Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category

Bolivia, her dictators jailed for life

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

[Translation of an opinion piece from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 25, 2013. See original here. Jorge Mansilla Torres is a Bolivian writer]

By Jorge Mansilla Torres

In May, 1995, the Bolivian judicial system sentenced former dictator Luis García Meza to 30 years in prison for his crimes against the people and the state. At the beginning of this century, Peru tried and convicted former dictator Fujimori, as Argentina did with its own bloodthirsty military plunderers.

General Videla was sentenced twice to life in prison and died in the solitude of his cell a few days ago. Now former Guatemalan president Ríos Montt tries sleight of hand against the 80-year sentence handed him for his horrendous crimes of exterminating the Indians. These examples of dignity occur when there is historical memory and when the people take it upon themselves to give up their rancor in exchange for justice being done.

García Meza will be locked away in the high-security prison in Chonchocoro, at an altitude of 3,800 meters in the altiplano of La Paz, until he is 93 years old. With him, in the adjoining cell, is Colonel Luis Arce Gómez, his former minister of the interior, both of them convicted of the assassination of some 500 citizens, of torture and persecution of another 4,000, of at least 90 forced disappearances, of attacks on fiscal resources and of cocaine trafficking from the very presidency of the republic. (more…)

Bolivia: A government caught between indigenous rejection and support

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011


((La Razón photo))

[Translation of an article from La Razón of La Paz, Bolivia, for October 2, 2011.  See original here.]

By Jorge Quispe

“Why the worry? We are going to continue working for this process and we will see who is with us.”  This was the emphatic and certain response of Julia Ramos, executive of the Confederación de Mujeres Campesinas Bartolina Sisa [Bartolina Sisa Confederation of Campesina Women] when she was asked if there is a rift between the government and the indigenous peoples.

Has the indigenous idyll with President Evo Morales broken down?  Five years after taking office in 2006, the head of the Plurinational State is faced with a crisis in his relations with this sector, particularly with those of the Tierras Bajas [the lowlands of eastern Bolivia]. (more…)

Bolivia: Morales signs law which reduces retirement age

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Efe photo

[Translation of an article from the Venezuelan website TeleSUR for December 10, 2010. See original here.]

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday signed the Law on Pensions, the content of which, for the first time in the history of the country, was drawn up by the workers and representatives of social movements. The president declared that the enactment is evidence of the strengthening of democracy the country is experiencing.

“What’s most important to emphasize is that when we workers get together, with our experience and our know-how, our ministers, it is possible to draw up, to propose, to develop a law for the benefit of the Bolivian people,” Morales said in a speech at the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivian Workers’ Center) on Friday. (more…)

Defense ministers of America confer in Bolivia

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Evo Morales – Los Tiempos photo

[Translations of articles from the Bolivian government news agency Agencia Boliviana de Información for November 25, 2010,  and Opinión of Cochabamba for November 23, 2010 . See original articles here and here.]

America concludes forum on cooperation, defense and security

by Adalid Cabrera Lemuz and Daniel Espinoza

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
– After four days of deliberation in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, the defense ministers of the Americas reached agreements to strengthen regional security, devise programs to respond to natural disasters and increase transparency in weapons expenditures.

The Ninth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas was held from November 22 to 25 with the participation of ministers and high officials of the defense departments of 30 American countries… (more…)

Rightists from Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador meet with Republicans in Washington

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Bolivian says they are conspiring against democratic process in ALBA countries

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for November 19, 2010, based on Prensa Latina and Agence France Presse material. See original article here.]

La Paz, November 18 – In separate statements, the governments of Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador today charged that representatives of the far right of their countries met with Republican legislators in the United States congress to conspire against the countries making up the Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA – Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America).

“The right and the far right are meeting to evaluate and analyze and to see how they can conspire against the democratic process our country is living through,” Iván Canelas, spokesman for the Bolivian government, said in a press conference.

“This is an exteme right that has the support of political sectors” of the United States and of the media, “and is destabilizing,” warned Bernardo Álvarez, the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington.

Bolivia will not suspend relations with the United States

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

But demands respect for its dignity and sovereignty

[Translation of an article from Agencia Boliviana de Información, the government news agency, for June 1, 2010.]

La Paz, June 1 – Bolivia does not intend to sever diplomatic ties with the United States but demands that the White House respect its national dignity and sovereignty, President Evo Morales Ayma declared on Tuesday.

In a press conference held in the capitol, the president pointed out that since the process of change began in 2006, Bolivia has always worked clearly and transparently in its relations with all the countries of the world, including the United States.

“Previously, the United States changed our ministers and intervened in the internal affairs of Bolivia, but now a relation of respect for the country should be framed in order to move forward with diplomatic relations and economic cooperation,” he said. (more…)

Divided Bolivian workers’ federation begins march with fewer than 300

Monday, May 10th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Agencia Boliviana de Información, the government news agency.]

Agencia Boliviana de Información photo

Caracollo, May 10, 2010 – A divided Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivian Workers’ Federation) began a march to La Paz with fewer than 300 participants, most of them miners and industrial and healthcare workers, to demand a salary increase greater than the five percent being proposed by the government.

The march was planned to begin at 10:00am but the labor leaders who had travelled to the Andean town left an hour later, with the possibility that other national delegations would join them en route.

The protest, which is not being supported by organized agricultural workers, transport workers or coca farmers, was held amid suspicion on the part of the executive that reactionary groups with military training had insinuated themselves into a confusing conflict over installation of a citrus processing plant initiated by Morales in a rural citrus-growing area, which resulted in the blocking of roadways, requiring police intervention. (more…)

Bolivian Vice President García Linera says unions are trying to overthrow government

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Central Obrera Boliviana has called for strike over wage increases beginning Monday

[Translation of an article from Opinion of Cochabamba, Bolivia, for May 8, 2010, based on a dispatch from the Spanish news agency Efe.]

Alvaro García Linera

La Paz, May 8 — The administration of Evo Morales has accused Bolivian unions, which have called for a strike for better wages, of being under the influence of the US embassy and domestic rightists, whose aim is to overthrow the president.  Vice President Álvaro García Linera said in a press conference that he rejects the strike being called by the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivian Workers’ Federation) because it is a measure being taken to “overthrow governments.”

The COB is calling for a general strike, of indeterminate length, as well as a 200-kilometer march from Caracollo to La Paz, both to begin on Monday.

According to García Linera, the workers’ movement has been infiltrated by persons who want to take advantage of demands for a wage increase greater than  five percent in order to “carry water for the counter-revolutionary right.”

The unions have asked for raises for this year of between 12 and 25 percent, rates the executive has rejected with the argument that they would provoke an historical inflationary spiral similar to the one the country experienced in 1984 and 1985.  (more…)

Bolivian campesinos attacked by landowners

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo, Brazil for April 30, 2010.]

By Vinícius Mansur

The agricultural communities of Tierra Hermosa and Chirimoyas, located in the province of Velasco in the department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia [near the Brazilian border], were attacked by a group armed with shotguns and rifles and were forced off their land. This is the charge made on Thursday, April 29, by the Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos e Indígenas Sin Tierra (MST – Landless Workers and Indigenous Movement) of Bolivia. (more…)

Bolivia: Attorney general charges twelve with torture and assault of campesinos in Sucre

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

[Translation of an article from Indymedia Bolivia for April 28, 2010.]

The Ministry of the Interior has brought formal charges against at least twelve persons for the crimes of sedition, criminal association, incitement to criminal activity, torture and harassment committed against 60 campesinos on May 28, 2008. The Prefecture of Chuquisaca has responded through a spokesman that the charges are political and are a form of persecution of opponents of the government.

Sixty campesinos from outlying areas of Chuquisaca were beaten and humiliated in the main plaza of Sucre on May 24, 2008. Several were stripped, forced to kneel and to kiss the city flag after their wiphalas [indigenous clothing of the area] were burned, by groups protesting the presence in the city of President Evo Morales. (more…)

Bolivian President Morales denies attacking homosexuals

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

[Translation of an article from the Agencia Boliviana de Información, the Bolivian government news agency.]

La Paz, April 26, 2010 – It never crossed President Evo Morales’ mind to attack the rights of homosexuals and he absolutely was not referring to them in his speech opening the World Conference on Climate Change held in the city of Cochabamba, presidential spokesman Iván Canelas declared on Monday.

Canelas said during a press conference that there had been “widespread speculation on the subject” and that the media and some organizations had given his statements “the interpretation they chose to give them”…

Canelas argued that any position of that kind would be a contradiction and recalled that Morales comes from a “deep indigenous tradition” which, in his view, vindicates diversity in all its forms, the diversity of nature, human diversity, the diversity of ideas, “and of course sexual diversity.”

In the same vein, he reported that the Bolivian government had sent a letter through the Ministry of Justice to a Spanish gay and lesbian organization confirming respect for sexual diversity, which is even recognized in the new political constitution of the nation, which was promoted by President Morales.

He said Article 14 of the new constitution states very clearly that the state prohibits and punishes all forms of discrimination based on gender, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, origen, culture, nationality, citizenship, language, religious creed, ideology or affiliation.

He urged journalists to review carefully Morales’s speech at the opening of the World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba from April 20 to 22, to verify that he did not refer to homosexuals.

“What happens is that sometimes a speech is exaggerated or is interpreted in whatever way one chooses,” he explained…