Bolivia: Students Occupy the University of Technology, Oruro (UTO).

Today the University of Technology at Oruro in Bolivia is into its third month of occupation by students, parents, teachers, miners and poor farmers. They want to use this occupation to reignite the popular struggle for socialism in Bolivia. On 21 September we posted a call for international solidarity in support of this occupation and for the campaign to free Cezar Zelada on Indymedia. Zelada has since been freed on bail and awaits trial. We also reprint our resolution in support of the occupation sent to the students Committee for Defence.

Since the end of August, the UTO, in Bolivia, has been in the hands of a Committee for the Defence of the University comprised of students, parents, workers of the main union organisation (COD), miners of Huanuni and other workers’ organisations. Over 500 hundred students of the UTO occupied their university and demanded the resignation of their Rector. They have formed a joint student, teachers and workers ‘tri-government’ with a student majority to replace the administration and create a ‘new’ university.

On September 2, a student congress met and made a Manifesto. It states that their fight is the same as the masses fight. That the time has come to end the corrupt, exploitative university system, which is part of capitalism. It calls for support from all the exploited people of Bolivia to make this fight their fight. It demands a living minimum wage pegged to inflation; work for all by reducing the hours of work but not the wage; for social insurance financed by the employer’s state; for the self-determination of the Quechuas, Aymaras and Tupiguaranis; that control of the gas (Bolivia’s main resource) and all other means of production are taken over by a Workers’ state; in short, for a transition from capitalism to communism (social property, self-government of the masses without a state).

Political differences among the students and the local unions has led to a split between those who want to restore the Rector and work with him to gain some reforms in funding to reduce the costs of education, and those who want to continue the strong line of building support between the students, the rank and file of the miners and workers in the COD, and extend the struggle to other universities in Bolivia. CWG backs those who want to deepen and extend this fight rather than do deals with the administration and trade union bureaucrats to contain the struggle within the limit of Mesa’s parliamentary regime.

Now into their third month of occupation, the Oruro students, teachers, workers and poor farmers continue to be a flaming beacon showing the way for the Bolivian masses that have twice risen up in insurrections in 2003 and are the vanguard of the struggle against the policies of US imperialism in Latin America. They have sent out an urgent call to workers in Bolivia, Latin America and all over the world to support their struggle.

Pass a resolution of support for the occupation in your union, workplace, university or school!

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY with comrade Cesar Zelada, well-known Peruvian student activist, was arrested on Monday 13 September in La Paz (Bolivia) under the false accusation of terrorism. Cesar traveled to Bolivia taking the greeting of the Peruvian students to the students, workers and people of Oruro, who continue a heroic and exemplary occupation of their university. The accusation of terrorism, clearly false, is the fashionable pretext to repress the popular struggle. We know well as the Peruvian regime does it. We support Cesar. We salute the heroic fight of the students and people of Oruro. We demand of the Bolivian government the immediate and unconditional freedom of Cesar Zelada and we call for the widest unity in action until we have won his freedom.

ComitĂ© Organizador de una Liga Trotskista Internacionalista (COLTI) de PerĂș

For more information see


Message of Solidarity sent to UTO by CWGNZ
Comrades of the Occupation of University of Technology Oruro,

Dear Comrades of the Committee of Defence,

The Communist Workers Group of New Zealand is in strong solidarity with your occupation of the university and in your fight for student and worker control of education.

We agree with the program of demands that makes the university a base for the transformation to a communist society. We endorse your struggle to win the support of rank and file teachers, workers and poor farmers.

From Class Struggle 58 October-November 2004

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