In the midst of political turbulence during which Bolivia was placed on a state of emergency following government reports of a plot to overthrow President Juan Jose Torres this week, hard-line left wing movements took over the unused Legislative Palace in the Capital, La Paz, and formed their own People's Assembly.
CU President Torres
LV Crowd watch as President Torres walks in funeral procession with army generals and others (3 shots)
GV EXT. Legislative Palace
SV Banner on outside of building "People's Assembly"
GV INT. Assembly (2 shots)
SV Trade unionists seated with armed tin miners standing guard
CV Tin miners with arms (2 shots)
SV Student addressing trade unions (2 shots)
CV Tin miner with rifle
SV Student continues addressing delegates
Initials OS/152 OS/238
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Background: In the midst of political turbulence during which Bolivia was placed on a state of emergency following government reports of a plot to overthrow President Juan Jose Torres this week, hard-line left wing movements took over the unused Legislative Palace in the Capital, La Paz, and formed their own People's Assembly.
The core of this new body consists in the main of students and powerful trade union officials. Operating on the far left of Bolivian politics, they consider that President Torres is pursuing too timid a policy, even though, since his boost into power by a popular uprising last October, he has nationalised two American firms, encouraged East European economic missions, and expelled from the country the United States Peace Corps.
At the same time, the President is having to contend with a disillusioned officer corps in the military, who, being generally conservative and pro-American, have been alienated by his actions. But, in the face of rumours of an overthrow plot, the Service chiefs have pledged their loyalty to him.
The new Assembly is embarking upon a sixty day session in the face of intense distrust from the military, who are alarmed at the numbers of left-wing nationalists and communists among its leaders, and fear the possibility of a revolution threat.
SYNOPSIS: Bolivian President Juan Torres has been described as a leader without followers. Styling himself the "Workers" president", he has nationalised two American firms, encouraged East European economic missions, and expelled the US Peace Corps. With this, his army officers, generally Conservative and pro-American, became disillusioned and disappointed.
But at the same time, he has failed to win over the far left, which considers him too timid. This week, hard line left movements took over the unused Legislative Palace, and turned it into a "People's Assembly". At the first working session on Tuesday, the mood was rampant. Left wing students, a powerful group in Bolivia, were heavily represented.
The real strength of the Assembly, however, comes from the Trade Unions, especially the tough tin miners. Armed, they have made it known they are not afraid of the Bolivian Army. If this coalition of students and heavily communistic trade unionists is successful, observers in La Paz say that an all-Marxist regime could emerge. Either that, or a confrontation with the military.