Bolivia's interim President, Lidia Gueiler, swore in eight new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday (7 April) in preparation for general elections in June.
SV: Bolivian President Lidia Gueiler swearing in Cabinet members PAN TO Cabinet being sworn in. (2 shots)
SV: President Gueiler delivering speech to Cabinet members and officials in Spanish
SV: Teachers seated in hall, with children (3 shots)
SVs AND CVs: Signs outside three schools closed by strike (Venezuela, Night School, Mexico) (5 shots)
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Background: Bolivia's interim President, Lidia Gueiler, swore in eight new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday (7 April) in preparation for general elections in June. Meanwhile a strike by teachers has entered it sixth week and there have been claims that the strike has been deliberately planned to upset bolivia's latest move towards democracy.
SYNOPSIS: Mrs Gueiler's previous eighteen-member Cabinet resigned on March 26 in response to demands for a reshuffle to guarantee the Government's neutrality in the forthcoming elections. The June poll will be Bolivia's third attempt in three years to elect a stable civilian government after military strongman Hugo Banzer was overthrown in a coup in 1978.
In a speech to her new Cabinet, President Gueiler said the new appointments brought the political balance and technical expertise necessary to guarantee impartial handling of the elections. Mrs Gueiler claimed subversive elements were attempting to disrupt the democratic process by inciting workers to strike. She said Bolivian stability was threatened by economic demands and regional disturbances. Meanwhile, striking teachers from la Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba gathered to chart the progress of their action.
Three hundred thousand children have been affected by the strike so far. The teachers say the dispute is over pay and conditions but they have been accused of trying to further cloud the political picture amidst continuing rumours of an imminent coup by right-wing factions.
Strikes, demonstrations and stoppages have become almost daily events in Bolivia where discontent among both left and right wing supporters is rife.