Bolivia: struggles continue under socialist Morales

Despite the election of Evo Morales from the Movement for Socialism as President of Bolivia, several strikes are in process and the persecution of the landless movement MST continues under the new regime.

Submitted by libcom on February 5, 2006

This week has seen an ongoing strike by pilots at private LAB. The Pilot Association paralyzed work Thursday demanding the reinstatement of 15 fired workers, alongside the cessation of lawsuits against three others, and payment of $8 million instalments to retirement funds that were deducted by LAB. The strike has continued since Thursday, and the Bolivian government has tried to intervene as an intermediary, with Bolivian Public Works Salvador Ric (the only entrepreneur in the Bolivian Cabinet) and Labour Minister Alex Galvez negotiating with both sides.

In two municipalities, there have been general strikes, while coca growers in the central region took a hostage and surrounded two 'eradicator camps'.

Meanwhile, the Landless Movement (MST) has come under pressure from the country's judicial authorities. MST leader Angel Duran denounced a conspiracy by judicial authorities to try him for the lynching of landowner Miguel Duplech, in 2003, to incriminate his organization and the poor farmers´ cause.

He denounced that the case´s attorneys are pressuring and potentially bribing several detained farmers, in a move backed by landowners to incriminate Duran and other MST leaders, as the brains behind Duplech's death or accomplices to it.

Duran told the Latin American News Agency, Prensa Latina, that the landowner, who died after the seizure by the MST of Munaypata farm, 124 miles west of La Paz, died in the context of the rural struggle against landownership and outrage against farmers.

He asserted that neither he nor the MST allowed the execution of Duplech, and said he would be willing to undergo a trial because he is not guilty of any charge.