A week of uprisings, street blockades, general strikes and conflict erupted on the height of the Bolivia's "gas war", finally forcing the president Sanchez de Losada to resign and to flee to Miami, Florida, US. Despite the army shooting protesters, leaving about a hundred dead and several hundred wounded, a wide coalition of miners, coca-farmers, highland peasants, indigenous, transport workers, teachers, pensioners, union members and many other sections of civil society, took to the streets to show their disagreement with the IMF enforced cheap sell-out of Bolivia's natural gas resources to the US. [Read a letter from Bolivia's capital La Paz]
This was the second major insurrection this year that took place in Bolivia. On February anothr revolt occured following tax rises, cuts in pensions and other neoliberal measures carried through on orders of the International Monetary Fond (IMF) Bolivia is not the only country in Latin America where clashes between social movements and governments have taken place; as cuts in the educational system (Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico), privatisation of state owned companies (Colombia), oppression of the indigenous population (Argentina, Chile, Colombia) and attacks on social projects and self-managed factories (Argentina) are repeatedly followed with protests, student riots and strikes, to which governments have reacted by enforcing repression and military style curfews.
To read the full feature containing background information, first hand reports, photos, timelines of events and daily updates of the week 13th - 19th of October, click on the "Read more" link below.
[For those who need the url: http://radio.uk1.indymedia.org/bolivia.pls or http://etherkiller.de/listen.pls]
- Chronicle of the fall of the gringo Sanchez de Losada.
- Statement of Mujeres Creando
- Carlos Mesa, new prisoner of palace, by Econoticiasbolivia
- pics about La Paz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
- Cochabamba [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
- other pics (Reuters/AP/TV): [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] 12
- Solidarity demonstrations in Buenos Aires | Berlin (report+picturesn in german) | Paris | Geneva.
- Map of Bolivia
- Zmag: Bolivias gas war
- ZNet: Bolivia watch
- Indymedia global [recent feature, past feature]
- Resource Centre of the Americas: [Roadblock continue, Five die in Altiplano protest]
- Archive on Nadir about Bolivia: [September, October]
- The Democracy Center On-Line: Bolivia in Crisis Over Gas Sale to California
More information [in Spanish]:
Updates 17.10.03: NEWSFLASH - President Resigns!
- President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada fleds to Miami. IMC-Bolivia reports (esp). Photos of Santa Cruz airport.
- Crowds are gathered around Bolivia's Congress awaiting the official resignation speech of the President as parliamentarians attempt to mantain formal "democracy".
- As of Friday, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada has resigned in a letter sent to the Bolivian Congress. [Reuters / Associated Press]
- A giant multitude have sieged the Presidential Palace throughout Thursday demanding Bolivia's President resignation as around a million people from all walks of life have joined on a national hunger strike until Sanchez de Lozada steps down. [Report]
- 120.000 demonstrate in La Paz. ++ embassy in Ecuador occupied. ++ Repression against the press: newspapers are confiscated, a broadcasting antenna got destroyed, a TV channel silenced and journalists wounded.
- Reports of conscript soldiers tortured and 15 of them executed for refusing to shoot on civilians. Report in Spanish.
- Almost all Bolivian social and political organisations are against the government and calling for strikes, blockades and mobilisations. The National Council of "Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyo" indigenous organisation has also called for a march on La Paz to lay siege to institutions to protest against the killings of indigenous people. They demand no less than the resignation of the President: Sanchez de Losada. Thousands of peasants and indigenous people are following this and other calls for action, circling the capital and blocking roads, mainly the main motorway between La Paz and El Alto.
- Cochabamba: fires in Prefectura (main police station) and some businesses.
- A journalist from Eriol Radio was shot in the back by the army this morning, he is still alive but in a critical condition. At the same time mass funerals are taking place in El Alto, of some of the 71 confirmed killed by security forces during the past few days.
- Reports of a general strike in La Paz, and the city being almost empty, whilst food shortages are beginning. The two only government buildings still operating are those of the Defense and Interior Ministries.
- Two more miners have been confirmed dead today and many injured during the violent clashes in Patacamaya.
- The co-ordination of Community Juntas are burying 15 people today in El Alto. A day of mourning without confrontations, as conflict moves to La Paz. There have been more than 60 people killed during the disturbances of the last few days. The Government has been accused of having already put aside money for compensation for deaths and injuries resulting from protests, before the beginning of mobilisations.
- The radio stream reports live as miners throw dynamite at police and army during violent clashes in Patacamaya (150 Km from La Paz) on the road from Oruro.
- Latest update from IMC-Argentina.
- 3,000 are demonstrating in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in solidarity with the people in Bolivia.
- Miners announce the occupation of mining companies in the regions Oruro, which are owned by the president (source: ORF.at).
- Three ministers and the vice-president have withdrawn their support for president Goni.
- Thousands of people from Oruro march towards La Paz.
- After the massacre on Sunday in El Alto the main focus of the fights moved to La Paz, where the government is situated. Here again at least 20 deaths of the civilian population occurred. The whole country is revolting at the moment, and the government was forced to order further troops to La Paz.
- Already in the evening new units with 8 tanks and about 10 troop transporters have entered the city. At the same time tens of thousand of protesters started to march from Oruro and Achacachi to support the rioters in La Paz.
- summary of Monday events
- Thousands of people force police retreat
- Smells like Insurrection
- Short improvised translation of the live radio stream
- No way to La Paz
- Sunday, 12th of October: 30 deaths in Bolivia according to Indymedia
- 25 killed in "War for Gas" on Sunday 13th of October, Bolivia
- map of the battle in El Alto
- translation of previous feature
Imc UK - in cooperation with other IMCs