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letter from La Paz

fwd | 01.11.2003 09:31 | Globalisation | World

taken from post on Imc Germany;

an e-mail from La Paz:

Hullo dear Friends, [...]

This message is coming from La Paz in Bolivia...a city that was founded to call peace by the Spanish in 1548.
Around October 11th--13th...many people were fighting in the streets here and many people were shot by the military. There were also big fights in February this year when 200 were killed and many injured. The coca cola office was burned to the ground.

This month about 82 were killed and many are in the hospital, certainly some of these people are dying some with dreadful burns when a petroleum station exploded.(Yes, it was Shell)

Today I was shown some of the places where people did extraordinary things to block off the one could get in or out...they needed to make sure they brought down the government...and they did. One soldier was shot dead for refusing to turn his gun on the people
Now there is a kind of truce for 90 days. Everyday there are demonstrations in the city. I was just with one demo of several hundred students from El Alto University and many Camposinos, Indigenous people in their traditional dress...they looked very proud and strong and ready for anything.

El Alto is a large suburban sprawl where many people come from the country to look for work, it is high above the city, it has become the centre of a well organised radical movement.
I have been in La Paz for three days and managed to get a contact for a women's centre in El Alto..also a Radio Station that serves this region called Pachamama.
These people are very very keen to make contact with the world, they see that what is happening here could build, IS building, into something that takes us beyond the vicious domination of the free market.Another kind of Liberation!

What started things this time was the anger at what the government were planning to do with the gas that has been discovered in Bolivia. people here were expected to pay very high prices for their own gas while countries like Brasil were to get the gas supplied very cheaply.All kinds of corrupt deals were uncovered. The president and
some of his ministers have fled to the USA.
What would be the most positive thing that could happen now is that lots of anti-capitalists make themselves connected in various ways with this struggle of some of the economically poorest people in the world. They are waking up and ready to take this developing deep intelligence onto another level.Support is needed, YES?
Everywhere in the Americas there are new movements of the First People.
Everywhere they are under threat from a culture that originated in Europe hundreds of years ago.

Today I was strongly warned not to take photographs or draw attention to myself as many people here are so angry with white people, especially from the USA.
I talked with some of the demonstrators and let them know why I was there but I drifted away and came to write this to you guys because I think this is a far more valuable contribution.
I really hope you can agree and sit up and let the energy under this communication hit you in the guts.
First of all....people need to know you are with them.
You can show this in many ways, things can build up, but first there is a great need for medicine...of all kinds...including a connection of the spirit.
The people in the hospitals have to pay for their treatment and the hospitals are not by any means well equipped to treat serious gunshot wounds and burns.
I would say that painkillers must be high on the list of medicine and in the longer term maybe some doctors could dispense themselves to help out in the hospital in La Paz.
I have seen only a few of the people woman of around my age has almost lost her face, just blackened deformed features, no eyes, not conscious so far as I could make out but maybe she is in great pain but cannot express anything.
Another badly injured victim was shot from the air. He is 22, apart from his shallow breathing you don't notice anything...a strong young man with clear eyes and healthy brown skin n black hair, his name is Luis. But he let me see under the blankets. His colon is shattered, the wound is covered with a transparent pad so I could see the raw
redness, it is infected. The bullet left him through his back.
His father and mother from the country about 120 ks from La Paz are staying in a little room in the hospital, I think food is being organised...but things are not easy for them, they know no one in the town and they have no money. Luis is the youngest of 11 children, he came to El Alto, like so many other young men, in the hope of finding work so he can send money to his parents. Now they are very worried that they cannot pay the hospital fees and the operation ...well, they say the doctor said he has to wait for two months before he can operate. But how will Luis be by then just fed on a drip and unable to sleep because of the pain...which is very bad at night they said.
I will go again to the hospital tonight with a friend to help me communicate. There are many people there, I will only be able to see a few but I think it helps. I represent the creatures who are usually wandering around spending money and living seperate existances to the local people. I am a tourist but I am feeling a kind of connection beginning...I wonder if this can be evolved.
Actually I think most tourists are just a bit ignorant...there could be a lot done to inform people including the agents who handle the tourists...quite a subject.

Now listen to this....we all need to know about this one.
There is going to be an economic cookery class for the Americas, the chief chef will be a representative of the Bush kitchen...on November 13,14,15th. VERY SOON! SANTA
All Latin American countries are invited to the party.
All about tasty Free Trade and how preparations can continue for futher hunting expeditions. There's so much wild game out there, just waiting to be chased, bagged, roasted n served up with all the trimmings.
There will be 22 nations participating...not including Cuba, it was pointed out.
I would be interested to know more about this, will search the internet, but I mostly wonder what is being planned to disturb this cosy little get-together, like swopping the sugar for some salt n putting vinegar in the wine.
Please send brief info if you have any inside information.
The organisations of El Alto are making various demands of the new government.I do not have it clear spanish is not very advanced n English is sparse.
They demand that the present law relating to petroleum companies be changed, no more free-for-all basically.
They are demanding a change in the constitution.
They demand that the agreements concerning Bolivian gas be totally renegotiated.
They demand that the laws relating to the free market be radically changed especially concerning COCA.
At present the growing of coca is restricted to a particular zone in Bolivia, but this is an ancient and traditional food for these people, why should the USA destroy the foundations of their culture, they will not accept this situation regarding their traditional medicine.
This deeply relates to the situation in Columbia which is much worse, a kind of on-going nightmare for the people of the land. It is widely accepted that the coca is being destroyed by the CIA who want total control for their own benefit. Everyone needs to get informed on this one as it seems central to understanding this explosive situation.
What is going on here can be compared to what is going on in the middle east....a seething hatred of the policies of the USA.
This is an extraordinary opportunity to make global connections, its like a giant jigsaw puzzle, everything is connected. Including, of course, the on-going story of one of the most valuable plants on the planet...Hemp.
It all fits together.
Now I will finish, I have to move.

There is a big gathering tomorrow with, amongst others, the mothers of the disappeared from Chile and Argentina.
Several young men have vanished here too, I've seen some sad faces on notices around the hospital.
The grafitti is great here, by the way...all over the place. No one objects or tries to move it so far as I is part of life and to interfere would show disrespect for the people who have given their lives.
Everywhere the Bolivian flag flies with black plastic bags tied on top, everyone is aware that there may be more suffering...but they are resting for now.

Thank you for your attention, whoever and whereever you are.

And love from the City of Active Peace.
Let me know, briefly, what you think.