October 17, 2003 - Contra Cosa Times: Volunteers on Standfast in Bolivia

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: October 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: October 17, 2003 - Contra Cosa Times: Volunteers on Standfast in Bolivia

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-110-177.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 8:54 am: Edit Post

Volunteers on Standfast in Bolivia

Caption: Thousands of Bolivians march through the center of La Paz to demand the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, October 16, 2003. Sanchez de Lozada's latest attempt to defuse the crisis that has left more than 70 dead was rejected by Bolivia's major Indian leaders who said his promises were too little too late. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Read and comment on this story from the Contra Costa Times that volunteers in Bolivia are in standfast amid growing unrest. Standfast is the first level of alert for Volunteers and means that volunteers are to stay at their home sites and would be followed by consolidation and evacuation if the situation escalates.
If violence spreads and Americans are targeted, the Peace Corps will evacuate its volunteers, said spokeswoman Barbara Daly. "In a nutshell, the posts are very prepared for any kind of emergency," she said. "I don't like to say it happens often, but given that we're in 71 different countries, we're prepared for that eventuality."
Read the story at:

Trying to help amid unrest*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Trying to help amid unrest
By Matt Krupnick

Gloria Rose supports her daughter's ongoing Peace Corps service in Bolivia, but she wishes it were a bit more peaceful.

Rose, of Martinez, has grown increasingly edgy this week while reading news stories about growing unrest in Bolivia, where daughter Monica Ramos is halfway through a two-year Peace Corps stint.

Riots there are shutting down many Bolivian government offices and communications.

Rose said sporadic phone calls from Ramos, a 1996 Alhambra High School graduate, have not allayed her fears much.

"I'm a parent, obviously, and it's difficult to find your child in a situation like this. She did keep on saying, 'Don't worry. If something bad happens, they'll send in helicopters to get me.'

"I think she's watching too much television."

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital city of La Paz on Thursday, lambasting President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's plan to export natural gas. Dozens of Bolivians were reported killed in the violence, but U.S. and Bolivian officials said they had no official death toll.

A Peace Corps spokeswoman said Thursday its Bolivian volunteers were on "stand-fast" alert, when the organization asks them to stay at their home sites. Ramos, a mechanical engineer who is helping bring drinkable water to the town of Aiquile, was safe with friends, the spokeswoman said.

If violence spreads and Americans are targeted, the Peace Corps will evacuate its volunteers, said spokeswoman Barbara Daly.

"In a nutshell, the posts are very prepared for any kind of emergency," she said. "I don't like to say it happens often, but given that we're in 71 different countries, we're prepared for that eventuality."

Still, Rose said, Ramos had said she was worried about the growing unrest and the possibility of being stranded in Bolivia.

Rose wasn't the only one struggling to find information on the state of the country Thursday.

Fernando Lazcano, Bolivia's San Francisco-based consul general, said he was having trouble keeping informed Thursday. He said he was confident that calm would prevail.

"We are trying to control everything by coming to a good dialogue," Lazcano said. "The national government is putting forward all efforts to solve all the social problems."

The U.S. State Department this week issued a travel advisory suggesting U.S. citizens delay travel to several parts of Bolivia. U.S. officials had not heard of attacks against Americans, said State Department spokeswoman Brooke Summers.

"Even though there's no evidence they've been targeted, they should stay off the streets to avoid being swept up in the violence," Summers said.

Rose, who visited her daughter in August, said she always thought of Bolivia as a safe country. Now that riots have broken out in the poverty-wracked nation, the lack of television news about the violence frustrates her.

"We get saturated by things like Kobe Bryant," Rose said. "I'm sick of that. I'm sure half the people in this country don't even know this is going on."

Even a few hours after hearing her daughter describe her discomfort as protesters gathered nearby, Rose said she was proud of her daughter and never dissuaded her from going to Bolivia.

"I didn't have any problems with it. She made up her mind to do this when she was 13 years old."
Reach Matt Krupnick at 925-943-8246 or mkrupnick@cctimes.com.

More about Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for Peace Corps Volunteers

Read more about Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for Peace Corps Volunteers and the three levels of alert (standfast, consolidation, evacuation) with this excerpt from the EAP training module that all volunteers go through during training at:

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module the participants will be able to:

1. Define standfast, consolidation and evacuation stages;

2. Identify the consolidation point for their prospective site;

3. Describe at least two routes from their prospective site to their consolidation ?assembly points;

4. List the contents of an evacuation bag;

5. Provide specific emergency contact information at their prospective sites.

Key Learning Points

* The EAP is an important resource for every Volunteer;

* Every Volunteer has the responsibility to ensure their emergency contact information is accurate and up-to-date;

* The EAP is no substitute for common sense and good judgment;

Session I 45 minutes

A week prior to the scheduled Trainee site visits, distribute post EAP to Trainees instructing them to read through it and prepare to answer questions at a future session. A day or two before the scheduled visit convene "EAP Orientation" session, an open-book discussion. Ask participants the following questions:

What is the purpose of the EAP?

* To prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from a crisis situation.

What emergencies are identified in the EAP?

* medical emergency, family crisis, political instability, civil unrest, natural disaster.

What are the stages of alert? Please define them.

* standfast - impending emergency, stay at site, keep low profile

* consolidation - go to pre-arranged assembly point, contact PC office, prepare for withdrawal

* evacuation - leave assembly point, proceed to safe haven

Using the EAP as a reference have each participant find her/his prospective site and consolidation assembly point on a large country map. Which participants share the same assembly points? What information about the assembly point can the participants derive from studying the EAP and map? What are two possible routes from site to assembly point? What other information would they want to have? Where/to whom would they go to get it?

Distribute blank site locator forms to participants.

Why are site locator forms important?

* provide emergency contact information

* include detailed map in case of emergency transportation

* lists local support resources (clinic, police, other PCVs)

* incorporated into the EAP communication network

Emphasize the importance of keeping the site locator forms up-to-date and remind participants that it is their responsibility to do so.

Ask for any additional questions.

Session II 45 minutes

During the pre-site visit sessions incorporate the following exercises into the Trainees’ visit activities.

If the site locator forms have already been completed for prospective sites, provide each Trainee with a copy instructing them to verify:

* identity of contact persons and means of contact (tel., radio, etc.)

* accuracy of map

* location of clinic, police post, school, other support facilities

* standard housing criteria (doors, windows, locks, burglar bars, etc.)

If site locator forms have not been completed for prospective sites, provide the Trainees with blank forms and have them take a first cut at gathering the information listed above.

Debriefing. When Trainees return from site visit, gather feedback from them on the tasks outlined above.

o Which tasks proved difficult? Why?

o What did you learn that surprised you?

o Which training needs do you now feel need more attention?

Exercise. The participants will need their EAP and site locator forms during the exercise. Distribute scenario and list of questions (you may find it more appropriate to develop your own scenario).

Scenario. Imagine that you are now a PCV at your site. While you are preparing for a workshop scheduled to begin the next day (your first "big" activity), a local driver arrives at your site with a letter from the Peace Corps office that instructs you to immediately travel to your consolidation point.

Using your EAP and site locator form as references, take 15 minutes to describe how you would proceed. List at least 5 tasks.

o conduct property inventory

o pack emergency evacuation bag (list contents)

o inform counterpart to postpone workshop

o inform host family

o lock house arrange for security during absence

o travel immediately to consolidation assembly point (describe route)

o notify Peace Corps immediately upon arrival at consolidation assembly point

Ask participants to report out. List tasks on flip chart.

Ask for any additional questions.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; Safety and Security of Volunteers



By bankass.com (0-1pool136-30.nas12.somerville1.ma.us.da.qwest.net - on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 2:10 pm: Edit Post

Where is Walter?

Peace Corps and its spokes people should declare a private investigator be hired in his case, other than one's associated with the Bolivian Police.

Two volunteers at every site will prevent these disturbing acts of violence.
Peace Corps is arrogant and won't do it.

Call your Senator or Congressman or woman. Tell them you won't vote for them unless they change Peace Corps internal Policy.

When John Kerry comes to your door for a vote ask him about this internal Policy at Peace Corps. Tell him, no change, no vote.

By Ron Davis ( on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 12:08 pm: Edit Post

Miami Herald
Posted on Tue, Oct. 21, 2003

Embassy: U.S. didn't guide military during protests
Reports accuse the U.S. military of calling the shots for Bolivian forces during last week's citizen uprising. An ambassador denies that, but says U.S. funded planes were used.

LA PAZ, Bolivia - The American Embassy did not direct the Bolivian military on how to respond to violent protests last week but did allow the air force to use U.S.-funded anti-narcotics planes during the crisis, the ambassador said Monday.

The embassy has come under fire for unsubstantiated reports in the alternative press that accuse U.S. military officials of calling the shots last week when the Bolivian military and police repressed civil disturbances, killing dozens of people.

A report in the weekly newspaper Pulso said military advisors counseled Bolivians on how to respond to the thousands of demonstrators on the streets protesting a proposal to sell gas through Chile.

''The accusation is that there's a little unit in the embassy that runs Bolivia,'' U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee said Monday. ``We were not directing traffic in any way.''


Greenlee acknowledged that he did let Bolivia use planes that are leased by the U.S. government specifically for anti-narcotics purposes. The C-130s normally are used to shuttle troops that participate in coca eradication programs.

When Bolivian military officials want to use the planes for other purposes, they must ask permission. Greenlee said he gave it.

''They are Bolivia's planes flown by Bolivians and maintained by Bolivians,'' Greenlee said. 'They are sort of leased by us. If they said to us, `Can we use the planes to move some people here in a time of crisis in support of the constitutional government?' we would say, `Sure.'

''I don't apologize for that,'' Greenlee said. ``Our position was to support constitutional government that was under threat and under siege. The government had the right to defend itself.''

The news report asserted that the U.S. Embassy in La Paz also provided four men to work alongside the government armed forces.

The report said three of these men were assigned to the general staff of the army at the Miraflores general headquarters and the fourth worked from the embassy, together coordinating logistics such as ammunition and troop deployment.

The U.S. normally maintains about 30 military advisors in Bolivia, who conduct training exercises with Bolivian police and military. The U.S. Southern Command said Friday -- the day the report was published -- that it planned to send a team to Bolivia to assess security at the embassy. But the military advisors working during last week's protests, Greenlee said, were only doing their normal duties.

Washington was a staunch supporter of former president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, a U.S.-raised millionaire who backed coca eradication efforts despite loud cries from coca-growing peasants and the unions that represent them.


But Sánchez de Lozada's perceived allegiance to Washington constantly dogged him and was among the many factors that led to the discontent.

There's ''a certain degree of manipulation by the U.S. Embassy,'' congressman Evo Morales told Colombian radio last week. ``It is possible that the ambassador is supporting an authoritarian solution, putting an end to democracy.''

Although the official body count from last week's uprising has not been released, human rights groups say it could reach more than 60.

New President Carlos Mesa has said he will work with Washington but will review coca policies.


Mesa, a former historian and television journalist, met Monday with indigenous Indian groups in a La Paz plaza, where he pleaded for time to solve the nation's vast problems.

Aymara Indian leader Felipe Quispe said his people will support the president, provided he works on their behalf.

If he fulfills his promises, ''he will be our friend,'' Quispe said.

And if he fails? ''That's to say he's a friend of the gringos, and will be our enemy,'' he said.

By ron davis ( on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

U.S.ambassador Greenlee promises punishment if U.S. backed government falls

La Razon Oct. 17, 2003

Carlos Mesa marca distancia de la protesta; el oficialismo lo aísla

RELACIÓN • El Vicepresidente dijo que es imposible que vuelva al Gobierno porque no es capaz de matar. El Ejecutivo sospecha que está al servicio de otra causa. Greenlee le hace una visita.

ENCUENTRO PARA FIJAR POSICIONES • Carlos Mesa, en la puerta de su casa, despide a David Greenlee luego de reunirse por más de una hora. El embajador respalda a Sánchez de Lozada.
El vicepresidente Carlos Mesa marcó distancia de los sectores sociales que piden la renuncia del presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada y dijo que su retorno al Gobierno es imposible, aunque se mantiene en el cargo.

Luego, el Ejecutivo y el oficialismo lo aislaron. Los presidentes de las cámaras decidieron la convocatoria al Congreso con el Mandatario y sólo después se reunieron con Mesa.

A nombre del Ejecutivo, el ministro de Salud, Javier Torres Goitia, consideró que Mesa está sirviendo a una causa que no es la del Gobierno.

"Sorprende las declaraciones de Mesa. Muestra un interés político personal. Confiábamos en Mesa. Pensábamos que apoyaba la democracia, puede haberse puesto al servicio de otra causa o prestarse a supuestas fórmulas políticas, hay una inconsecuencia", dijo Torres Goitia.

El ministro de Defensa, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, en una entrevista con radio Fides citó a Mesa entre los que protestan.

"Hay indicios de diálogo, el problema es que hay varios frentes, un frente que fue el que inició esto, los campesinos, encabezados por el diputado Felipe Quispe. Después han aparecido en escena Evo Morales y sus muchachos, cocaleros y ramas anexas; y después ha aparecido la señora Ana María Romero con un espectro político nuevo en cuanto a su planteamiento y en medio de todo esto, bailando otro gran amigo que es don Carlos Mesa, el vicepresidente de la República, que tiene una posición que él mismo ha explicado".

Las reacciones a la posición de Mesa continuaron anoche cuando el embajador de Estados Unidos en Bolivia, David Greenlee, visitó al Vicepresidente en su domicilio y luego dijo que no aceptará un gobierno surgido de la presión social.

Por la mañana, a través de un mensaje televisado, Mesa dijo que le han preguntado "si tengo el valor de matar. Y mi respuesta es no, no tengo el valor de matar, ni tendré mañana el valor de matar. Por esa razón es que es imposible pensar en mi retorno al Gobierno".

"Me mantengo firme como Vicepresidente de la República, en mi responsabilidad frente al país. Y en ese contexto quiero decir también enfáticamente que no estoy dispuesto a servir como instrumento en un proceso creciente y peligroso de polarización de la sociedad boliviana. No soy ni seré instrumento ni bandera de ningún grupo cuyos intereses hoy trascienden también los intereses de la patria", dijo en referencia a los sectores sociales.

El Vicepresidente también propuso un acuerdo. "No nos queda otra alternativa que establecer un acuerdo en el que no haya nada ni suficiente, ni insuficiente. Un acuerdo que nos obliga a ceder posiciones. Un acuerdo que nos obliga a establecer los temas principales de la agenda del país que ya no pueden esperar ni un segundo más".

Mesa rompió con el Mandatario el lunes pasado, luego de que el domingo se registraron 26 muertos en El Alto. Ese día fue el más difícil para el Presidente.

"Ni estoy con la filosofía de que la razón de Estado justifica la muerte. Ni estoy con la filosofía de los instrumentos y las banderas radicales que pretenden que llegó el momento de destruirlo todo para construir una utopía que nadie sabe a dónde va, ni qué quiere", dijo el Vicepresidente en su mensaje.
Por la tarde convocó a una sesión de Congreso para hoy.

Greenlee respalda a Goni delante del Vicepresidente

REUNIÓN • El embajador dijo que Bolivia será aislada si surgiera un gobierno de la presión.
En presencia del vicepresidente Carlos Mesa, el embajador de Estados Unidos, David Greenlee, dijo anoche que en caso de surgir un gobierno de la presión callejera, la comunidad internacional aislará a Bolivia.

La declaración se produjo en la puerta de la casa del Segundo Mandatario, donde Greenlee acudió para expresarle su preocupación por la situación social y política que vive el país.

Allí, el embajador ratificó a Mesa la posición de su gobierno sobre la forma en que su país interpreta la crisis de Bolivia.
Greenlee dijo que la posibilidad del aislamiento no es ninguna amenaza para Bolivia. "Ojalá que Bolivia no quede aislada como un país de la comunidad internacional y de sus posibilidades económicas", aclaró.

Según su percepción, la democracia tiene formas que guardar y si un país quiere deshacerse de un presidente debe seguir los conductos de la Constitución. "Si hubiese una sucesión que pase a través de la dimisión forzada sería una sucesión manchada que no apoyaríamos", aclaró.

Para Greenlee, las presiones callejeras son extra constitucionales. "Nosotros apoyamos un Gobierno constitucional y Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada ganó una elección", sostuvo.

Según Carlos Mesa, el diplomático le expresó su respaldo incondicional al presidente Sánchez de Lozada. "Hemos coincidido que la democracia se debe defender de manera militante", dijo el Vicepresidente.

Informó que le explicó a Greenlee que no se prestará a ser bandera de ningún tipo de manipulación ni movimiento que polariza al país. Dijo que el encuentro con Greenlee fue productivo porque ambos saben lo que piensa el otro. "La alternativa debe ser democrática", dijo sin responder si quiere ser Presidente.

El Ejecutivo busca llevar el conflicto al pleno congresal

Con la intención de trasladar el conflicto social al Parlamento, los presidentes de las cámaras de Senadores y Diputados, Hormando Vaca Díez y óscar Arrien, respectivamente, luego de reunirse con el presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada pidieron la convocatoria al Congreso.
El oficialismo pretende revocar la resolución que dispone la designación de autoridades, para incluir en la agenda las tres propuestas lanzadas por el Presidente la noche del miércoles, que son el referéndum consultivo para definir la política de exportación de gas, la modificación de la Ley de Hidrocarburos y las reformas a la Carta Magna para introducir en su texto la asamblea constituyente.

La decisión de convocar al Congreso salió de la residencia presidencial y sólo después fue consultada a Carlos Mesa, el presidente del Congreso.
La intención es reunir a los parlamentarios en La Paz desde hoy a las 16.00 horas, para lo que se dispuso un vuelo especial desde Santa Cruz a las 10.00 de hoy.

"Queremos trasladar el escenario de violencia al debate parlamentario para que los parlamentarios aunque sea nos saquemos la entretela y encontremos soluciones", dijo Vaca Díez ayer en la residencia.

Los presidentes de las cámaras piensan que en el Congreso se escucharán las voces de Tarija, de Santa Cruz y de otros departamentos sobre la exportación de gas y no sólo las opiniones del occidente del país.

Sobre las propuestas del Mandatario, el ministro de Educación, Hugo Carvajal, dijo que el referéndum puede ser organizado por la Corte Nacional Electoral en un plazo de 160 días.

Respecto a la constituyente, señaló que es posible que se introduzca en la reforma que se hará este año y que no se tenga que esperar muchos años para ponerla en práctica.

Carvajal considera que es posible aumentar los impuestos de las petroleras de 18 a 50 por ciento, eliminando otros impuestos.
Al respecto, los presidentes de las cámaras, que dieron dos ruedas de prensa en la residencia, dijeron que todo dependerá de la concertación congresal y con la sociedad civil.

Carlos Mesa convocó al Congreso con dos puntos: revocar la anterior agenda de designaciones y tratar la situación social por la que atraviesa el país.

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