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Montevideo, February 7th 2023 - 11:11 UTC

 

 

Tension escalates in Bolivian department of Cochabamba

Tuesday, November 1st 2022 - 22:15 UTC
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The situation in Cochabamba is tantamount to state-sponsored terrorism, the Census Committee argued The situation in Cochabamba is tantamount to state-sponsored terrorism, the Census Committee argued

Bolivia's National 2023 Census Committee gave President Luis Arce Catacora's ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) 48 hours to pull the party's strike forces from Cochabamba, or else radical pressure measures will be adopted.

“We urge the central government to withdraw from the department of Santa Cruz, within the next 48 hours, the pro-government shock groups that have moved there with the purpose of violently attacking the citizens' mobilization for the 2023 census, and to stop all acts of violence,” a statement from the Committee read.

Read also: Bolivia in conflict with the country's richest province over shared resources

The group also warned Arce would be held accountable for the unwanted consequences of the conflict.

The Interinstitutional Committee of Santa Cruz started an indefinite strike 11 days ago to demand that voter registration be carried out in 2023 and not in 2024, as proposed by the Government. In response to this initiative, MAS clash forces besieged the region in a so far unsuccessful move to get the civic groups to drop their attitude.

However, residents are already feeling the lack of supplies and the absence of sanitary services such as garbage collection, in addition to the lack of fuel, shortage in food and supplies and the inability to sell local production elsewhere amid threatening violence constitutes state terrorism, the group argued. The statement also denounces that the violent groups, far from being dispersed or contained, are escorted and protected by the National Police.

The Committee was formed on Oct. 30 and is made up of the presidents of the civic committees of Bolivia's nine regions.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Jorge Richter said a “channel and conduit of dialogue” could be established for the pacification of the country. “Dialogue has to begin, this is our expectation, to be held today, it has to be installed today and surely the committee will have a delay of 24 hours, no longer than that, so that it can be conformed, structured...”

Richter also admitted during a press conference that if the indefinite strike can be lifted, so can the road blockades around Santa Cruz, where the Federation of Private Business Entities of Cochabamba (FEPC) has already reported losses amounting to Bo$ 389 million (around US$ 56.4 million). The Association of Poultry Farmers of Cochabamba (ADA) also warned of the risks of shortages of chicken meat, eggs, and their byproducts.

FEPC President Luis Laredo said that the conflict in Santa Cruz jeopardizes the basic family basket in Cochabamba and the rest of the country, in addition to causing a price increase of up to 25 % over the next few days.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.
Tags: Bolivia.

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