Skip to comments.Uprising/Revolution in Bolivia Breaking RIGHT NOW?!!!
Posted on 10/14/2004 4:17:07 PM PDT by ChicagoHebrew
I'm writing this from an internet cafe in La Paz, Bolivia. About fifteen minutes ago, I started to hear what I think was gunfire and cannon fire from right outside the cafe. It was shortly followed by bullhorns booming and people chanting. The gunfire is intermittent now.
I have no idea what's happening.
On the March : Aymara peasants march along a Bolivian altiplano road toward the capital La Paz near Panduro, La Paz, Bolivia. (AFP/Aizar Raldes)
Thousands of Bolivian peasant farmers have begun marching on La Paz, calling for ex-President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada to be put on trial.
The marchers blame him for the deaths of some 80 people last year in violent protests against government plans to export natural gas.
They also want Congress to give the state more power in the energy sector.
The march comes nearly a year after Mr Sanchez de Lozada, now in exile in the US, was forced to resign by the unrest.
The Bolivian Congress will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to open proceedings against Mr Sanchez de Lozada.
Two former members of the ex-president's cabinet may also face trial.
The marchers, who are being led by coca-growers' leader and opposition politician Evo Morales, are expected in La Paz at the weekend.
Bolivia has the second-largest natural gas reserves in Latin America, and economists say exporting gas is the only way to pull the country out of poverty.
But Bolivia's impoverished indigenous Indian majority believe the export plan will merely benefit the country's wealthy elite.
They want the gas to be nationalised and made available exclusively to the Bolivian people.
The latest protest over the future of Bolivia's gas industry comes just days before the 17 October anniversary of Mr Sanchez de Lozada's resignation from the presidency last year.
It also comes as his successor, Carlos Mesa, is facing a political backlash against his efforts to defuse the controversial gas issue.
In July, Mr Mesa won a five-point referendum allowing more exports of the country's lucrative natural gas reserves.
But the wording of the referendum was so complicated that the Bolivian Congress has been able to put forward a very different interpretation of what it meant.
The economic development committee has now rewritten the government's draft energy bill, imposing harsher taxes on foreign companies investing in Bolivia's energy sector.
Government ministers have warned that if the bill passes in its present form, it will mean an end to all foreign investment.
A year old picture.
An injured man is wheeled away for help after being shot by army soldiers during a demonstration against former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada on the outskirts of La Paz, in this file photo from October 12, 2003. Bolivia's Congress voted on October 14, 2004, to authorize the Supreme Court to try Sanchez de Lozada for the bloody repression against demonstrators that left 67 dead and some 200 injured, and ended in his resignation in October, 2003. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
How many revolutions have they had in Bolivia? 100? 200?
Sanchez de Lozada was forced to step down on Oct 17 last year, amid massive unrest triggered by the government's plan to export natural gas through Chile, a traditional foe, and general dissatisfaction with the country's economic condition.
Sanchez de Lozada, 74, now lives in the United States. He was replaced by his vice-president, Mr Carlos Mesa. -- AFP
That reminds me. Once I was waiting for a plane in Dallas and saw Charles Nelson Reilly (waiting for a plane as well) in a bar so I decided to sit in. To make a long story short I later got on the wrong plane. When they found out I didn't belong on that plane I had to get my bag out of the upper compartment. There was a packet of suger lying on the shelf and when I slid my bag off it poured down a guys neck.
Jimmy Carter should be forced at gunpoint onto a boat headed TO Cuba.
How many revolutions have they had in Bolivia...200? They cannot be made free and prosperous because they do not have the culture of freedom and prosperity. This latest exercize in futility will end in yet another dismal, backward country... again!
There was a Freeper "reporting" from aftermath of the August 2003 Mumbai bombing. I just can't find the thread.
It is THE destination for climbers and backpackers who have tired of red tape, Maoist rebels and overcrowding in Nepal.
I've been there twice now, and will return when I have the chance.
PRayers are being said for you right now.
Aren't those annual events?
Not likely, the organized pissed off group is the cocaleros who are marching on LaPaz to protest the government's plan to forcibly wipe out coca farming in three years.
Add the cocaine armies from Colombia who rely on Bolivia's coca and things are going to get very ugly.
Great! Now sKerry, Edwards littlehands and the MSM have something else to blame on Bush!
This is the way it works. Bolivia for the first time in its history has a legal natural resource that can put it on the map.
A few years ago, they developed their gas deposits, and built a 2000 mile long pipeline to Brazil to sell it. The pipeline puts thousands of people to work building it, and the income gives a bankrupt government some legal income.
But Brazil went into a recession, and has begun to develope its own gas deposits, and has stopped taking all the gas it was contracted to take. Bad news for Bolivia.
They decided that, rather than be tied to Brazil's business cycle, they would punch another pipeline out to the Pacific, and sell to the world. Thats when the trouble started. The Tribes and the NGOs that work with them decided that selling gas on the world market would enslave them. Their leaders (advised by Euro NGOs mind you) told the people that gas was alien to their culture, unlike coca which was authenticly Bolivian.
So the tribes and the coca farmers (mostly one and the same) rose up and tried to overthrow the government. Some of them were killed in the rioting, but the President was eventually forced to resign to restore peace. He is in the US.
He will be charged with murder for the deaths caused when the cocaleros tried to overthrow him.
Meanwhile, Chavez of Venezuela met with the leader of the revolt to encourage him to stay firm, which gave us the rather grotesque picture of the richest oil producer in the hemisphere encouraging the poorest country in the world to stay out of the oil and gas business. I have come to the conclusion that the NGOs and environmental groups that work with the tribes are funded by OPEC.
FReepers on the ground ping
Bolivia is the country that had three presidents in one day...
Keep your head down, head for the consulate, if you know where that is and don't speak English.
Also a good idea to slip one of your id's into your shoe.
I sat out many a riot in a donut shop or coffee bar.
They slam down those big metal doors and you are as safe as is possible under those circumstances.
Bolivian soccer fans celebrate after the national team defeated Peru in their World Cup qualifier, at Hernando Siles stadium in La Paz, October 9, 2004. Bolivia won the match 1-0. REUTERS/Jose Luis Quintana
Street vendors march in downtown La Paz, Bolivia on Monday, Oct. 4, 2004. The protesters were marching against the La Paz city mayor's project of decreasing the size of their stands in the streets. (AP Photo/Dado Galdieri)
Banana Republic coup...
Political demonstrations are interesting. But as a traveller, they're one of the most dangerous situations you can get yourself into. Avoid temptation, and move directly away from any political demonstrations while abroad.
Long way from Chicago. (Where such things only happen on election day.) Stay safe -- seriously.
LMAO -Was that ever timely - but just spewed water all over my cat in my lap...now he is pezzzzzzzed off big time and used my bare leg to push off on.
Prayers and hugs sent. Please be careful.
The second, bigger protest that I literally stumbled into was more peaceful and consisted of people opposing the former president, and celebrating his arrest or something.
I got some fantastic pics of that protest (when I stumbled upon it, I literally rushed in to buy a camera and film). They set a couple of bonfires up in the streets, had people carrying torches, and people dressed as the former president in a prison uniform locked in a cage.
I should be able to get the film developed in a few days, and I'll try to scan a few pics to get them digitized. If people are interested, I'd be happy to post my pics on this thread. I have no idea how to actually post pictures, so if someone would mind either telling me or pm-ing me their e-mail address so I can send them the pics to post, that'd be great. Just let me know if y'all are interested.
I can´t believe they'd actually eradicate coca farming totally. Something like 80% of the population chews coca or drinks coca tea (neither of which are narcotic), and the indigeneous people -- who are only partially Christian -- still view coca as sacred. Maybe they will just try to control it better?
Yup, I'm backpacking and hiking. Heading to Uyuni tommorow.
The SW corner of the country is where it's at, friend.
How's the coffee?
It's pathetic to think of those poor people too ignorant to realize that their "liberators" are actually enslaving them.
Just another wedding party.
Wow, next chance I get, I am going.
!Usted es muy lejos de Chicago!
I'm thinking Venezuela funded it with the political organizational help of Cuba. Iran might have a hand in it too, being that IMO they might have become a small paymaster for Cuba in post-Soviet times.
The official phrase was "forcibly eradicate" by 2008. It's a war.
You need a little adventure in your life, keyboard jockey? Tell you what, when you find it, I'll buy you an orange juice.
I've watched several "protests" in the banana republics supposedly against the guv'ment which were organized by the same. It's an old trick. Latins are experts at populism. Too bad they suck at justice.
Not saying that's what this one is about, but you never know. Nothing happens by itself in these countries.
Ah, reminds me of the good ol' days of attempted coup d' etat in Buenos Aires...
Stay safe, CH. Cuídate.
ChicagoHebrew, keep your head down and get somewhere safe.
I'd say this protest is much larger than farmers and their tea.
Btw, have you seen the teeth of the cocoa chewer? Ain't pretty. The tea ain't so right, either. Not narcotic, but hardly benign.
Screwed-up government, but Bolivians are some of the nicest, humblest people on the face of the earth. Well, outside of the soccer stadiums.
I appreciate that offer of a bit of OJ.
I have had a lot of adventures over the years and always I am interested at the potential for more excitement. Perhaps I should consider South America as I have already seen a lot of the northern continent.
Extremely interesting post, thanks.
Hey, I was in Tiananmen Square in Beijing shortly before the massacre. I know.
Uh. Wouldn't it be better to become Amish, get a nice buggy and settle down with a nice Amish girl on a big old farm and have a bunch of kids - in Pennsylvania? You could wear neat outfits with wide brim hats and suspenders. - R U O K?
Uh. Why are you in such an unruly place?
Isn't the internet amazing? Keep safe and thanks for the post! Going native is pretty exciting, no? ;)
Maybe it's the futbol game against Argentina ...
Sounds like a typical futbol celebration.
I'm in Buenos Aires and if I wasn't so lazy right now I'd go check the bar scene down the street.
Anyway they played Chile last night so I doubt they are playing Bolivia tonight.
You can thank Chavez for this whole thing. One of Bush's worst decisions - actually, one of Colin Powell's worst decisions - was not to let the Venezuelan generals who had Chavez at the airport after the attempted rebellion either shoot him or fly him off to exile in some place like Antarctica.
He'll be causing or aiding and abetting trouble throughout Latin America as long as he's alive.
Will somebody please dig up Simon Bolivar, reanimate him, and give him enough troops to pacify the South American continent? We need that gas up here in the USA.
BTW, there's a town called Bolivar in upstate NY. Supposedly an impressive statue of Simon Bolivar in the local museum. Wonder what the connection is?
did anyone see kerry's sister down there ?