President Hugo Banzer of Bolivia named four new Minister to his Cabinet, at a ceremony in La Paz on Monday (10 September).
President Hugo Banzer of Bolivia named four new Minister to his Cabinet, at a ceremony in La Paz on Monday (10 September). Three days earlier, he had obtained the resignations of all his Ministers in order to form a new Government.
Contrary to expectations, President Banzer did not bring more military men into the Cabinet. In fact, he reduced the number of portfolios held by the military from six to five. An independent was appointed to replace Major Mario Escobar Guerra as Minister Secretary of the Presidency. President Banzer left one portfolio vacant, and now rules with an 18-man Cabinet.
The re-shuffle left the two parties supporting President Banzer's military regime -- the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) and the Bolivian Socialist Falange (FSB) -- with five portfolios each. The Armed Forces also hold five portfolios, and three are held by independents.
Earlier in September, Bolivian trade unions, spearheaded by militant copper miners, defied the government by re-constituting their Bolivian Workers Centre (COB) Federation, which had been dissolved by President Banzer in 1971.
The workers said the President's election plans were a farce and added that they were opening a campaign for the establishment of a socialist government.
There are also reports of unrest among the MNR and FSB -- parties looked upon as support for the military regime. President Banzer seized power in 1971 after toppling President Juan Jose Torres in a brief civil war.