from Weekly News Update on the Americas

Bolivia’s interim president Eduardo Rodriguez, installed in power June 9 by a vote of Congress as La Paz was again paralyzed by protests, faces a harsh challenge—to hold the country together as social forces pull in opposite directions. The indigenous movement in the Altiplano is demanding greater public control over the oil and gas industry—if not outright nationalization. Meanwhile, business elites in the resource-rich Amazon department of Santa Cruz are demanding greater local autonomy—and have threatened outright secession if the hydrocarbons are nationalized. Now a constituent assembly has been called to write a new Bolivian constitution. It remains to be seen if it will appease either side—or if Rodriguez will avoid the fate of his two predecessors, who were both ousted amidst waves of militant protest. —WW4 REPORT


On July 5, Bolivia’s Chamber of Deputies voted 80-27 to approve a constitutional amendment setting early general elections for Dec. 4 of this year. In a joint session minutes later, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approved a measure setting another date–July 2, 2006–for elections for a constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution and for a referendum on regional autonomy. An impasse over the various elections was resolved with a political accord among the political parties and with new interim president Eduardo Rodriguez. The accord also allows Rodriguez to postpone until December the election of nine governors, which was originally set for next Aug. 12. On July 6 Rodriguez ratified the constitutional amendment and signed three decrees formalizing the new election dates. (AP, July 5, 7; Bolivia Press, July 8)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 10


On July 12, campesinos from the Bolivian Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) reportedly invaded the Los Angeles estate owned by businessperson Jorge Haensel in a remote jungle region in the northwest of La Paz department. Haensel claims that the invaders fired at a group of his employees who were gathering chestnuts. Haensel said three people were killed: two of his workers and one MST member. Haensel reported the incident to police in the city of Riberalta, and on July 13 a Bolivian government commission headed by Riberalta deputy mayor Hector Vaca left by helicopter for the isolated estate to investigate the incident. (AP, July 13)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 17

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #111


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Aug. 1, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution