As the military prepares to hand over power in Bolivia, President David Padilla Arancibia has warned his countrymen that political and social unrest is getting out of hand.
As the military prepares to hand over power in Bolivia, President David Padilla Arancibia has warned his countrymen that political and social unrest is getting out of hand. The Bolivian Cabinet resigned last Wednesday (9 May). It was the second time that the cabinet had quit since General Padilla took powers in a bloodless military coup, last November. At that time he promised the country free democratic elections. Last Friday (11 May) he swore in the new cabinet.
SYNOPSIS: Government House in La Paz The Palacia del Quemado was the scene of the swearing-in ceremony, when President Padilla read the oath to his new Ministers. The resignation of the old cabinet followed two days of protest over planned increases in fuel prices and widespread demand for wage increases. This mineral-rich country is in grave financial and economic difficulties. Foreign debts stand at some three billion dollars (U.S.) with exports totalling seven hundred million dollars (U.S.) annually.
Bolivia leads the world in coups and revolutions, two hundred since its independence from Spain in eighteen twenty-five. The promised elections have provoked a great deal of debate.
In March the President announced that the government had blocked an openly subversive plot to stop the electoral process.
Elections, held last July by ex-President Hugo Banzer were annulled on charges of ballot rigging. These new election looked like being a fairly straight-forward fight between Conservative groups and Leftist alliances but General Banzer's return from Argentina has aroused new fears of conspiracy.