USA :Protests continue in Bolivia after attempts at dialogue fail

La Paz, Aug 9 (EFE) .- Bolivia fulfilled this Sunday seven days of road blockades against the new postponement of the general elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with two failed attempts at dialogue.

The dialogue called by the transitional president, Jeanine Áñez, concluded after three and a half hours without much results due to the absence of the union leaders promoting the protests.

Neither did those who are the main electoral candidates together with Áñez, a candidate of the Juntos group, such as former president Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community alliance or former minister Luis Arce, of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) of former president Evo Morales, party to the that the transitory Executive takes responsibility for the mobilizations.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Salvador Romero, did attend, who the day before led another meeting with representatives of Parliament that failed due to the insistence of the mobilized that the elections be held on September 6, as previously planned. , and not October 18, a new date that the electoral body defined.

“The proposal has been clear and concrete, elections on September 6, anything that happens will be the sole responsibility of the Electoral Tribunal and the Legislative Assembly,” warned the miner Juan Carlos Huarachi, the highest representative of the Central Obrera Boliviana ( COB).

That entity and the so-called Unity Pact, which groups together peasant and indigenous unions related to MAS, are the promoters of the blockades, which are blamed for hindering the supply of medical products such as medicinal oxygen to hospitals.

DIALOGUE IN THE GOVERNMENT PALACE

The president of the electoral body highlighted in the meeting this Sunday that it was agreed with the Legislative Assembly to draft a law by consensus to set October 18 as the new date for the elections, since now it emanates from a mere resolution of the Electoral Tribunal, and ratified that they will insist on dialogue.

For his part, Áñez said that the postponement “has not been anyone’s whim” and was “a necessity” in the face of the pandemic.

The temporary president reiterated that she does not intend to extend her mandate and assured that she respects the new date and that her government will provide the conditions for the elections to take place on that day.

His candidacy was questioned by political representatives who attended the dialogue, who also criticized the blockades and expressed majority support for the elections to be held in October.

The only conclusion was the creation of a commission that seeks to dialogue with the sectors in conflict, after the meeting which, among others, was also attended by representatives of the United Nations, the European Union and the Catholic Church.

The interim minister of the Presidency, Yerko Núñez, considered that the dialogues without results “show that the purpose of the mobilizations was another and not to define the date of the elections.”

“We denounce before the Bolivian people and the international community the lack of honesty of the leaders who are promoting these inhumane and criminal measures,” he said.

Núñez reiterated that at least thirty people have died due to lack of oxygen and warned that “the lives of another 300 Bolivians” are in danger if there is no solution in the next few hours.

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TENSION DUE TO Clash of Civilians

The national authorities reported that there are just over fifty blockade points, with tensions and complaints of mutual aggression between mobilized and civil groups trying to lift roadblocks, especially in regions such as Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

This afternoon local time there was tension in parts of Cochabamba, while the Police had to intervene on Saturday in the Santa Cruz town of Samaipata to stop a confrontation between residents and mobilized, with the result of 49 people arrested.

The Ombudsman’s Office has urged that the dialogue begun continue and has asked to avoid violence so as “not to delegitimize the right to peaceful protest.”

Those mobilized assure that they are allowing the passage of trucks with oxygen and medical supplies, in the face of complaints from the authorities that this is not the case.

The elections had already been postponed from May to September due to the health emergency in the country due to the coronavirus, which accumulates 3,687 deaths and 89,055 cases of COVID-19, according to official data.

The general elections are pending since the cancellation of those of October 2019 between allegations of fraud, still under judicial investigation, in favor of then-President Evo Morales, who had been declared the winner but announced his resignation, denouncing that he was pressured by an alleged coup from State to deny him his triumph and force him to leave power after almost fourteen years.

(c) EFE Agency