Santacruceños demand that the population census be carried out in 2023 so that its results are reflected in 2025, but the sustained refusal of the Government has led the demonstrators to maintain the forceful measures
19 days after its start, the strike in Bolivia and blockades of institutions remain “firm” (EFE)
The department of Santa Cruz is the largest region in Bolivia, the economic engine of the country and, for 20 days, also the epicenter of stoppages and blockades of state buildings. The root of these conflicts lies in the request for a population census to be carried out in 2023-that allows the implementation of government measures based on said data- but that the Government refuses to carry out until later.
The measure of force gained momentum after the technical commission – chaired by the Executive – together with representatives of municipalities, governorships and indigenous jurisdictions of the nine regions of the country, to conclude that the census would take place between March and April 2024.
< p class="paragraph">It is in this context that roadblocks have spread to the main institutions dependent on the national government. Several students from the Gabriel René Moreno State Autonomous University (Uagrm) -an entity part of the 2023 Census Driving Committee- stood at the entrance of the National Tax Offices in order to prevent taxpayers from carrying out their paperwork .
The people of Santa Cruz call for the census to be carried out in 2023 (REUTERS )
This led to pushes and struggles in the vicinity, between those who claimed to enter the building to carry out their efforts and the blockers. In turn, a contingent of police officers was deployed at the door of the headquarters in order to prevent a potential physical takeover of the establishment.
Blockades of government institutions are now the new form of protest adopted by the demonstrators promoting the indefinite strike. In the coming days, it is expected that these actions will be extended to the offices of the state Bolivian Fiscal Oilfields (YPFB), National Telecommunications Company (Entel) and the National Institute for Agrarian Reform(INRA).
Also, in the streets of Santa Cruz there have been placed barbed wires, logs and various obstacles that They prevent the passage of motorcycles and bicycles, which has reduced traffic in the city to the extreme.
Logs and barbed wire have reduced circulation in Santa Cruz (EFE)
Faced with the government's refusal to accommodate the population's request, the president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, Rómulo Calvo, announced to the local media that “ the continuity of the strike is firm” and that they will not accept “any imposition”, which once again ratified the request for next year.
On the eve, the Technicians from the Government of Santa Cruz left the meetingwhich had been convened due to the “resounding no” received on previous occasions. Representatives from the municipalities of La Paz, Tarija and Trinidad joined this meeting.
After this event, the civic leaders of Santa Cruz announced that they are going to “define what actions to take” in the next few hours; for his part, the opposition leader and governor of the region, Luis Fernando Camacho, had anticipated that there would be a “radicalization” and “massification” of the protests.
For its part, the Executive remains firm in its position and blunt in the face of the actions carried out by the protesters. After leaving the technical table, the presidential spokesman, Jorge Richter , gave a press conference in which he denounced that the region has been -again- the scene of acts of violence .
Jorge Richter assured that “there is no longer any reason” to maintain the strike because the technical table has already defined the date of the census (EFE)
In that sense, he listed a series of actions that took place during the day and the day before, such as a confrontation in the town of Buena Vista and the death of a young motorcyclist who collided with a cable strung – presumably by protesters – between the ends of a street.
According to Richter “there is no longer a reason” to maintain the strike because the technical table has already defined the date of the census so, now, it only remains for the Government of Luis Arce to issue a rule that supports the commission's report.
(C with information from EFE)