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Bolivia holding political prisoners!

Call for Bolivia! Evo Morales menaced, 60 leaders arrested!
About a week ago, a month of military provocations in Bolivia finally culminated in a demonstration of peasants....The government immediately arrested more than 60 union leaders, including several well known to PGA and the antiglobalisation movement...
Call for Bolivia! Evo Morales menaced, 60 leaders arrested

Friends!
About a week ago, a month of military provocations in Bolivia finally culminated in a demonstration of peasants of the Cinco Federaciones in the Cochabamba region in which several peasants and four soldiers were shot
(rather strange, as the peasants don't go to demos with rifles...) The government immediately arrested more than 60 union leaders, including several well known to PGA and the antiglobalisation movement, such as
Leonilda (who demonstrated with us in Prague).
The parliament has voted to lift the immunity of the most popular (and only indigenous) deputy in the country, Evo Morales, leader of the Cinco Federaciones. He is accused of being the "intellectual author" of the killings (remember Tony Negri...?). Why not send him to Guantanamo while
they are at it?

All those who were in Cochabamba last september for the 3rd Peoples' Global Action conference (hosted by the Cinco Federaciones) remember the personal threats made by the US ambassador against Evo. (Evo had had the gall to
regret the victims of September 11th and those of US imperialism at the same time!) No one can doubt that this is a new and grave escalation of the planned US agression against the popular movements of the Andes. This is a
time when friendships should show.

I propose that the "Global Cacerolazo" scheduled for SATURDAY/SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2/3, against the World Economic Forum in NY and in support of the Argentine popular uprising, be broadened to include a demand for the
immediate liberation of all political prisoners in Bolivia.

L'ejercito fuera del Tropico!

.....

PS. Please send protests (see below) from your organisations to the Bolivian government, media and human rights organisations.


Urgent Message: Repression in Bolivia and suspension of the
parliamentary immunity of Evo Morales

DESPACHO PRESIDENTE DEL H. CONGRESO NACIONAL
VICEPRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA DE BOLIVIA
S.E. Jorge Quiroga Ramírez
 prescong@congreso.gov.bo

SECRETARÍA GENERAL
Gustavo Aliaga Palma
Fax 00 591 2 201211
 secgen@vicepres.gov.bo

Sir,

These last weeks, the Bolivian government has repeatedly violated human
rights, provoking an extremely grave situation, particularly for the
indigenous peasant population in the region of Tropico de Cochabamba.

Since december, the Bolivian government, with the pretext of the war on
narcotrafic, executing a plan for the forced militarisation of the
Tropico
region, has brutally repressed the numerous peaceful protests organised
by
the people of this region, in majority indigenous. A few days ago, this
activity finally provoked violent incidents between the military and
the
cocalero farmers. In the city of Sacaba, a number of demonstrators were
assassinated and others wounded or imprisoned. However, four military
were
also killed in the clashes.

Jumping on the occasion, and with the excuse of a petion submitted by
the
families of the dead soldiers, the governement ordered the arrest of
more
than sixty union leaders of different organisations, mostly from the
Tropico de Cochabamba. The parliament, on the instigation of the
government
and under military pressure, decided in an unprecedented move, to
suppress
the immunity of national deputy, Evo Morales, the internationally known
union leader, accused of being the "intellectual author" of the
killings.

In just as arbitrary fashion, the authorities have ordered Evo Morales
to
pay a huge financial "indemnisation" to the rich owner of a luxury
hotel
invoking "economic losses" during days of social conflict. (Just as
though
MAI or FTA already existed!)

At the same time, and without any apparent motive, the Bolivian
authorities
have shut down Radio Soberania (Radio Sovereignty), the radio of the
Cinco
Federaciones in the region.

In view of all these grave and obvious violations of human rights
garanteed
by the Bolivian constitution, we demand the respect of legal and human
rights, the liberation of the arbitrarily arrested unionists, the
restauration of deputy Evo Morales' legitimate rights, the re-opening
of
Radio Soberania and the opening of the real dialog of national
reconciliation, under the auspices of the Church, which has been
demanded
by the principle sectors of Bolivian society.


date and signature:


URGENTE!!

DESPACHO PRESIDENTE DEL H. CONGRESO NACIONAL
VICEPRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA DE BOLIVIA
S.E. Jorge Quiroga Ramírez
 prescong@congreso.gov.bo

SECRETARÍA GENERAL
Gustavo Aliaga Palma
Fax 00 591 2 201211
 secgen@vicepres.gov.bo

Estimado Senor Ramirez,

En estas últimas semanas, el gobierno boliviano ha perpetrado repetidas
violaciones de derechos humanos originando una situación, altamente
preocupante en el país, con nefastas consecuencias particularmente en
la
población indígena y más concretamente en el campesinado de la región
del
Trópico de Cochabamba.

Es así que desde el pasado mes de diciembre de 2001, el gobierno
boliviano,
bajo el pretexto de lucha contra el narcotráfico, y en ejecución de su
programa de militarización forzosa de la región del Trópico, viene
reprimiendo brutalmente y con métodos expeditivos las numerosas
manifestaciones pacíficas de protesta organizadas por la población
civil de
dicha región, mayoritariamente indígena. Esta situación ha abocado,
hace
unos días, en violentos enfrentamientos callejeros entre fuerzas
gubernamentales y campesinos colacaleros. De modo que en la ciudad de
Sacaña
varios manifestantes han sido detenidos, heridos y asesinados, pero
también
cuatro miembros militares resultaron muertos en los enfrentamientos.

Amparándose de esta situación, y a petición de los parientes de los
militares muertos, el gobierno boliviano ha ordenado la detención de
más de
60 dirigentes sindicalistas de las diferentes organizaciones
campesinas, en
su mayoría pertenecientes al Trópico de Cochabamba. El parlamento, a
instigación
de las autoridades bolivianas y bajo presión militar, ha decidido, en
el
marco de un proceso inédito, la supresión de la inmunidad del diputado
nacional Evo Morales Ayma, destacado dirigente sindicalista
internacionalmente conocido, acusado de "autor intelectual" de las
muertes
de los militares. Mientras la misma justicia boliviana sigue buscando a
los
verdaderos asesinos de los soldados fallecidos.

Mediante el mismo procedimiento arbitrario, las autoridades bolivianas
han
impuesto al dirigente sindical Evo Morales Ayma el pago de una
millonaria
indemnización a una rica propietaria de un lujoso hotel invocando
"pérdidas
económicas" durante los conflictos sociales.

Por otra lado, sin motivo aparente, la radio Soberanía propiedad de la
Federación de Cocaleros, que venía emitiendo en el Chapare desde hace
mucho
también ha sido cerrada por órden del Gobierno.

Por todo ello, en vista de este notorio atropelio de los derechos
humanos y
violación de las libertades democráticas, garantizadas por la misma
constitución boliviana, pedimos el gobierno y las instituciones
bolivianas
de respetar los procedimientos que vienen garantizados en un estado de
derecho, con la liberación inmediata de todos los sindicalistas
arbitrariamente detenidos, la rehabilitación de los derechos légitimos
del
diputado Evo Morales, la reapertura de la radio Soberanía y el inicio
de un
verdadero diálogo de reconciliación nacional, bajo los auspicios de la
Iglesia, como lo reclaman los principales sectores de la población
civil
boliviana.


enero de 2002