Bolivia's military ruler, President Luis Garcia Meza, has announced reforms in the country's all-important mining industry.
GV INTERIOR President Luis Garcia enters room and takes his seat inside the Presidential Palace
SCU Garcia speaking in Spanish (3 shots)
GV PAN Milluni mine near La, Paz, Bolivia
GV Entrance to mine shaft
SVs Truck unloading minerals (2 shots)
SV Wagons carrying tin from mine and unloading (4 shots)
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Background: Bolivia's military ruler, President Luis Garcia Meza, has announced reforms in the country's all-important mining industry. The reforms are designed to bolster the industry, which is Bolivia's biggest export earner, and improve conditions for miners. The miners gave the President's junta a tough time when he took over from the civilian government in July (1980), holding strikes and giving armed resistance throughout the country.
SYNOPSIS: President Luis Garcia led a military coup on July 17 (1980), seizing power after a nationwide rightist-inspired rebellion followed an inconclusive election. At a news conference in La Paz on Wednesday (17 September) the President announced reforms aimed specifically at the country's miners who led a revolt against the military regime when it first took power. He pledged to improve their living and working conditions and restructure the mining industry, which is vital to Bolivia's fragile economy.
The new mining policy is to include a new tax system and policies to defend prices. President Luis Garcia predicted the measures would be put into effect before the end of next year. Tin mining earns tow-thirds of the country's foreign exchange. Conditions for the miners, however, are poor and western trade unions have campaigned for improvement.
The President is reported to have taken both these factors into consideration when framing the new policy.
The Milluni mine, near La Paz, was the scene of serious resistance to the military junta. Soon after the junta took power the miners took over the mines and called for an uprising. But government troop moved in and broke up the miners strike at the end of July. The military pressure speeded up an official agreement between the junta and the miners, which was dependent upon the miners promising not to take part in what the government called political and subversive activities. President Luis Garcia has described the reforms as a "vast social programme" to ease the miners' lot. Despite reforms in the economic area, the leader of Bolivia's 189th coup since it became independent 150 years ago has come under considerable pressure from the Catholic Church. Leaders of the church have rebuked the President, accusing his regime of assassinations, torture and persecution.