Western Hemisphere BOLIVIAN GOVERNMENT IMPOSES STRICTVKH OPPOSITION
"plot" to overthrow President Victor Paz Estenssoro last weekend appears to have been fabricated by theas an excuse to crack down on the opposition and restore law and ordertate of siege.
toraer president Hernan Slles Zuazo and- Vice President Juan Lectin bad encaged In plotting for several months, but they did not have tbe capability totbe government at this tiae. The government moreover, would not have left Lechln free if it bad convincing proof of his involvementoup No Important military leaders or units were Implicated In tbe plot, and anyoup would havesome military support. Tbe government also claims that the so-called guerrilla activity In Santa Cruz Department was part of the plot; yet. tbe armylast Friday that tbe last of the guerrillas had been driven across tbe border into Brazil,
Several factors contributed to Paz' decision to crack down on tbe opposition at this time. Riots, violence, and terrorism associated with the nationwide teachers'strike had becomeserious by the end of the week. Miners, threatening to,strike for higher wages, had already seized four mineto protest tbe government's failure to pay salaries. leaders bad been trying to turn this labor unrest intoagainst tbe government, and Paz was concerned that the situation might get out of band during Devisit.
internal se-visit and con-They may also for re-estab-authority in
State-of-slege powers per-
mit Paz to ensure curity during the trol labor unrestretext llsbing gover the mines.
Circumstances surrounding the reported attempt toVice President Barrlentoseventh try In aunclear. It may be partampaign designed to drive him out of the country^or,
entos may himself hitve staged the
bombing to bolster bis public Image and strength. Many people nonetheless blame the government, creating growing resentment against Paz. Barrlentos has steadily gained power and strength since tbe elections, and Isengaged with Paztruggle for control of peasants ia La Paz Department. Paz bam made repeated attempts to remove Barrlentos from tbe political scene by offering blm foreign diplomatic posts, but so far be has refused. Itatter of timehowdown occurs.