from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On Aug. 4, residents of the southern Bolivian city of Camiri, in Santa Cruz department, lifted their general strike after Hydrocarbons Minister Jaime Dunn signed an agreement promising to speed up the re-establishment of the state oil company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales de Bolivia (YPFB). The agreement, reached after eight hours of negotiations, lays out a timetable under which the process will culminate in three weeks. The government also committed to install gas service in 3,800 homes in Camiri by 2006, and to locate the exploration and drilling management headquarters of the newly founded YPFB in Camiri. The re-establishment of the state firm was mandated by a hydrocarbons law enacted by Congress on May 17, but its implementation has been delayed.

Camiri residents had been blocking the main highway linking the city of Santa Cruz to the Argentine border since Aug. 1, and had begun a general civic strike on Aug. 3. The protests had threatened to spread throughout Bolivia’s Chaco region, center of the country’s oil and gas production.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Municipal Associations (FAME) and the Executive Committee of Bolivian Universities (CEUB) are planning a national protest if the government doesn’t agree to assign 20% of a new gas and oil tax to municipalities and 5% to higher education. In a joint communique, the municipalities and universities gave the government until Aug. 15 to include them in the distribution of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH), imposed by the new hydrocarbons law. Finance Minister Waldo Gutierrez said the demands cannot be met; in the case of the municipalities, he said that if they receive 20% of the tax, they will have to take over paying for health and education services. (Prensa Latina, Aug. 4; AP, Aug. 3, 4)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 7

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #112


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Sept. 1, 2005

Reprinting permissible with attribution