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Are the U.S. and Bolivian Governments Trying to Bribe the Social Movements?

USAID and Local Officials Denounced for Paying Leaders to Lift El Alto Strike

By Julio Mamani Conde
El Alto Press Agency
June 7, 2005

Leaders of remote neighborhoods of the city of El Alto have complained that representatives of the government agency Democratic Initiatives, who work with resources from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), offered much needed equipment for their neighborhood committees' social centers, on the condition that their committee presidents lift the general civic strike now in its 15th day.

The witnesses, who would not give their names, are from the Senkata area of El Alto's southern District 8. This was the site of some of the most radical road blockades in October 2003.

Investigations by this news agency have established that equipping fifteen social centers belonging to the neighborhood committees in that district, in exchange for neighborhood leaders asking for the end of the strike, was among the USAID-funded agency's range of activities.

The leaders reported that on Friday, May 28, before the council of the neighborhood committee presidents organized by the Federation of Neighborhood Committees (FEJUVE) of El Alto, they were warned to a flurry of activity on the part of the central Bolivian government by the behavior of local government officials.

According to the leaders, people working for the current administration offered some of the leaders between 200 and 500 bolivianos ($25 to $65 dollars, several weeks' income for many El Alto families) if they would propose the suspension of the indefinite civic/labor strike.

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