Source AP ©

Work at Bolivia's busiest airport suspended over wage strikes

A one-day strike of workers demanding back pay caused cancel of all flights at Bolivia's busiest airport on Wednesday.

Employees at Viru Viru International Airport in the eastern city of Santa Cruz called a 24-hour strike to demand two months' of back pay frozen by the government. President Evo Morales' administration has placed a hold on the funds while investigating allegations of corruption at Viru Viru.

Among the flights canceled was American Airlines' Tuesday night-Wednesday circuit from Miami to La Paz to Santa Cruz and back to Miami.

Service at the airport, however, was expected to return to normal Thursday.

Santa Cruz is a center of opposition to Morales's leftist government. In October, airport officials demanded airlines pay their landing fees to local authorities in cash, rather than deposit the money with the government's aviation agency.

Morales ordered soldiers to take control of the airport, but later withdrew the troops to avoid bloodshed as thousands of Santa Cruz residents seized the facility.

The relatively rich state of Santa Cruz has long sought greater autonomy from Bolivia's central government, demanding a bigger share of its natural gas revenues. Morales argues that the cash should go to help other poorer parts of the country.

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