“The people of El Alto are ready for a struggle to construct our own government”

Resolutions from open town meeting convoked by Federation of Neighbourhood Committees of El Alto (FEJUVE), and the Regional Workers Central of El Alto (COR-El Alto), held in El Alto, January 15, 2007

1. The people of El Alto declare ourselves in a war to the death until achieving the resignation of the neoliberal prefects and mass murders, Manfred Reyes Villa and Jose Luis Paredes. At the same time, we support unconditionally the cocaleros and campesinos from Cochabamba who were forcefully repressed.

2. We give a deadline of 48 hours to the current prefect of the department of La Paz, Jose Luis Paredes, to voluntarily resign from his position, otherwise he will be expel together with his collaborators through pressure and other acts of struggle.

3. The consistent struggle of the altenos will not stop until we defeat all the neoliberal prefects and their repressive and fascist apparatus, such as the civic committees, youth unions and prefects from the “half moon”.

4. The people of El Alto pronounced ourselves in favour of a struggle without truce for the unity of Bolivia.

5. The people of El Alto declare that we are on our feet and ready for a struggle to make concrete the definitive defeat of the oligarchy in order to construct our own government.

Four sectors give Paredes a deadline, but without the support of the executive

La Razon, January 16

Neighbourhood committees of El Alto, organisations affiliated to the COR El Alto, cocaleros from the Yungas and representatives from the Federation of Campesinos of La Paz decided yesterday - in an open town meeting - to give a 48 hour deadline to the prefect of La Paz for him to leave his position, otherwise they threatened to carry out acts of pressure.

Nevertheless, the decision made in the surrounding of La Ceja, with the presence of thousands of people, especially neighbours from El Alto, does not count with the backing of the government, who asked the altenos to put forward their demands within the legal framework in order to avoid more confrontations like those of Cochabamba.

From 8am, hundreds of neighbours gathering in La Ceja, carrying banners, to participate in the protest called by FEJUVE and COR-El Alto.

The speakers, from eight of the 10 districts of the municipality, agreed in asking for the exit of Paredes for “supporting and being the brains behind the plans that the neoliberal prefects have to divide Bolivia”.

After hearing the speeches and proposals, Nazario Ramirez, president of FEJUVE, read out the conclusions of the open town meeting, resumed in 5 points: declaration of war until achieving the resignation of the prefects of La Paz and Cochabamba; 48 deadline to Paredes to comply with this demand; continue the struggle to defeat the neoliberal prefects and their repressive apparatus; and struggle for the unity of the country.

“If the prefects don’t resign before Wednesday, we will initiate road blockades in the department alongside the marches we will organise everyday, and we will not stop until they listen to us” warned the leader.

Paredes played down the request for him to resign and indicated that the town meeting was small and that he would not leave his position. “The COR and FEJUVE know my response, I have no reason to resign, I lament the fact that they have converted themselves into instruments of the government. El Alto is rational, it knows when it should kick out the authorities which don’t suit them, and this is not the case now”.

In the afternoon, the vice minister of coordination with the social movements, Alfredo Rada, asked the sectors to not use radical measures, “all the demands should be channelled via legal and democratic avenues” he said.

He added that they should wait for the application of recall referendums, a proposal of the president.

He stated that the requests for resignations put in risk the democratic stability of the country. “The citizens demand coordination and dialogue, they don’t want confrontation… they don’t want these acts of pressure to go against the actual popular economy”.

Contrary to this request, the representative of the Council of Federations of Cocaleros of the Yungas (COFECAY), Fabio Perez, announced that if by Wednesday Paredes had not left, they would carry out a departmental meeting to determine the closure of highways. The proposal was backed by the leader of the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qollasuyo (CONAMAQ), Gregorio Choque and a representative of the campesinos from this department.

On the other hand, FEJUVE La Paz, has not yet taken a position. Toribio Hinojosa, its president, said that a meeting of the neighbourhood presidents will define if they support or not the demands of the altenos. “The prefects were wrong in the role they played, they were elected to work for the region and instead of that they are playing with the hornet’s nest that is politics”.

According the Altena Press Agency, the bishop of El Alto, Monsenor Jesus Juarez ask for fights to be put aside. “Walking together, searching for peace, unity and progress let us say: I will do all I can so that peace can flourish in Bolivia”. Sister Maria Emilia Gonzales, from the Catholic association Missionaries of Bolivia, ask “to avoid repeating the tragedy of October”.

Those that participated

FEJUVE - representatives from the neighbourhood committees of 8 of the 10 districts participated. There were more than 300 banners.

COR - Edgar Patana took part in the event together with leaders from the trade unions, petroleum workers, unemployed, university students and others, although he was booed.

Campesinos - The leaders of the rural area of the city were there; Zacariaz Maquera from the Federation of La Paz, Max Flores from the Confederation and leaders of CONAMAQ

COFECAY - Fabio Perez was there for the cocaleros of the Yungas

Translated from La Razon

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