The Bolivian government on Wednesday asked protesters supportive of former President Evo Morales to lift the road closures that have been going on for 10 days and that have caused food and fuel shortages in the central region of Cochabamba. Besides, The country has accumulated losses of 600 million dollars as a result of the blockades.
But Morales has conditioned the end of the protests because the judges—among them those whoand rejected his eventual presidential nomination— conclude their mandate and call elections for magistrates in the Legislature.
Blockade on the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway. Photo: Duty
“Out of humanity we ask that an intermediate room so that people who are stopped at the blocking points, trucks can pass and, likewise, fuel can reach the different departments,” Jaime Mamani, vice minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances, said at a press conference.
The same request was made by banana producers, poultry farmers and pig breeders, among others, while heavy transport marches in Santa Cruz, the country's economic engine. “We can't take it anymore”said heavy transportation leader Juan Yucra.
The government reported on Wednesday that in the 10 days of protest the country lost more than 600 million dollars.
Why are they protesting?
Coca growers and peasants related to Morales began the force measure last week in rejection of the extension of functions of the judges of the Judicial Branch after the Plurinational Constitutional Court (TCP) in December dealt the former president a hard blow to his intention to run next year for the presidential elections.
In the markets of La Paz food prices rose product of a shortage mainly chicken, beef and various vegetables.
Members of the transportation sector demonstrate during a march against the blockades. Photo: EFE
The government of President Luis Arce has reported that airway is trying to mitigate the lack of products that arrive from Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. He also reported that he is importing a greater amount of fuel.
Meanwhile, Morales published on his X account, formerly Twitter, that the “government must immediately make it possible to call judicial elections and the cessation of functions of the extended magistrates.”
To the approval of the law to call the elections of the Judicial Body in the shortest possible time, the cessation of functions of the extended magistrates, whose functions ended on December 31, 2023, must also be added.
It must also be returned to the…
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) January 31, 2024
On Tuesday he reported that the police carried out a “repression against innocent and humble women” in the southern region of Oruro.
In the country there are 24 locks, 20 in the strategic region of Cochabamba that has the main roads that connect the east with the west. Mamani denied that there had been strong repression and pointed out that the points were reduced compared to Tuesday.
Meanwhile, legislators from the ruling party and the opposition are working on a bill to call judicial elections, but there is still no information on the continuity of the extended magistrates. At the beginning of the year judges extended their functions after an agreement was not reached in the Legislature to call elections for magistrates.
In Bolivia magistrates are elected at the polls of the Constitutional Court, whose candidates must be previously selected in the Legislative Assembly by two-thirds of the votes.
With information from the Associated Press