After three week of political uncertainty, and a series of nationwide hunger strikes, Bolivian President Hugo Banzer has announced a political amnesty, to pave the way for general elections due to take place in July.
CU INTERIOR: interview with former President, Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas, speaking in Spanish.
GV PAN FROM: La Paz streets TO building site.
GV PAN FROM: building site sign TO partly completed building.
GV PAN: shuttered shops.
GV PULL OUT TO GV: Argentinian airline agency.
GV TILT UP: Boston bank.
GV: Lloyd Aereo Boliviano shop ZOOM INTO sign.
SV: Bolivian Bank PULL OUT TO GV building.
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Background: After three week of political uncertainty, and a series of nationwide hunger strikes, Bolivian President Hugo Banzer has announced a political amnesty, to pave the way for general elections due to take place in July.
SYNOPSIS: Until the announcement it seemed that the hunger strikers, who numbered about 1,000, were prepared for a long struggle. Their spokesman, former president Luis Siles Salinas, seen here in an interview before the announcement of the general amnesty, had re-iterated the hunger strikers' intention to carry on with their fasting until a series of demands had been met.
These demands included a general amnesty for political exiles and prisoners and a call for workers sacked because of labour union activities to be reinstated. The hunger strike started as a protest by four miners' wives and escalted to include over 1,000 people in eight cities. Government security forces tried to break up the strike by force when it was three weeks old, but this brought about calls for President Banzer's resignation from his own supporters.
The leader of the nor???aly pro-government right-wing Socialist Falange party, Jaime Ponce Caballero, condemned the intervention as savagery. Students also mounted street demonstrations.
But not all the demonstrations were against the President. A day before he attempt to end the strike by force there was a pro-government strike.
This had been ordered by a number of unions representing the managerial classes, who in Bolivia traditionally support the government. Shops and factories in La Paz closed.
The walk-out appeared to have government backing, although strikes have been banned since 1971, and was seen by some observers as a show of strength by President Banzer. It brought La Paz to a standstill for twenty four hours.
Despite this the government seems to have been forced to bow to most of the hunger strikers' demands. The announcement of the general amnesty, the strikers primary demand, was made by President Banzer during a midnight televisions broadcast.
But other demands including a call for the lifting of a ban on union activities, were no met.