Bolivia Fails to Win Release of 150 Executives

Share via
United Press International

President Hernan Siles Zuazo failed Friday to win the release of about 150 business executives who have been held hostage since Wednesday by workers demanding pay raises.

Negotiations between the president, industry management and labor union representatives broke down Friday after more than 20 hours of nonstop talks at the presidential palace.

Siles and industry owners demand that the hostages be released before the negotiation of any wage settlements. The workers refuse to free their captives until they receive 200% raises. The workers argue that they need the pay raise just to try to keep up with Bolivian inflation, calculated officially for 1984 at 2,177% and believed to be the highest in the world.


Workers at 34 Bolivian factories took company executives hostage Wednesday and are holding them in their offices. The workers are not armed, and the occupation of the factories is peaceful, government spokesmen said.

‘Tired of Procrastination’ The workers accepted food and blankets sent into the factories for the hostages.

“We are tired of the procrastination by private enterprise, whose leaders scoff at past agreements,” Eduardo Siles of the factory workers union said in explaining why the workers resorted to taking hostages. He is no relation to the president.

Most industry in La Paz was shut down Friday for the second day by owners protesting the workers’ action.