BOLIVIA'S ousted woman president took refuge in the Vatican mission in the city of La Paz, after last week's coup, the country's I 89th, in 155 years of independence.
Mrs Lydia Gueiler Tejada had to seek asylum in the nunciature headed by Archbishop Laigueglia Giuseppe when an army division overthrew her Government after it became clear that the June 29 elections would put leftist formerpresident Hernan Sites Zuazo back in power.
Zuazo himself and Fr Julio Tumiri, leader of the National Council in Defence of Democracy have also gone underground. Archbishop Jorge Manrique of La Paz had warned before the coup: "We vigorously condemn any revolution no matter what its source. and we proclaim to the world beforehand that it will be the greatest treason to our country."
About 94 per cent of Bolivia's six million people are nominally Catholic. The country has the highest proportion of Indians in South America, and only a third of the population speaks Spanish.
The Bolivian Indians are the first victims of aid from the United States according to reports in the Spanish magazine Vida Nueva. Usaid-Bolivia has linked its spending over the next 20 years with the sterilisation of 700,000 women.
The Bolivian Bishops' Conference has strongly denounced the sterilisation programme. "This international aggression," it said," which has all the characteristics of modern genocide. shows the true intentions of rich nations." Bolivia as the poorest country in South America was wide open to manipulation by suppliers of aid.