Friday, October 06, 2006

Get Goni

Bolivia is quickly aproaching the three year anniversary of what is known here as Black October. Three years ago, the then President of Bolivia, Gonzalo "Goni" Sànchez de Lozada and his Washington backed neoliberal government were preparing to authorize the export of natural gas to the United States and Mexico through Chile. It had just been made public that the transnational corporations running the exploitation of Bolivia´s hydrocarbons were cooking their books, only showing 45% of their profits for tax purposes. Only 18% of total profits were going the way of the government for social spending. Bolstered by a defeat of transnationals in the Cochabamba ¨Water War¨of 2000 and a near victory for MAS in the 2002 elections, Bolivia´s energized social, labor and indigenous organizations lauched a campaign of massive popular resistence. The "Gas War" was famously typified in the road block, cutting downtown La Paz´s main artery to the outside world through the impoverished and radicalized slum of El Alto off for weeks.
On October 12th, Goni imposed martial law on El Alto and deployed the military. The subsequent violence by the military against protestors resulted in offically 67 deaths and hundreds wounded. Disgust in the violence turned the entire country, including his own party, against Goni and he was forced to resign. Being a "Chicago Boy", whose knickname also included el Gringo, Goni fled to the United States with several close associates. In Bolivia, Goni currently faces prosecution for the murders in El Alto and additional corruption charges. The Bolivian government has officially sent a extradition request to the US Justice Department but has yet to recieve a reply four months on. Goni currently lives a life of impunity in Maryland.
October 17th, the day Goni resigned and fled to the United States has been chosen as a day of Internatioanl Bolivian Solidarity. The day has been designated for actions in the international campaign to bring Goni to justice. The Bolivian Solidarity Network has a list of events, activities and information on the campiagn.

1 comment:

Annika said...

i love you and miss you horribly!
-a