On Wednesday (6 August) Bolivia celebrated the 150th anniversary of its independence. Among the festivities?
On Wednesday (6 August) Bolivia celebrated the 150th anniversary of its independence. Among the festivities were long and colourful parades.
Bolivian President Hugo Banzer played host to the Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez as they watched the processions from a balcony.
Marchers passed by with flags, musical instruments and regional costumes.
Bolivia achieved its independence on 6 August 1825 but in a series of wars since then it has lost much of its original territory.
It is now a landlocked Andean nation of about 5- million inhabitants, 86 percent of them either Indian or Mestizo, and the remainder European, mainly Spanish.
President Banzer rose to power in a coup d'etat in August, 1971, and has retained power ever since - an unusual feat in a country that has seen 187 changes of government in its 150 year history. President Banzer is the country's 58th President.
Despite the festive atmosphere of the anniversary celebrations, there has been a bitter dispute between some members of the Catholic clargy and the Government over the anniversary.
Bolivian bishops had asked the Government to order an amnesty for political prisoners to mark the anniversary but the Government responded by claiming that it had uncovered another plot, in which some nuns were allegedly involved, to organise a general strike. About 30 arrests were made in connection with the investigation.