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Bolivia--Protests in Cochabamba

category bolivia / peru / ecuador / chile | community struggles | news report author Tuesday February 20, 2007 02:00author by Freedom Report this post to the editors

from FREEDOM, January 27, 2007, page 2

The streets of Cochabamba were once again the scene of clashes between social movemenents and supporters of the unpopular mayor.

Bolivia--Protests in Cochabamba

from FREEDOM, January 27, 2007, page 2

The streets of Cochabamba were once again the scene of clashes between social movemenents and supporters of the unpopular mayor. Peasants, natives, cocaleros (coca leaf growers) and independent groups have been protesting since the beginning of the week demanding the renunciation of mayor Manfred Reyes Vila. After violent repression during a march on Monday, the movements remained in the central square (14th September) for a vigil. Vigils are also being held in other squares in the central area.

On Thursday 11th January, a march of the mayor's supporters penetrated the police blockade in the centre of the city and struck tens of demonstrators of the social movements with baseball bats, sticks, firearms and knives in an attempt to resume control of the square where city hall is located. The police advanced using tear gas, which provoked violent clashes. The number of injured people grows. So far there are around 115 injured and two dead: cocalero Nicomedes Gutierrez of the Chimore Central was killed by a gunshot and Cristian Urresty, of the group Youths for Democracy, was killed by strangulation.

Manfred, the mayor, abandoned Cochabamba the same morning the clash was announced, and took refuge in a hotel in La Paz. That afternoon, during the confrontations, a meeting was carried out with the mayor's allies in the cities Benji, Tarija, Santa Cruz, La Paz and Cochabamba. They agreed they would not establish a dialogue with the federal government and they would carry out actions in solidarity with the Cochabamba mayor. That night, the federal government announced that during the clash three people were detained with firearm, all connected to the Civic Committee of Cochabamba and that the "intolerance and lack of negotiations" on the part of Manfred resulted in the serious social conflict.

author by Juan Carlos Guardiapublication date Wed Feb 21, 2007 02:09author address Cochabamba, Boliviaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I note that this article is a reprint from "Freedom" Jan27, Page 2, but since I have read it on you site. I will comment.

I think it is the worse bit of garbage that you have reprinted about the Cochabamba protest. Manfred Reyes Villa IS NOT the mayor of Cochabamba, but the Governor (Prefecto) elected by popular vote just like Evo the President. He is unpopular ONLY with the MAS Gov. and its followers, because he does not believe in there style of of dictating. This article, also did not mention that the MAS Gov. through the Cocaleros Syndicate in "Chapare" brought all these peasants by "force" and "threats" to siege the city of Cochabamba, until Manfred resigned. Your article also did not mention that these Coaleros burnt the Govs. palace in the main plaza ( a beautiful historic old building) and threaten the city people as they walked around the streets. Even I was asked to show my ID card, by these "Indios" as I went down town, even the police, in the past have never asked me to show my ID card. How disgusting!!!!. So the city people got sick in tired of these intruders destroying, burning and seiging our city .... AND everyone knew that the Central Gov. was behind all this crap. Your report said that the "Mayor's supporters" struck the social movements with knives, baseball bats etc. This is true....but what what wasn't said that the Social Movements also had firearms, dynamite. knives etc. and also caused the city and its people lot of chaos. Manfred did not run to La Paz. All the elected Govs. not of the MAS got together in a hotel in La Paz and then Manfred went on to Santa Cruz, as yes it was unsafe for him, but again the threat to him was from the MAS, Evo and his followers, NOT the city of Cochabamba.... EVEN though the Central Gov. wants people to believe that crock of crap and they have said this a 100 times, but those of us who live here in the city know that that is not true. The "Intolerance and lack of negotiations" ... if we are honest and tell it as it is, was on BOTH sides, but those of us again who live in the city, saw it more, from, like you call it, the Federal Gov. side. THEY are the ones who the peasants and cocaleros by truck loads, again using threats and even money....I saw it with my own eyes .... talk yourself to the Chapare cocaleros and if they are honest they will tell you like it is. The MAS Gov. used them to seige the city. What Evo did not account on was the reaction of the city people,,,,, that is why he is embarrassed and puts the fault on every one else except the Gov. itself and that is where the bigger of the two faults lies. Manfred, I agree... should have never talked about "autonomy." Picked the wrong time and topic,,,, though he had every Constitutional right to do so. No matter What your political thinking is... if somebody comes into your home and burns and destroys your property and threatens you, YOU react and throw those persons out. That is exactly what he people of the city of Cochabamba did. Our beautiful city was not to be destroyed by outsiders, brought in by the Government. It has caused lot of heart ache and sorrow, but the only one to really blame is the central Gov. even though they will NEVER admit to it and put the blame on Manfred. Politics are crappy to say the lest. A Nation needs to protect its citizens no matter what color or thinking they are. I hope this will happen in Bolivia.
May your reporters tell BOTH sides of a story.

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