Crisis in Bolivia: the presidential dispute worsens
Protests over presidential results have caused losses of 167 million dollars .
Massive protest in Bolivia against the presidential reelection of Evo Morales. / Photo: EFE
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
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Leer en español: Crisis en Bolivia: empeora la disputa presidencial
After learning that Evo Morales won the presidential elections, with results questioned by the opposition, Bolivia has been experiencing constant demonstrations and protests by citizens who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the elections.
At first, the protests sought that Carlos Mesa, an opposition candidate who took second place in the elections, and Evo Morales went to a second round so that the Bolivian people could choose. However, according to El País, the objective has changed and protesters now demand the immediate resignation of the entire government. In addition, they also demand new elections in which Evo Morales cannot participate.
Mesa has declared, through his Twitter account, that "the greatest risk for democracy is the permanence of Evo Morales in power."
El mayor riesgo para la democracia es la permanencia de Evo Morales en el poder. En consecuencia, planteamos que la forma democrática y pacífica de lograr la salida de Morales del gobierno, es el voto popular. pic.twitter.com/R7SNXgq1jL— Carlos D. Mesa Gisbert (@carlosdmesag) 4 de noviembre de 2019
In order to verify the results of the elections, at the request of the Morales government, the OAS will carry out an audit that will end on November 12. This organization had previously suggested the completion of a second round. However, the opposition has expressed its disagreement with the audit as it demands the immediate resignation of Morales and his officials.
Con relación al comunicado de prensa de la OEA. pic.twitter.com/2lxJ5fS60R— Carlos D. Mesa Gisbert (@carlosdmesag) 31 de octubre de 2019
For its part, Evo Morales has stated that he will respect the conclusions of the OAS audit. In his Twitter account, the president said that "from the leadership and the presidency we always act with honesty and truth."
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Vamos a respetar las conclusiones de la auditoría internacional a cargo de la @OEA_oficial. Pido a los embajadores de todos los países acreditados en #Bolivia que acompañen este proceso. Desde la dirigencia y la presidencia actuamos siempre con honestidad y con la verdad. pic.twitter.com/WYx4gl3YrP— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) 2 de noviembre de 2019
Some of the Protestants have claimed that the country will return to normal once Morales has resigned from the presidency. In statements collected by El País, which were broadcast on national television, one woman said that "the only thing that will pacify the country is Evo's resignation."
Morales employees have accused the United States and the national right-wing of wanting to destabilize the country. Juan Ramón Quintana, minister of the presidency, has argued that what is intended is to create a new Vietnam in Bolivia.
Escalation of violence and discrimination
The results, which have been described as fraudulent, have led both sympathizers and opponents of Morales to take the streets. The situation has led to complaints about violence and discrimination against indigenous groups.
Morales himself has lamented that religion is being used to convene demonstrations and promote racism.
Nuestro Estado Plurinacional garantiza la libertad de culto; ahora ya no hay religiones de primera ni de segunda. Lamento mucho que se use la religión para convocar movilizaciones con racismo y discriminación. La religión es reconciliación, respeto y bendición entre hermanos. pic.twitter.com/vceaB7x3rZ— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) 5 de noviembre de 2019
On the other hand, the country is already beginning to suffer the economic consequences of two weeks of constant demonstrations. Luis Arce, Minister of Economy, explained that US $167 million have been lost. One of the main reasons why these losses occur is due to the closing of borders that reduces the collection of taxes and tariffs and the taking of the offices of the National Tax Service.
According to CNN, the blockages could result in the suspension of bonds, pensions, credits, and some public services. Additionally, due to these blockages, raw materials and inputs from different industries begin to be scarce.
Los paros que usan para el golpe de Estado dañan económicamente al pueblo trabajador. Los más perjudicados son nuestros hermanos profesionales independientes, empleados de empresas, gremiales y comerciantes que generan sus ingresos al día. Los bloqueos atentan contra la economía pic.twitter.com/AACsq3kWpo— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 5, 2019
There seems to be no solution in sight between the government and the opposition at the moment. Once the results of the OAS audit are known, the crisis in Bolivia could take a new direction.
If the results that show Evo Morales as winner are supported, the protests and discontent could increase. On the contrary, if the conclusions deny or question the results, a second-round could be carried out, depending on how the Bolivian president reacts.