Support Democracy in Bolivia

Global Day of Solidarity: October 17, 2006

From the heart of South America, Bolivian farmers, workers, students, indigenous community members, and everyday people are organizing to end a 500-year legacy of racism and exploitation. In October 2003, social movement protests against neo-colonial, free-market economic policies were met with violent military repression authorized by former President Gonzales Goni Sanchez de Lozada who fled Bolivia on a flight bound to the U.S. after 67 people were shot dead by the police.

A broad international movement is now demanding that Goni and two of his government ministers return to Bolivia to stand trial for the massacre. On October 17, the date that Goni fled Bolivia three years ago, please add your voice by joining in a global day of education and action to support democracy and an end to impunity in Bolivia.

Democracy is on the march in Bolivia

With the election of an indigenous president, Evo Morales in December, Bolivia’s social movements are now moving from a period of mass protest to constructing concrete proposals for a truly democratic and egalitarian state. They are mobilizing to ensure that Morales fulfills his pledges to nationalize the country’s oil and gas industry, decriminalize coca (but not cocaine), enact a program of land reform, initiate a new trade policy based upon cooperation rather than competition, and draft a new Constitution that would finally give full rights and dignity to the indigenous majority.

Yet these policies and Morales’ alignment with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have quickly put him on the short list of world leaders targeted by the U.S. government, which has been building up a military presence in Paraguay. Additionally, Brazilian, French, British and Spanish oil and gas transnationals may pursue arbitration against the Morales Administration in response to its moderate plan for reform of the oil and gas sector. And the European Union is pushing a corporate trade and investment pact that would lock Bolivia into rules that favor foreign investors over local needs. This is a critical time for global justice movements worldwide to support Bolivia’s right to reject the failed neoliberal economic model and pursue a sovereign path towards creating a more just and equal society.

Historic opportunity for mutual learning

We have much to learn from Bolivia’s unique, broad-based movement for political, cultural and social revolution embedded in the key Andean values of solidarity, mutuality, and reciprocity. Hopefully, October 17 can be viewed as the beginning of a long-term relationship of mutual learning, solidarity and exploration of the Andean worldview and how it might inspire deep changes in our communities and culture.

Sample Activities

(see for a full list of ideas, events and resources)

1. Start a local group in solidarity with Bolivia and coordinate with the Bolivia Solidarity Network (BSN).

2. Join the BSN listserve to learn more about Bolivia and solidarity efforts; contact:

3. Sign up for the Bolivia media watch list and respond to inaccurate foreign press about Bolivia; or write your own letter to the editor about Bolivia.

4. Initiate a campaign to hold petroleum firms - Total (France), Repsol (Spain), British Gas and BP (UK), and Petrobras (Brasil) - accountable for their actions in Bolivia and pressure them not to take action against Bolivia for reforming its oil and gas policy.

5. Sign and distribute the online petition urging the U.S. not to obstruct Bolivia´s judicial process and comply with Bolivia´s efforts to bring former President Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada and his ministers Jorge Berindoague and Carlos Sanchez Berzain back to Bolivia for trial:

6. Organize a demonstration at a US Embassy or Consulate demanding justice against Goni, Berzain and Berindoague. If you are a U.S. resident, contact your Member of Congress and State and Justice Departments with the same message.

7. Work with groups in your country to oppose free trade agreements harmful to South America and build support for the Peoples Trade Agreement proposed by Bolivian social movements by making your hometown a Fair Trade City.

8. Sign and distribute the online petition urging Bolivia to stop sending troops to the School of the Americas:

9. Organize a delegation from your community to come to Bolivia and see first-hand what is underway. Have your church, school or organization become a sister with one in Bolivia.

10. Host a showing of a film on Bolivia; see list of movies at:


The land down under (or up over, depending on your world view) is gearing up for an educational video showing of "Our Brand is Crisis" at 6.30pm on Wednesday October 18 at University of Technology Sydney Union Theatre, Level 3, Tower 1. We are also staging a picket that day at 4.30pm at the U.S. Embassy in Martin Place, demanding that Goni be served. Contact: Mark Goudkamp or Federico Fuentes,

March with 60 crosses in La Paz from Plaza Isabel Catolica at 9.30am, 17th October near the U.S. Embassy and then up to Perez Velasco for joint event with Bolivian Social movements. Please contact Bob Dunsmore if you can definitely attend on

A day of Bolivia education and action on October 17th will include speakers, showing a video clip of a representative from the Comité Impulsor (group in Bolivia working for an end to impunity), getting local groups to sign onto the call for Goni to be notified, and delivering a letter (the following day) to the U.S. consulate here that demands notification of Goni on behalf of those attending the Oct 17th events. Contact: Jason Tockman,

A Bolivia Educational Forum and Actions on October 17th are in the works.Contact: Jeff Webber,

Press conference including Danielle Mitterand, Luzmila (new Bolivian ambassador) and other French political figures. In the evening, film and debates on issues of Goni, Nationalisation, Water etc Contact: Andre Abreu,

Solidarity event being planned at the protest camp against Shell in Western Ireland. More details to follow

On October 17th students at the National University of Ireland, Galway plan to have a number of activities including some good old Goni bashing carnaval style (ie: water balloons) a video loop of "Fusil y Metralla", postcard signing, petition signing, handing out flyers and information on Bolivia and the major issues there.Contact: Aisling Walsh,

On Thursday October 19th Aisling Walsh a recent Irish volunteer in Bolivia will give a presentation on the Goni case at the Latin American Solidarity Centre, Dublin. A documentary film "Fusil y Metralla" depicting Black October 2003 will be shown, followed by a detailed presentation of the events of October 2003, and the legal case as it now stands with a discussion of how to get involved. We will also discuss setting up an on-going Bolivia Solidarity Group in Ireland. Contact: Aisling Walsh,

Event being planned with talk and film either on 17th October or in weeks following. More details to follow.Contact: Lucie Pannell,

Film, talk and debate. More details to follow. Contact: Amancay Colque,

Demonstration/action focused on British Gas or Shell. More details to follow.

Rally at 12:30pm on October 17th at the Federal Building in San Francisco. Then march with 67 crosses with the names of those killed during "Black October" to the San Francisco City Hall. Announce S.F. Board of Supervisors Resolution in Support of Bolivia and their effort to serve Goni, Berindoague, and Berzain, while waving "Wanted Posters" for Goni. Distributing Postcards. Hoping also to get some local press and an Op Ed piece by Jim Shultz in the San Francisco Chronicle. Contact: Mike Graham-Squire,

Portland's Central American Solidarity Committee is sponsoring Cine Club Bolivia Movie Night on October 5th, with showings of the documentaries "El Gas No Se Vende" and "Fuera" with food at 7pm, movie at 7:30pm followed by discussion and sending postcards asking the U.S. to serve Goni. At Llibtery Hall, 311 N. Ivy (between Commercial and Gantenbein) for directions see more information about PCASC go to Thea Riofrancos,

The D.C. crowd is busy planning a Bolivian speaking tour by Rogelio Mayta and Juan Patricio Mamani for September 27-October 11. October 17th - 5pm: Peaceful and Symbolic March in Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's neighborhood. Meet at the Friendship Heights metro station, red line.Contact: David Kane,

Tuesday October 17, 2006. Rally in support of the First Indigenous President of Bolivia and his People. 4 - 6 p.m. Corner of Dale Malbry and Columbus Drive, Tampa, Florida. Sponsored by the St. Pete for Peace, Contact: Mauricio Vasquez , or Chris at

Students at Appalachian State University, are looking to show some videos about Bolivia on campus, distribute information and popcorn to students and perhaps other events.Contact: Jessica Fowler, Also events being planned in Austria, Switzerland and Spain. More details on the website

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