Bolivia. Unrest in the labor market gained momentum in
January, when the central organization Central Obrera
Boliviana (COB) announced a 24-hour general strike aimed at
the government's austerity policy. Hundreds of workers and
peasants were arrested following clashes with police.
At the same time, the government's efforts were met to
prompt the coca growers to move to other crops with hunger
strikes and demonstrations. A group of female cocoa growers
marched from the Chapare region to La Paz. A second
month-long general strike in the spring focused on the sale
of the country's eastern railway to a Chilean company. For
two weeks in the fall, La Paz was paralyzed by new strikes
and demonstrations, involving over 20,000 Indians. The
actions ceased in early October, after the government
reached an agreement with Native American leaders on
comprehensive land reform.
Countryaah.com, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursed loans
granted to Bolivia during the previous year. In mid-May,
President Gonzálo Sánchez de Lozada visited Sweden and had
discussions with Prime Minister Göran Persson to elicit
support in the fight against drugs.