Bomb Explodes Near Shultz Motorcade
Local Cocaine Traffickers Suspected in Bolivian Terrorist Attack
LA PAZ, Bolivia--A remote-controlled bomb exploded on a road yesterday amid the motorcade of Secretary of State George P. Shultz, shattering the window of his wife's car but causing no injuries.
The Bolivian government blamed cocaine traffickers for the assassination attempt on the outskirts of La Paz, as well as for a second bombing yesterday at the U.S. commissary in the city. No injuries were reported in the later bombing, although the door of the commissary was damaged.
Police said the bomb, which they believe was several sticks of dynamite, was detonated by someone on a grassy hill overlooking the road seconds after Shultz's car had passed.
At the time of the blast, dozens of people were on the hill watching the ll-car motorcade travel from the airport to the city.
Three cars were damaged, including one in which Mr. Shultz's wife, Helena, was traveling.
The explosion, witnessed by this reporter from a vantage point several cars behind the official motorcade, blew a hole in the road and scattered chunks of pavement, rocks and dirt over a wide area.
Afterward, dozens of police officers hurriedly sealed off the road and climbed a nearby hill to search for the bombers. They found a wire they said had been used to detonate the bomb.
Shultz's spokesman, Charles Redman, quoted the secretary as saying the attack would not dissuade the United States in its efforts to stem Bolivia's thriving cocaine trade.
"If people are hoping for some sort of interruption in our drug interdiction efforts, that is not in the cards," Redman said at a briefing. He said he was paraphrasing Shultz.
In a statement released at the White House, presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said, "Terrorist tactics, such as used against Secretary Shultz and his motorcade in Bolivia today, are always repugnant."
"Thankfully, the secretary's party was not injured, but the fact remains that an attack on U.S. officials cannot be tolerated. We ask the government of Bolivia to bring those responsible to justice," Fitzwater said.
Shultz was riding in the first few cars of the motorcade, apart from his wife. Mrs. Shultz was in the first car that was damaged, medical personnel were in the second, and Redman was in the third, said State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley in Washington.
The bomb, which exploded between the sixth and seventh cars, smashed windows and blew tires on the three damaged cars.
Shultz had been scheduled to go to the Hotel La Paz but instead was rushed directly to the U.S. Embassy, which was cordoned off by police and had sharpshooters dispatched to the roof.
The rest of Shultz's schedule was unchanged, Ms. Oakley said.
There was no claim of responsibility for the bombings, but Foreign Minister Guillermo Bedregal said both were the work of cocaine dealers. Bedregal was riding in Shultz's car along with U.S. Embassy charge d'affaires David Greenley.