Bolivia: historic mineworkers’ leader dies

On March 13 the Bolivian government declared three days of mourning for union and leftist leader Domitila Barrios de Chungara, who died of lung cancer at her home in Cochabamba earlier that day. Born into a mineworkers’ family in 1937, Barrios de Chungara started her political work in a women’s auxiliary for the mineworkers union in the Siglo XX mining district and eventually became a prominent union leader. In 1978 she initiated the mass hunger strike that resulted in the collapse of the 1971-1978 dictatorship of Col. Hugo Banzer Suárez and the restoration of formal democracy. (La Jornada, Mexico, March 14)

Barrios de Chungara described her early political activism and her imprisonment and torture in the book Si me permiten hablar (Let Me Speak! in the English translation), written with the collaboration of Brazilian journalist Moema Viezzer.

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 18.

See our last post on Bolivia.