Bolivian Uprising is Another Blow to Corporate Globalization in Latin America
Interview with Jim Schultz, executive director of the Democracy Center, conducted by Scott Harris
After weeks of rising popular anger and police violence which killed some 75 protesters, Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigned from office and fled to Miami. The latest in a series of confrontations between the country's poor majority indigenous population and the government involved widespread opposition to a deal that would have sold Bolivian natural gas to the U.S. and Mexico, via a Chilean port.
The outgoing president, a U.S. ally and staunch supporter of free trade and neoliberal economic policies, was replaced by his vice president Carlos Mesa, a journalist and historian who is quite new to politics. As he was sworn into office, Mesa pledged to hold a national referendum to gain approval for any future arrangement to export Bolivian natural gas and to discuss limiting his own term in office by scheduling a special election.
Over the last several years, Bolivia's poor have risen up to overturn the privatization of a major city's water system and derailed the International Monetary Fund's plan to impose harsh budget cuts to social services. Between the Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jim Schultz, executive director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, who analyzes the roots of that nation's popular rebellion and the wider significance for the growing global and regional movement resisting U.S.-backed economic policies of free trade, privatization and concessions to multi-national corporations.
Contact the Democracy Center by calling (415) 564-4767 or visit their website at www.democracyctr.org
"Poor vs. Profit in Bolivian Revolt," by Keith Slack, the Los Angeles Times, Oct. 19, 2003
*"Carlos Mesa New Leader in Troubled Bolivia as Former President Quits," Agence France Press, Oct. 18, 2003
*" Bolivia on 'Brink of Catastrophe,' U.S. Urged to Mediate" by Jim Lobe, OneWorld.net, Oct. 17, 2003
*" The World Trade Organization, The International Monetary Fund, and World Bank," International Forum on Globalization, www.ifg.org, "Analysis" link
*"The IMF Fiddles While La Paz Burns," by Kurt Nimm, Counterpunch.org, Feb. 20, 2003
* International Forum on Globalization at www.ifg.org
* Council on Hemispheric Affairs at www.coha.org
* North American Congress on Latin America at www.nacla.org
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