An Army colonel who escaped after leading an abortive uprising 15 days ago says he has taken control of the town of Cochabamba. He is again demanding the replacement of Bolivia's military junta and President Luis Garcia Meza.
Col. Emilio Lanza said his action was "purely military," although he said he had the support of civilian nationalist forces in Santa Cruz, particularly those connected with former President Hugo Banzer.
The colonel said he had the support of the Army's Eighth Division in Santa Cruz, which, with the Seventh Division in Cochabamba declared itself in a state of emergency. In addition, he said, Bolivia's naval forces and all Army units in eastern Bolivia and in Oruru supported him.
In La Paz, there was no apparent disturbance, and activity continued as usual. Well-informed sources said General Garcia Meza was holding a meeting with the main military command.
Colonel Lanza said he wanted power handed over to whichever general "was capable of getting the country out of its present disastrous state," adding he favored former President Alberto Natusch Busch or General Banzer.
The colonel said he was in complete control of Cochabamba and of all the radio transmitters in the town, which were broadcasting proclamations in favor of his movement. Troops from the military school in Cochabamba and the Ustariz regiment had taken over al l the public buildings in the town, he added.