Bolivia: Roadblocks against the Dictatorship Setting up Around the Country

August 3, 2020

The indefinite general strike with roadblocks called by the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB) and the Unity Pact, which brings together the country’s social movements, is massing on the roads from La Paz to Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, demanding that the general elections scheduled for September 6 be held and not postponed until October 18, as determined by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

Starting on August 3, the blockades immediately began to be felt on the road that connects the city of El Alto with the interior of the country, in the High Valley and the Tropic of Cochabamba, in San Julián of the department of Santa Cruz, as well as in rural sectors of the department of Oruro and Chuquisaca, according to the Bolivian Police report.

The general strike and roadblocks were decided upon at a town hall meeting held in the city of El Alto, La Paz, on July 28 where social organizations from the nine departments of the country gathered for a massive protest march. The social movements reject the postponement of the election until Oct. 18 as announced by TSE president Salvador Romero, arguing the risk of the highest peak of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in August and the first week of September.

The national elections were supposed to be held on May 3, but because of the spread of COVID-19, they were postponed to August 2. However, due to the consensus of the main party fronts included in the presidential elections, they were postponed to September 6; however, the TSE then decided to delay them to October 18.

Faced with this panorama, the peasant and intercultural sectors, neighborhood councils and unions affiliated with the COB decided to take their opposition to the streets in view of the risk of the constant extension of the mandate of the transitional president Jeanine Áñez, whom they blame for the disaster caused to the economy and the health of the Bolivian people, that has been exacerbated since March because of her complete neglect and incapability  of implementing an efficient health plan to confront and contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The southern zone of Cochabamba, District 8, began with the blockades on Petrolera Avenue. Likewise, there are marches and town halls in Barrio Millini, Tupiyan crossing, north of Quillacollo in defense of democracy and freedom that are in support of the national road blockade and the COB’s indefinite general strike.

It is expected that in the next few hours the blockades will spread and be installed on the road to Chile, Peru, and with greater intensity in the departments of Cochabamba, La Paz, Beni, Oruro, Pando, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Potosi and Tarija.

After receiving the instruction at the national level from the organizations Tupac Katari and Bartolina Sisa, leaders of the communities installed a roadblock at the site demanding that the elections scheduled for September 6 are respected.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau