La Paz, Bolivia — Bolivia's military rulers are conducting a major purge of the country's labor unions and universities, describing them as leftist agitation centers. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson goodsell sees the move against "the twin centers of unrest and disagreement with the junta" as evidence of the tremendous pressure the Bolivian government is facing. HE says the ruling junta is simply moving to nip past and future opposition in the bud, although the move may not succeed.
The junta has suspended all labor unions, substituting government-approved worker representatives for union leaders; closed the country's nine universities indefinitely; fired all academic authorities and faculty; and dissolved student organizations.
Meanwhile, amnesty International reports eyewitness accounts of Bolivian troops rampaging through a mountain mining town in an orgy of killing, kidnapping, and rape against those opposed to the regime. The human rights organizations says as many as 900 people may have disappeared on Aug. 4 from the town of Caracoles, 18 days after military leaders seized power in Bolivia. Amnesty has appealed to Bolivia's leaders to release all political prisoners and to make public a list of people imprisoned of killed.