Monday, October 20, 2003

Bolivia's New Leader Takes Over a Chaotic and Angry Nation

LA PAZ, Bolivia, Oct. 18 — One of the books that Carlos Mesa wrote when he was a historian is titled "Bolivian Presidents: Between the Voting Booth and the Gun." Mr. Mesa is about to experience that situation himself.

Mr. Mesa was sworn in as president of South America's poorest and most unstable country late Friday night, following the resignation of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who immediately left for the United States. The country has been paralyzed since mid-September by antigovernment protests that Mr. Sánchez de Lozada had tried to quell with force, leaving more than 80 dead.