The civic leaders of Santa Cruzthe largest region and economic engine of Bolivia, announced this weekend the end of the indefinite strike that began 36 days ago by the population census, after the Chamber of Deputies approved a law that sets the national survey for March 23, 2024.
Last week, the leaders of Santa Cruz had accepted that the survey be carried out in 2024, recognizing that the regional proposal to do it next year was no longer technically sustainable due to the expansion of the conflict, something that was finally settled with the approval, in the early morning of Saturday, of a law that must now be analyzed in the Senate. While the opposition celebrated the result of the vote, Former President Evo Morales spoke of a “betrayal” of the ruling party.
“We are still in an emergency”
“From this moment we make an intermediate room, we lift the strike and blockades without suspending our fightwe are still in an emergency,” declared the president of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee, Romulo Calvo. The leader maintained that “democracy won” and that there is no longer only “a petty and uncertain decree”, but that a law on the census was achieved.
The civic citizens of Santa Cruz asked the regional government, led by the opposition Luis Fernando Camacho, to carry out a “census survey” in 2023 to find out the number of inhabitants of the department and compare that figure with the data from the national census, scheduled for 23 March 2024. They also ratified that from next week the commission that will analyze a new relationship between the region and the Bolivian State will begin to work so that the link ceases to be “toxic”.
Evo: “We do not negotiate with the right”
“The Lower House has complied with the Bolivian people by approving the law for the application of the census results of population and housing in the financial and electoral spheres”, the president of that instance, the official Xerges Market. The norm has now passed to the Senate, whose president, the pro-government Andrónico Rodríguez, questioned the norm, although he indicated that the legislative procedure will be applied to debate it “without affecting the powers of the Executive.”
The party of former president Carlos Mesa, Comunidad Ciudadana, supported together with the opposition party We already believe a majority of the pro-government Movement for Socialism (MAS) approved the rule that establishes some parameters for the application of the results of the national survey in the distribution resources and parliamentary seats. Some legislators identified with a faction close to former President Evo Morales rejected it following the line dictated in previous days by the former president.
Morales questioned on Twitter the approval of the law that has now passed to the Senate. “We have returned to the agreed democracy of the neoliberal era, to the pactocracy, or government of pacts, behind the back of the people. The census law is the pact of impunity between renewing traitors and massacres of our brothers. Revolutionaries do not negotiate with the right“, fired the also president of the MAS, who criticized the deputies who “received the vote to do justice for the massacres of the de facto government, but approved the law of the coup leaders Tuto, Mesa and Camacho.”
Neighbors for and against
Santa Cruz began an indefinite strike on October 22 after having completed another 24 and 48 hours to demand that the population census be carried out in 2023. The national survey was to be carried out this month, but in July the government of Luis Arce postponed it to 2024 citing technical problems, which led to protests especially in Santa Cruz.
During more than a month of protests, public transport was paralyzed and retail markets operated sporadically one or two days a week. There were also clashes in the streets between opponents and supporters of the ruling party that left, according to the government, four dead and more than 170 injured.
Before the announcement of the suspension of the strike, many people immediately left the street blockades where they kept vigil daily. This Sunday the Municipal Urban Cleaning Company (Emacruz) together with the municipal government of Santa Cruz began the cleaning tasks and managed to collect 2,167 tons of waste, which was taken for final disposal in the local dump.
The approval of the norm in the Lower House left some Santa Cruz with little taste. “The strike leaves a lot to be desired.at first it was for an objective, the census in 2023, and then it was dissolved, things were changed and it ended up being to promulgate a law,” he commented. Harold Vacaa neighbor who lives in the center of the city of Santa Cruz.
Vaca considered that the conflict “could be avoided from the beginning by promulgating the law” and, in his opinion, Santa Cruz had profits and losses. for his part Adolfo Villarroela 46-year-old vendor, pointed out that the suspension of the measure “was something that people already needed”, because “everywhere you see people suffering, begging for freedombegging for the right to free transit”.
According to local media, a group of masked people supposedly dissatisfied with the suspension of the strike arrived on Saturday at the house of civic leader Rómulo Calvo to throw stones and set off firecrackers. Other radical groups refused to lift the blockades and are demanding that the civic leaders call a council to define whether or not to suspend the strike.