July 7, 2001

Bolivian president suffering from lung, liver cancer

                 WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Bolivian President Hugo Bánzer Suarez is suffering
                 from cancer in his lung and liver, Information Minister Manfredo Kempff told
                 Bolivian Radio Saturday.

                 Kempff gave the interview from Washington, where Bánzer, 74, is being treated
                 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

                 Officials at the hospital and Bolivian embassy in the United States could not be
                 reached for comment.

                 Bánzer overthrew the leftist Gen. Juan José Torres in 1971 and served as
                 president until 1978. He was forced to resign that year following a coup by
                 Gen. Juan Pereda Asbún, and was exiled to Argentina.

                 Bánzer returned the following year and ran for president, only to lose the
                 election. Voters did re-elect him in 1997 as leader of the Nationalist Democratic
                 Action Party (ADN).

                 His government has committed itself to shutting down illegal coca cultivation
                 and drug trafficking during its five-year term. The president has called for action
                 against government and judicial corruption and has encouraged foreign
                 investment as a means to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty,
                 according to the U.S. State Department.

                 - Journalist Gloria Carrasco in La Paz, Bolivia contributed to this report