Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora has signed into law the bill regarding the national census, which had sparked a 36-day strike in the province of Santa Cruz, where most of the country's rightwing population opposing the Socialist government lives.
As per the new legislation, the Population and Housing Census will be carried out in March 2024 after various postponements citing technical reasons. The new survey would update the legislative representation and the state funding allocated to Santa Cruz for political activities.
The Executive branch had already decided by decree that this survey would be carried out on March 23, 2024. However, the opposition insisted on it being approved by law.
Upon signing the enactment of the bill Friday, Arce said losses due to the strike amounted to around US$ 1.2 billion. The law that was approved in Congress is not from the right, it was raised by the left, and it does not infringe competencies. It is a law for the application of census results, Arce argued.
Meanwhile, former President Evo Morales warned that the new law entailed the return of the neoliberal pactocracy, the pact of impunity in exchange for governability.
Presidential Spokesman Jorge Richter announced that although Arce's administration had had the law approved, the organizers of the 36-day strike, namely Luis Fernando Camacho, Rómulo Calvo, and Vicente Cuéllar must answer for the violence, deaths, and the economic losses.
Richter also admitted the possibility of militarizing Santa Cruz under a state of exception had been on Arce's table. President Arce made the decision, distanced from the opinions of external and internal actors, and opted for pacification,” he said.