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E. IV.3.a. Resisting Dictatorship 1977-82

Popular resistance to the Banzer government, led by the tin miners, emerged in the later 1970s; the resulting repression prompted the creation of a Human Rights Assembly. Four women initiated a 23-day hunger strike from December 1977 to January 1978, which had Catholic church support and eventually involved nearly 1,400 people including well known figures. This led to the release of most political prisoners and recognition of trade unions. It was also the signal for renewed political organization. Responding to pressure from below and from the Carter Administration in the USA, Banzer held elections. Political polarization between left and right resulted, however, in frequent elections and a series of coups, including a two year military dictatorship deploying death squads. The coups met with strong initial popular resistance, and by November 1981 renewed worker strikes and occupations created a movement that included a renewed mass hunger strike, and continued strikes and student protests during 1982, In October the military were forced to step down in favour of a leftist coalition elected in 1980.

Boots, Wilson T., Miracle in Bolivia: Four women confront a nation, In McManus; Schlabach, Relentless Persistence: Nonviolent Action in Latin America (E. IV.1. General and Comparative Studies), Philadelphia PA, New Society Publishers, pp. 48-62

On 1977-78 hunger strike.

Crabtree, John ; Whitehead, Laurence, Towards Democratic Viability: The Bolivian Experience, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2001, pp. 356

Dunkerley, James, Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia, 1952-82, London, Verso, 1984, pp. 385

Notes that 1952 revolution is not well covered in the literature (even in Spanish). Charts changing economic and political context, giving weight to the role of the militant working class in the mines, but also notes role of Catholic Church on human rights (pp. 128-31).

Lora, Guillermo, A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement, 1848-1971, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 380

Malloy, James M. ; Gamarra, Eduardo, Revolution and Reaction: Bolivia 1964-1985, Oxford, Transaction Books, 1988, pp. 244

Nash, June, We Eat the Mines and the Mines Eat Us: Dependency and Exploitation in Bolivian Tin Mines, New York, Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 363

Includes material on strikes, demonstrations, hunger strikes and road blocks.

Zunes, Stephen, The Role of Strategic Nonviolent Conflict in Bolivia’s Transition to Democracy, 1977-82, Paper for biannual meeting of the International Peace Research Association, July 2010, 2010