from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On Sept. 29, at least 5,000 Bolivian teachers staged a national strike and marched in La Paz to protest what they call a “virtual privatization” of education in Bolivia: the handing over of public school administration–with all its costs–to the country’s municipalities. The education system change was part of an accord negotiated with Bolivian municipalities on the use of proceeds from a new 32% gas tax, the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH), which is expected to bring $417 million into government coffers in 2005. Under a hydrocarbons law passed last May by Congress, the municipal governments of Bolivia’s 10 main cities will each receive about $26 million from the IDH. Following tense negotiations in early September, an agreement was reached to assign the funds, but only on the condition that the municipalities take over the cost and administration of public education in their areas. (Diario El Popular, Canada, Sept. 30)

In an agreement signed in La Paz on Sept. 28 between the Bolivian government and three indigenous organizations–the Indigenous Confederation of the Bolivian East (CIDOB), National Council of Qullasuyo Communities (Conamaq) and Assembly of the Guarani People (APG)–$23 million a year from the IDH will go into an Indigenous Development Fund, to be administered jointly by the government and indigenous representatives. (El Deber, Santa Cruz, Sept. 29) The agreement ended several weeks of road blockades and other protests by indigenous communities throughout Bolivia. More than 400 police and military troops attacked a group of Guarani men, women, children and elders on Sept. 18, the 10th day of their roadblock on the Santa Cruz-Camiri highway in Tatarenda Viejo, Santa Cruz department. (Communique, Sept. 18)

On Sept. 29, police used large quantities of tear gas to disperse demonstrators from outside the US embassy in La Paz. The protesters were demanding that the US government extradite Bolivian ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada to face genocide charges in Bolivia for the October 2003 massacre of 67 protesters in La Paz and neighboring El Alto. The Sept. 29 demonstration was organized by the Bolivian Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDHB) to kick off a series of events commemorating the massacre and the October 2003 protests which forced Sanchez de Lozada from office. (AFP, Sept. 29; Europa Press via Yahoo! Argentina Noticias, Sept. 29)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 3


On Oct. 17, Bolivian police arrested Aida Elizabeth Ochoa Mamani, a Peruvian member of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) who was previously jailed in Bolivia for the November 1995 kidnapping of businessperson and current Bolivian presidential candidate Samuel Doria Medina. La Paz district prosecutor Jorge Gutierrez said Ochoa was arrested in a vehicle with explosives; the Peruvian press claimed she was trying to take the explosives to Peru to reactivate the MRTA. Ochoa denied the charges and called her arrest a “setup.” Ochoa was paroled in January 2001 from the Miraflores prison in La Paz; she served more than four years of an eight-year sentence for criminal association, “ideological falseness” and “use of a falsified instrument” in connection with the 1995 kidnapping. (El Diario-La Prensa, NY, Oct. 20 from AFP, EFE; AFP, Oct. 19)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct 23


Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #113


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