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Bolivia Unrest

eTN Inbox: Turmoil in Bolivia

Darius Morgan for Grillion Tours  Sep 29, 2008

The dialog that started on September 16th, continues with tensions among government officials, the different prefectos (state governors) in the presence of international supporters in the city of Cochabamba. This dialog pretends to conclude the agenda between both parties after the Oil Taxes distribution theme has been already agreed. The main issue is the one referred to the new Constitution adjustments and Autonomic states inclusion on it.

After many days of road blockades to Santa Cruz, social movements (campesinos, coca growers, miners) and followers of the governmental socialists party (MAS) are marching towards the city of Santa Cruz. Leaders of these groups explained that they will move on towards Sta. Cruz to make sure the prefectos of the opposition sign the new proposal, presented by our President Evo Morales - before leaving to a United Nations meeting in New York - and to have everything cleared for his return while letting the Constitutional referendum run by Oct. 15th.

Morales sympathizers originally announced that if the opposition does not signs the mentioned agreement, they will take over the local government and ask for the governor to resign. Even thought they claim that their intentions are peaceful, they carry machetes, sticks and some weapons, the police and people in the city, fear that it may come to violent confrontations at some point of encounters of the two rival groups. Women in Sta. Cruz went out to the streets in today asking for peace. Later today the campesinos will hold a general meeting and attending a request from Evo Morales, they might already announce officially that they are suspending their pressure.

The International Exposition Fair in Sta. Cruz (FEXPOCRUZ) opened on Sept. 19th continued its program; a decrease in attendance was felt due to the previous days conflicts. Santa Cruz anniversary was to be celebrated on Sep 45, but due to the road blockades, all official program was suspended

Due to these marches, roads to Santa Cruz are still closed and American Airlines announced last week that it will stop their flights until Oct. 2, all passengers are rerouted trough LIM (Lima International), SCL (Chile International) & EZE (Buenos Aires International). All other airlines (International and local) continue operating normally.

In La Paz, some other governmental supporters demonstrate peacefully against the release or transfer of the prefecto of Pando Mr. Leopoldo Fernandez, who has been arrested and has been charged for the violence occurred in the Pando Region during the confrontations of Sep. 11th. It is expected to conclude a final investigation in the coming weeks on this matter, but since Mr. Fernandez is an elected governor (ratified in the Aug 10th. referendum), the supreme court of Sucre, ordered his transfer to Sucre.

As a protective measurement we are still avoiding any tourism operation in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando or Tarija. There are no threats in the La Paz - Titicaca region, Sucre, Potosi nor the Salar de Uyuni.

eTN Inbox:  Turmoil in Bolivia
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