Civic groups determined to maintain the protest, which has been going on for 23 days, and have given 72 hours for a law on the distribution of resources to be issued “ with the final data” of the census, which the Government of Luis Arce established for March 2024
Humberto Vacaflor GanamFrom La Paz, Bolivia
Protest in Santa Cruz (Reuters)
After sending hordes of coca growers and angry police against Santa Cruz, the government of Luis Arce threatens to arrest civic leaders, who now decided to review the future relationship of the region with the Bolivian State.
Criticized by Evo Morales, by the opposition, citizens who hate the idea of a new electoral fraud, anyway Arce decreed that the census be done on March 23, 2024, which will not give time to find out the gaps in the voter rolls where the trap nests.
Santa Cruz now demands guarantees that the results of the census they will be taken into account in the 2025 elections.
A prosecutor's office in the remote city of La Paz accepted a criminal lawsuit against the governor of Santa Cruz, Fernando Camacho, the civic leader Rómulo Calvo and the rector of the Santa Cruz University, Vicente Cuéllar, for alleged attacks against the president and violations of order public.
A massive open meeting held this Sunday in Santa Cruz showed the determination of that city of two million inhabitants to maintain the work stoppage that has lasted 23 days and that chokes the economy.
Calvo made five inquiries to those present at the town hall, with positive responses, referring to the census and the elections. The second was:
“Do you all agree to delegate to the Pro Santa Cruz Committee the convening of a constitutional commission, which, within the legal and democratic framework, reviews the future Santa Cruz's political relationship with the Bolivian State?”
The answer was a resounding “Yes”.
Vigil at the doors of the regional management of the National Tax Service, within the strike for the 2023 census that is taking place in Santa Cruz (EFE)
It is that the abuses committed by the hordes sent by the government, with and without uniform, reached unacceptable extremes. They looked like angry Russian troops advancing into the Ukraine.
Columnist Susana Seleme immediately tweeted the following on the question of Santa Cruz's future relationship with the Bolivian state:
< p class="paragraph">“Susana Seleme: Great political qualitative leap, since there is talk of Santa Cruz's relationship with the State!
“The census is no longer requested in 2023; there has been a qualitative political leap: it is the relationship with a centralist and unitary state. Actually, the fight is already for a State Reform…”
In the midst of the protests, businessmen from Santa Cruz ask the government of Arce to lift the ban of exportsthat it ordered at the beginning of the conflict and that stops the departure of bovine meat, soybeans, oils, grains, which represent 77% of Bolivia's non-traditional exports.
The leaders of Santa Cruz know that the economy is on life support, but President Arce doesn't seem to know it, judging by the triumphant speech he made last week.
The Central Bank now has just 886 million dollars of reserves and their officials believe that, added to the conflict, in January there could be a situation of bankruptcy.
The energy balance is negative, now that gas exports generate fewer dollars than those needed to import gasoline and diesel.
This inspires those who believe that Arce is trying to make the crisis worse because he wants to be overthrown, so that the economic crisis falls like a hot potato in the mouth of an opposition government.
When announcing the final date of the census, Arce said that the previous one, carried out in 2012, was carried out without updated cartography, which is equivalent to self-immolation, since he was economy minister at that time.
He was justifying the postponement of the current census, which was to be done in these days of November 2022, on the pretext that it is necessary to have a complete cartography.
Evo Morales opined that with today's computerized means cartographies are made very easily and that Arce's argument is weak. In addition, he recalled that the 2012 census cost a third of what the 2024 census will cost.
Morales even criticized the date chosen by Arce, March 23, a holiday in Bolivia , the Day of the Sea, in memory of the unprovoked Chilean invasion of 1879 to Bolivian territory on the Pacific.
From the front of the president, the deputy Héctor Arce assures that the followers of Morales wants to overthrow Luis Arce in a coup, then present the cocalero as the savior.
Santa Cruz residents fear that the government will now order police forces and armed civilians to has displaced the city of Santa Cruz, that they go into battle, beat the people with even more fury and capture the leaders of the protest.
It would be a operation identical to the one that Morales commanded in 2009 against the leaders of Santa Cruz, which included the arrest of civic leaders cos, businessmen, journalists, the murder of three foreigners.