Nov 02, 2003

Getting to grips with the Bolivian Revolution.

Bolivia has had a turbulent recent history. Like most countries in Latin America, it has been under the effective rule of the IMF and World Bank, and attracting the exploitative interest of multi-national corporations wanting to cream off natural resources. In this case the reserves of natural gas has been the target of British Petroleum and Repsol.

Three years ago, workers and unemployed people resisted the privatisation of the water supply. Water was privatised and a huge fight-back in Cochabamba led to police repression and rioting, several protesters lost their lives but ultimately the government had to back down, and against the wishes of the IMF, re-nationalised the water.

The government, until Friday 17 October, under Goni Sanchez de Lozada has, just like all the previous regimes, done the bidding of the international financial institutions and Multi-Nationals. Recently there has been a move to sell gas reserves to BP and Repsol. This asset-stripping of a country again has provoked inspiring resistance.

Over the past four weeks over 70 people have been killed by the US backed military. Word is that some soldiers have been executed for refusing to fire on demonstrators The president has resigned, the government has promised not to sell gas reserves to the multi nationals. But most disturbing is the interest shown by the US government. A popular resistance in Latin America cannot be seen to be successful – it may after all set a trend.

We say BP and Repsol, hands off Bolivia Gas! US government out of Bolivia!

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