In Bolivia, the political situation remained tense on Monday (12 November) following the military coup on the first of November which toppled the country's first civilian government in fifteen years.
In Bolivia, the political situation remained tense on Monday (12 November) following the military coup on the first of November which toppled the country's first civilian government in fifteen years. While negotiations between the leaders of the coup, parliamentary representatives and trade unionists were being held in La Paz in an attempt to end the crisis, demonstrators were out on the streets protesting against the army take-over. Banks declared a half-day strike in sympathy with the protestors.
SYNOPSIS: A memorial mass for those killed in clashes between armed troops and demonstrators since the coup, was held at the San Francisco Basilica in La Paz. Among the mourners was the deposed President Walter Guevara Arze and as he left the church he was mobbed by cheering supporters. Workers' organisations and human rights groups claim more than two hundred were killed in the fighting and about one hundred people have disappeared since the coup. Mr. Guevara told the crowd that the only solution to the crisis was the removal of the military government which overthrew him. Mr Guevara was appointed interim President in August after the three main election candidates failed to poll an absolute majority.
The four other members of the five-nation Andean Pact - Colombia Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela - have condemned the overthrow of Mr Guevara's government and alleged human rights violations in Bolivia since the coup which was led by Colonel Alberto Natusch.
Talks were held in the Congress Building between members of Parliament, labour leaders of the Bolivian Workers Confederation (COB) including the General-Secretary Juan Irs, and the military. Earlier in the week, Congress with the support of the COB, rejected any possibility of Colonel Natusch holding power in a future government.
Congress passed a resolution describing parliament as the only legitimate representative of the people but proposing that a triumvirate could be set up involving Congress, the COB and the armed forces. The military leaders have said they would agree to this and insisted on the inclusion of Colonel Natusch in the triumvirate. But Congress and the COB have demanded his exclusion. The crowd of demonstrators outside the Congress building shouted "Assassins" as the military leaders arrived for the negotiations.
A spokesman for the Armed Forces said he was confident the talks would lead to the restoration of peace in Bolivia, a return to democracy and the full enforcement of the constitution. While opposition to the take-over involved political and professional organisations and students, the Military High Command gave its full support to Colonel Natusch who originally only had the backing of a section of the armed forces.