Date: Tue, 30 Jun 98 17:43:18 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Weekly Americas News Update #439, 6/28/98
Article: 38056
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** reg.nicaragua: 65.0 **/
** Topic: Weekly News Update #439, 6/28/98 **
** Written 7:47 AM Jun 29, 1998 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **

Guyana President Threatens State of Emergency

Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, Weekly Americas

On June 26 Guyanese president Janet Jagan announced that she may declare a state of emergency if disturbances that began on June 17 continue. The president blamed the opposition People's National Congress (PNC), led by ex-president Desmond Hoyte (1985-92), who lost to Jagan's People's Progressive Party (PPP) in Dec. 15 elections which the PNC considers fraudulent [see Updates #412, 416]. Demonstrations by hundreds of PNC supporters June 17-19 and June 22-23 left dozens of people injured as police used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters, who threw incendiary bombs at the agents. A fire of unknown origin damaged the Finance Ministry on June 23. A small bomb went off in the Health Ministry, one block from Jagan's office, on June 24; no injuries were reported. More protests are planned for June 29. [Nuevo Herald (Miami) 6/27/98 from AFP; El Universal (Caracas) 6/24/98, 6/24/98]

In January, both the PPP and the PNC agreed to revise the constitution, hold new elections in 36 months and ask for an audit by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The CARICOM report found only minor incidents of fraud. But Hoyte says the protests don't have to do with elections but with other elements, principally unemployment and racial discrimination. The PPP's main base is the approximately 60% of Guyanese whose ancestors immigrated from India, while the PNC's strongest support is among Guyanese of African descent, the second-largest ethnic group. [NH 6/27/98 from AFP] About 70% of Guyana's 750,000 residents live below the poverty line. [El Universal 6/27/98]