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Two More Killed in Bolivia; Opposition Leaders Reject President's Offer on Gas Export Deal

October 16, 2003
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As many as 86 people have been killed in the four weeks of demonstrations against President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. We go to Cochabamba, Bolivia to speak with a consultant for the Washington Office on Latin America.

Two miners were killed and scores more wounded in Bolivia yesterday as tank-backed troops and police opened fire on demonstrators converging on the country’s capital of La Paz.

A human rights group is saying that 86 people have been killed in the four weeks of demonstrations against President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. This according to Agence France Presse.

President Sanchez de Lozada offered to call a referendum on a five billion dollar natural gas U.S.-export deal that triggered protests across the country.

Opposition leaders Evo Morales and Felipe Quispe immediately rejected the offer and renewed their demand that Sanchez de Lozada resign.

In a televised address to the nation, the president also warned that if his proposal was not accepted and violence continued, "it will become evident that protesters were aiming to thwart constitutional order." He has rejected calls to stand down.

The BBC is reporting that an Indian leader is prepared to wage civil war to remove President de Lozada. Efrain Mancilla Maicu said in a telephone statement, "We are ready because we prefer to die now than always to be suffering."

  • Kathryn Ledebur, Director of the Andean Information Network and a consultant for the Washington Office on Latin America. She joins us on the phone from Cochabamba, Bolivia.

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