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English Language Broadcast - Panorama: Lebanon and Bolivia -13/08/20

13 ago 2020

Today's program features two reports on crises, long in the making, erupting in the midst of the pandemic. The first is on Lebanon a week after the Beruit port and much of the city was destroyed when more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate left in a hangar unattended six years finally exploded. More than two hundred deaths, six thousand injured and 300,000 people left homeless: that's one assessment of the result of the apparent criminal negligence behind the blast. 10 to 15 billion dollars in damages in a city in which basic utilities, water and electricity as well as internet connection and garbage collection are not guaranteed: that's another assessment of what most Lebanese refer to as the utter corruption of the politicians governing them. Now Lebanon, a former French protectorate, finds itself depending on foreign funding and IMF loans which as Greece knows well bring their own consequences. But Lebanon has a way to go before that. The government has resigned, a national investigation into the blast has begun, and many more people in what was once known as the Jewel of the Middle East will go hungry. The second report is on Bolivia a week after the major labor unions and indiginous associations, peasants and urban workers, united in a general strike and began to block highways in protest against a third postponement of elections. Self-appointed President Jeanine Áñez has called on the military to intervene and members of her cabinet speak of a potential "civil war" less than one year after the disputed elections of 2019 resulted in a coup that forced President Evo Morales into exile. Morales is calling on his followers to accept the latest date for elections but also to demand that date be fixed and unchangable.

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