The national enlarged meeting of the Bolivian Workers’ Union (COB) gathered in Cochabamba on January 22, and decided to call for an indefinite general strike with road blockades in twenty days time if Mesa’s government does not concede the demands of the October insurrection and continues with its announced austerity measures. The COB meeting “ended with the decision to take power, by closing down Parliament." This decision marks the end of the truce given by the worker and peasant leaders to Carlos Mesa’s government.

The victory of Lula well over a year ago in Brazil represented a dramatic shift to the left in Brazilian society. However, the Lula government once elected quickly moved to applying the programme of the bosses. This is preparing new contradictions within the Brazilian labour movement.

There is widespread opposition to the Mesa government, however the general strike that was supposed to take place in Februaray this did not take place. Jorge Martin looks at the factors that explain this. The situation remains an explosive one.