Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holidays Marred By Explosions, Terrorism Suspected

(digitalwarriormedia) Over the last two days Bolivia has been hit with three different explosions in the cities of Santa Cruz and La Paz. At a time when President Morales has called for dialogue and peace during the Christmas holidays, charges of terrorism are leveled against far-right opposition forces by government officials and supporters.

The latest incident occurred on Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. when dynamite explosions rocked the headquarters of the Bolivian Workers’ Union (COB). The detonation happened in the entry way to COB’s offices, close to the bedroom of its Executive Secretary, Pedro Montes.
The explosion shattered windows on the first floor of the building and caused significant structural damage, but failed to cause any injuries or fatalities.

Fortunately, Montes was away from his office for the holidays. According to some reports, the explosion blew apart the door to his bedroom. Montes claimed that he has received "several death threats" via telephone and indicted "political enemies” for the events.

President Morales indicated his belief that the attack on COB’s headquarters was because of the organization’s active support of the new Constitution. The COB has publicly blamed far-right groups, the US Embassy and the “Media Luna” departments for the recent acts of violence, stating that such measures will not deter their struggle for democracy.

Vice Minister Rubén Gamarra expressed concern over the presence of terrorist organizations in the country that are aiming to generate anxiety and insecurity among Bolivia’s population.

On Saturday, two explosions occurred in the city of Santa Cruz – one at the home of MAS Assembly member Carlos Romero the other in a lot adjacent to the hotel Casa Blanca, where President Morales usually stays during official visits to the lowland city. Neither incident resulted in any injuries or casualties.

All three incidents are currently under investigation by local police and special anti-crime units.

Concern for the safety of Bolivia’s democracy was the subject of words written by Danielle Mitterand and published on Sunday in La Razon. The former French first lady and widow of President Francois Mitterrand called on all European leaders, intellectuals and media to defend democracy and the rule of law wherever it was threatened.

Mitterrand is the founder and President of France Libertés Fundation – a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights. She noted that within Bolivia there are groups of neofascist and paramilitary gangs “financed by the bourgeoisie and certain foreign interests" that are creating an atmosphere of fear in the indigenous regions. She condemned the actions of the departmental governors of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija.

*Photos: La Razon

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