pay in La Paz
Salaries in Bolivia are ridiculously inadequate; a bi-lingual shorthand-typist
might get about £5 per month, a Customs official is paid less than a garden
boy, the rector of one university is paid one million bolivianos (about £30)
per month, lecturers and teachers get half that or less and must do two jobs to
earn a reasonable living.
these circumstances it is difficult to get the best people for the official positions,
and there is a tendency to eke out the salary with "private charges"
for work done officially.
Sindicato (union) officials are frequently petty politicians prepared to make
endless trouble for personal aggrandisement or enrichment.
are the leaders rather than the representatives of the workers, often having no
experience in the crafts of their followers.
large majority of the miners' leaders are surface workers, before the revolution
they were not miners, nor have any experience of underground work.
Sindicatos have embraced wholeheartedly the principle of withholding labour, and
strikes are frequent. Some are understandable - the long distance lorry drivers
struck as a protest against the condition of the roads, for example; but many
are destructive and impede progress - the Sindicato of sail ferry operatives on
Lake Titicaca went on strike when there was a proposition to introduce motor-powered
sailing boats are still used.
are incomprehensible; the municipal worker of La Paz once went on strike to show
their support for the Government - surely their purpose could have been better
served by a simple expression of satisfaction and a continuity of service?
form of action is not restricted to the workers, students often use it - particularly
High School students, who rebel against conditions in their schools, or the length
of holidays, or what-have-you.
celebrated fortnight of riots began with such a demonstration. The High School
students professed a grudge against the municipal offices and the Ministry of
Education: eventually the police went into action with tear-gas to break them
was barely over when a large section of the population took exception to an article
on Bolivia written in an American weekly.
concerned the aid given to Bolivia and its use - or misuse. Large mobs gathered
outside the American Embassy and Ambassadors residence and during the unpleasant
scenes many more windows were broken.
came the abortive attempt to invade Cuba and really serious riots were a great
danger. All Europeans were requested by their embassies to remain indoors and
for some time the situation was very ugly.
building site near the troubles was completely denuded of bricks, broken pieces
of concrete and other useful missiles, thus prejudicing the building programme
which was already suffering somewhat from inertia.
a policeman stands permanent guard at the gate of the yard to prevent any further
depletion of the stores.
Bolivia is a land of vice-versa and both sides of the picture can often be seen.
Around four months ago a Russian delegation came to discuss possible assistance;
a mob marched straight from Mass at the Cathedral and smashed all the windows
at their hotel.
there is no Cuban Ambassador in La Paz. He was declared persona non grata
due to his recent political activities. The Government have accused the Cuban
revolutionaries of conspiring to overthrow the present system.
the movement against the alleged coupthe miners declared a strike on behalf of
their arrested left-wing leaders but reports suggest this is now under control.
Government is making great efforts to regularise the mines. Part of a large loan
now being negotiated will be used to pension off redundant workers and the rest
will then be used to improve machinery and place the industry on an economic footing.
is essential that loans to not continue to ' leak away ' unprofitably. Bolivia
as received 21 per cent of the total aid to Latin America, and, in truth, has
little to show for it.
they are signs of better planning of its use in the future and the Kennedy administration
appears to be demanding an attempt to promote internal stability as a pre-requisite
before considering further help to Latin American countries.
account paints a gloomy picture and Bolivia certainly has most of the problems
that could confront a country today. Earlier articles have attempted to show the
great possibilities in Bolivia, and, once again, one can only say that it is a
question of timing.
of the Government's policies are extremely well-intentioned and undoubtedly it
still has support. But do the people yet realise what such support could entail.
many of the troubles have come from the attempt o do too much too quickly. But
many of the reforms inaugurated, and half carried out, were essential, the trouble
has been a conflict of priorities.
regrettably, there has been some desire in official circles for personal kudos
which tends to inhibit the very necessary co-operation between departments.
Bolivian National Revolution of 1952 was hailed as a non-Communist revolution,
a sincere attempt to alleviate much of the social distress and injustice without
resorting to a Communist framework. As such it received support.
most damaging legacy from the old days is the vast population of Indians, withdrawn,
uneducated, non-consumers, whose inbred suspicion of any rulers is only slowly
is something of a race: education could produce the kind of citizen the country
needs, but education takes time. And time cannot be bought with foreign aid.
NEXT REPORT 17