until now, rank and file police earned between 70 and 100 dollars a month.

In the city of Cochabamba, the center of clashes between demonstrators protesting a water project and the military that led to the state of emergency, the streets were quiet Sunday, according to local authorities.

Due to the state of emergency, all of the country's airports are being patrolled by the military while police conducted routine controls.

Saturday, Bolivia's government declared a state of emergency to quell unrest, but the move only angered protesters further and sparked new clashes with authorities.

The 90-day state of emergency, which gives President Hugo Banzer special powers, was declared early Saturday amid continuing unrest in Cochabamba and a new protest by members of a police unit in La Paz.

A 16-year-old protester died after being shot in the head while the army tried to remove a barricade erected by demonstrators.

Protesters also said that four people received bullet wounds in Cochabamba, but police have insisted they are only firing pellets and using tear gas.

The unrest has unsettled officials in Washington, who urged US citizens in Bolivia to exercise extreme caution, and discouraged Americans from traveling to the country.

"While the Bolivian government is working to deal with the situation, it is recommended that US citizens not attempt to pass through or circumvent" roadblocks set up by the government around Cochabamba, the US State Department said in a statement issued late Saturday.

"Although US citizens are not specifically targeted, travelers should be aware that road and airport closures outside of La Paz inhibit travel within the country at this time," the State Department said.

Protest leaders called for the demonstrations to intensify after the arrest of one of their leaders, Felipe Quise Huanca, who was among at least 25 people detained by authorities following the emergency order.

Information Minister Ronald MacLean said the emergency order was issued to restore calm and could be rescinded when "law and order are re-established."

"Chaos is beginning to spread just at the moment when the nation is starting a process of economic recovery," MacLean said in a statement.

According to unconfirmed reports, the government is considering sending a delegation to Cochabamba to try to end the almost week-long protest over a proposal by a Italian-Bolivian consortium to build a dam.

The project faces strong opposition from peasants, coca growers and others who fear it could lead to excessive rate increases for services.

Protesters also have been blocking roads in other parts of Bolivia.

MacLean said an announced end to the protests late Friday was the result of an erroneous statement from a local official who indicated that the consortium had given up a contract to build the controversial dam.

MacLean said the local prefect, Hugo Galindo, "overstepped his authority" and had been relieved of his duties and replaced by a police commander for the region.

In La Paz, the police strike began when officers refused an order to arrest one sergeant and 13 wives of low-ranking police officers who had been on a hunger strike since Monday seeking 150 percent wage hikes.

Other units were sent in to arrest the hunger-strikers, who were occupying the Bolivian Workers Union (C.O.B.) headquarters.

____________________________________________________________
2000 RTE News & RTE Online (Dublin), Sunday, April 09 2000
http://www.rte.ie/av.html

Bolivian unrest intensifies after declaration of state of emergency
Hugo Banzer Suarez given new powers under state of emergency

The Bolivian government's move of declaring a state of emergency yesterday has further angered protesters and sparked new clashes with authorities.

Two people have been killed and an estimated 25 injured in renewed clashes as thousands of people demonstrate against a waterworks projects that will raise the price of water by up to 35%. The 90-day state of emergency, which gives President Hugo Banzer special powers to deal with the crisis, was declared early yesterday. It was declared amid continuing unrest in Cochabamba and a new protest by members of a police unit in La Paz.

Leaders of the Single Union for Rural Workers Confederation said that one protester, who has been identified as Rogelio Callisaya, was shot dead in a clash in La Huachaca, 180 kilometers south of La Paz, and that three others were injured.

Government officials confirmed that the protester had died, but said that it was as a result of "cardiac failure" while participating in a roadblock.

A 16-year-old protester died after being shot in the head while the army tried to remove a barricade erected by protesters.

Protesters also said that four people received bullet wounds in Cochabamba, but police have insisted that they are only firing pellets and using teargas.

About a dozen police have been injured as they patrolled the city, suffering wounds from the rocks and other objects thrown by protesters.

Protest leaders called for the demonstrations to intensify after the arrest of one of their leaders, Felipe Quise Huanca, who was among at least 25 people detained by authorities following the emergency order.

_________________________________________________________________
BBC Monday, 10 April, 2000, 00:30 GMT

Bolivia protests claim further lives
Demonstrators march again in Cochabamba

Sporadic fighting has continued in Bolivia, despite a state of emergency declared on Saturday to smother a week of violent protests.

The government called the army onto the streets after protests over water price rises spiralled into violence.  At least eight people have died over the weekend.

On Sunday, thousands of farmers angry over the government's handling of an economic slump gathered on the outskirts of the country's third largest city, Cochabamba. Thousands more rallied in the main square.

A commission headed by Vice-President Jorge Quiroga was en route to the central city to negotiate an end to a massive strike called to protest against the new water rates.

In the Andean foothill town of Achacachi, Indian farmers clashed with security forces trying to remove roadblocks.  Two farmers, two soldiers and a police officer were killed, a government spokesman said.  Three protesters were reported dead in separate clashes with police on Saturday.

In the capital, La Paz, and Santa Cruz, hundreds of police officers marched on their own headquarters demanding a 50% pay increase.

Officers in the capital fired tear gas at soldiers monitoring the protest, while thousands of students and other supporters gathered to show their support for the striking police.

In both cities, police won their salary increases.

President Hugo Banzer imposed a 90-day state of emergency on Saturday allowing for arrests without warrants, restricting the right to protest, and establishing a curfew.

The demonstrations began in Cochabamba over a $200m waterworks project that will increase the cost of drinking water by up to 35%.

A law, currently under debate in parliament, would force farmers to pay for water they currently get free.

The President, a former coup leader and military dictator who was elected to power in 1998, has stated he will not back down on the water rates, insisting they are necessary for economic development.

This is the seventh time that a state of emergency has been declared since democracy returned to Bolivia in 1982.


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