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Friday, October 10, 2003 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Clark Under Fire In Democratic Presidential Debate
2003-10-10

9 Killed in Street Battles Between Army Troops and Protesters in Bolivia Over the Past Month

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A new cycle of conflict has developed in Bolivia as worker unions, coca farmers and ordinary citizens unite to prevent the sale of the nation’s gas reserves to the United States through a Chilean port. We got to Bolivia to hear from a member of the Bolivian Movement Against the FTAA.

Two people were killed and 10 injured in Bolivia yesterday as army troops clashed with protesters in street battles around the country’s capital of La Paz.

Authorities say a miner died when explosives carried by protesting workers went off accidentally. Later, a student was shot dead as a three-week-old wave of demonstrations against unpopular President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada again turned violent. Seven Bolivians were killed in clashes a month ago when tens of thousands protested in cities across the country.

President de Lozada, a key U.S. ally in the war on drugs, has played down the protests and defied calls to step down. He is widely unpopular for failing to alleviate the poverty that engulfs two thirds of the population of Bolivia.

The new cycle of conflict has developed in Bolivia as worker unions, coca farmers and ordinary citizens unite to prevent the sale of the nation’s gas reserves to the United States through a Chilean port.

Chile has had tense diplomatic relations with Bolivia because of a longtime border dispute.

Also, on Wednesday, Bolivians commemorated the 36th anniversary of famed guerilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia. Che Guevara led a peasant uprising in Bolivia in 1966 aimed at toppling the military regime. He was captured in an ambush and executed on October 9, 1967.

  • Pablo Solon, organizer with the Bolivian Movement Against the FTAA, which is a coalition of over 300 groups in Bolivia who are part of the massive protests and general strike opposing the country’s gas export industry.

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