Bolivia: eastern governors demand withdrawal of national army

Bolivia’s opposition governors in the eastern lowlands Sept. 3 demanded the national government withdraw its forces from Trinidad, the capital of Beni department, accusing them of repression at a youth protest occupation of the National Tax Service offices. The building was surrounded by National Police who stopped the action. Military forces have been reinforced in Trinidad since then. (Xinhua, Sept. 4)

The opposition governors threateed a new wave of protests actions that could cut off exports of natural gas to Argentina and Brazil. Authorities in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija and Chuquisaca, meeting this week in Santa Cruz, released a statement rejecting the new constitution proposed by Morales. “If the government persists on its course, we will not be held responsible for the outcome of any act that might block the exporting of fuel,” they warned in a statement. Bolivia’s National Electoral Court Sept. 1 invalidated a decree by Morales calling for a Dec. 7 referendum on the new constitution.

The government responded that the threats fuel separatism and racism. Their “insisting on implementing illegal autonomy statutes only will take us toward separatism and racism being expressed more virulently in some provinces,” Government Minister Alfredo Rada told a news conference. (AFP, Sept. 3)

The escalation comes amid a rapidly deteriorating human rights climate in Bolivia’s east. According to human rights observers from Santa Cruz, on Aug. 10 members of the San Ignacio Civic Committee and the Santa Cruz Youth Union broke into the residence of a group of Cuban doctors who were in the area providing free medical care to low-income patients. The doctors were met at their residence, beaten, forced into a truck, driven some 10 kilometers from San Ignacio, and then left there after being threatened with death.

The Santa Cruz Human Rights Coordinator (SCHRC) has petitioned the government to investigate the charges. The SCHRC also claimed that the Santa Cruz Youth Union, armed with clubs, baseball bats and other weapons, are patrolling the streets of the city with impunity.

On Aug. 13, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Center for Legal Studies and Social Investigation (CEJIS) in Santa Cruz, which does consulting work for rural and indigenous communities. The bombs failed to ignite, so there were no injuries and little property damage. “Our institution has the unique task of working for the rights of indigenous and rural organizations; we think that because of this we were assaulted this afternoon,” said the group’s director Adalid Montano. “We presume that small fascist groups that exist in Santa Cruz are responsible for this.” (ICT, Sept. 5)

See our last post on Bolivia

  1. US envoy in Bolivia, Phillip
    US envoy in Bolivia, Phillip Goldberg
    The US ambassador in Bolivia meets the rebel governor of Chuquisaca saying Washington should interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

    Throwing his weight behind the rebel governor of Chuquisaca state Sabina Cuellar on Friday, Phillip Goldberg called on the Bolivian government of President Evo Morales to pay attention to the demands of the opposition.

    Goldberg claimed that since Bolivia is presently in a state of political instability, the US institutions should interfere in Bolivia’s internal affairs.

    This is not the first time that the US officials are evidently interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

    Nonetheless, Morales denounced Goldberg’s support of the right-wing “autonomy” movement that is promoting the secession of five Bolivian provinces.

    Submited by : Libros Gratis

    1. The source for the above…
      …appears to be Press TV of Sept. 6. Look Nick, in future please source secondary material and link to the source rather than to your own website. Additionally, we prefer commentators to actually leave original comments—not just post newsclips, unless they are particularly salient. OK?