• Short Summary

    International Human Rights observers including delegates of Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches were in Bolivia on Sunday, (9 July) for the Presidential elections.

  • Description

    GV: people in the Plaza Murillo, La Paz and children feeding pigeons.

    LV: military guards outside presidential palace and guards at doorway to palace (3 shots)

    GV: armed troops getting off lorry and taking up positions outside national library (4 shots)

    CU: election boxes on steps of library guarded by armed troops

    SV INTERIOR: Election officials sorting papers as armed troops stand by (2 shots)

    SV: Lord Avebury interviewed by Visnews reporter John Arden. (2 shots)

    TRANSCRIPT: ARDEN: "Lord Avebury, what have been your observations out in Trinidad?"

    SEQ. 6: AVEBURY: "Well I think the election in Trinidad was as crooked as a piece of barbed wire. If you look at this piece of paper here, this shows the population as shown by the 1976 census, and this shows a number of people on the electoral rolls for the same places. Now everywhere I put an asterisk there, the inscritos, the number of people on the roll, exceed the number of people who were shown, men, women and children in 1976. And you can see that the majority of places were like that. Then you also see that in the places where I put two asterisks, the number of people shown on the electoral roll is in an exact multiple of 300 which is the number who vote at a particular table.

    So you've got 300,600, 900 people. Now doesn't it strike you as very odd that in a particular village you should have exactly 300 people entitled to vote. I asked the notaries this question and they didn't seem to think it was odd at all.

    ARDEN: "Have the findings of your colleagues in other areas been similar?"

    AVEBURY: "I'm afraid they have. And they've discovered widespread fraud, they've discovered people voting who are not entitled to be registered, people using fraudulent sedulas, the election cards, Intimidation by the military on polling day, who were supposed to be in the barracks. Propaganda of the official party plastered all over the polling stations, which is also illegal. There are so many illegalities in this election that I'm afraid that the results that will be finally announced will bear no relation to the truth whatsoever."

    ARDEN: "Do you think the government will accept you findings?"

    AVEBURY: "I don't see how they can very well avoid it. because there are nine of us. We come from different countries. We come from different backgrounds, we've approached this election in a spirit of impartiality, objectivity, and I'm very sorry to have...to say that the findings that we have reached, unanimously, are that this election is a total fraud."

    Senor Siles' Union Democratica Popular claimed results which assured it of overall victory on the grounds that it had won in La Paz city and department, and in Potosi and Sucre as well as in many of the mining areas. The Christian Democrat candidate, General Rene Bernal, who claimed victory in Oruro and Cochambamba joined Siles in denouncing intimidation and official fraud. The outgoing President Huge Banzer defied the electoral law, which lays down that all campaigning should end two days before polling, by appearing on television on the eve of polling to urge the electorate to vote for Pereda.

    Initials RH/1606


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: International Human Rights observers including delegates of Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches were in Bolivia on Sunday, (9 July) for the Presidential elections. It is alleged that Government-backed candidate General Juan Pereda Asbun, who has captured more than the 50 per cent of votes needed for outright victory, was swept into power in an election which has been described by the observers as "crooked from start to finish".

    SYNOPSIS: The two million voters of Bolivia were required by law to cast their votes. Because much of the population is peasant, and illiterate, there were coloured cards to represent each candidate. General Pereda Asbun's colour was green, and one of the allegations is that in some outlaying areas the people were only provided with green cards, thus ensuring him a certain victory.

    The opposition parties lead by General Pereda's nearest rival, Hernan Siles Zuazo have called on the armed forces to respect the will of the people over the results. It is reported that Senor Siles has been having talks with Labour leader Senor Juan Lechin, which could lead to a national strike in protest. At a press conference on Tuesday (11 July) Senor Siles claimed victory, accusing the government of perpetrating a massive fraud in favour of General Pereda. The General responded by calling Senor Siles an agent of "international extremism" whose campaign had been financed from abroad. One of the nine international observers was Lord Avebury of Britain, from the Catholic Institute for International Relations. In an interview with Visnews reporter John Arden he described what he had seen in the Trinidad region of Bolivia.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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