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After Weeks of Mass Rebellion, New President in Bolivia

HeadlineJun 10, 2005

After weeks of rebellion led by indigenous protesters, Bolivia has a new president. At 11:47 last night, the President of Bolivia’s Supreme Court was sworn in after a day marked by massive protest and widespread fears of a bloodbath or a civil war. The situation in the country remains tense but many believe that the worst case scenario has been avoided. Throughout the day yesterday, the right-wing head of the Bolivian Senate, Hormando Vaca Diez, was manuevering behind the scenes and in public to take control of the country. Meanwhile, indigenous leaders and other opposition groups vowed to bring Vaca Diez down by force if necessary if he took power. Earlier this week, President Carlos Mesa resigned amid massive protest against his government, giving Vaca Diez an opportunity to take power as his constitutional successor. After resigning, Mesa joined opposition calls for Vaca Diez and the Speaker of the House to step aside and allow the president of the Supreme Court to assume the presidency and organize new elections. But throughout yesterday, Vaca Diez seemed bent on rejecting those calls and was said to be negotiating with the military. In order to take over Vaca Diez needed to convene the Congress, which he could not do in La Paz because of the massive protests. Yesterday, he moved lawmakers to the historical capitol, Sucre, in an attempt to meet. Again protests prevented that from happening until late last night. Before that meeting happened, Vaca Diez was taken by the military to a secure base, where he announced he would not seek the presidency. After a tense day in which one protest leader was killed and rumors floated of a possible coup d’etat, Eduardo Rodriguez was sworn in. After taking the oath of office, the Harvard Law graduate briefly addressed the country.

“Democracy and the sense of union and peace is the best destination for Bolivians.”

Bolivia’s new President Eduardo Rodriguez. He was sworn in at 11:47 last night. We’ll have more on this in a moment.

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