Bolivia’s former president, Evo Morales, asked his supporters to accept October 18 as the date for the general elections, in an effort to stop the protests and blockades against delayed elections, which were postponed twice. Morales, who remains in Buenos Aires after the coup d’état, called on the various parties to dialogue. The Bolivian Episcopal Conference, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) have also called for a suspension of the forceful measures. However, leaders of the Unity Pact and the Bolivian Workers’ Federation (COB) believe that the dialogue with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has been broken and insist that elections be held on 11 October. The de facto government, far from seeking a solution to the conflict, is threatening further repression.
The Legislative Assembly approved the law that guarantees elections in #Bolivia with a deadline, a definitive date, that cannot be postponed, that shields from possible loopholes with international guarantors; and what is more important: it will avoid a new massacre.
The date of the elections was established by law and guaranteed by international organizations, as demanded from the beginning by the social movements. The people are wise, knowing that with unity they will overcome any obstacle and defeat the enemies of the Fatherland.
“There are comrades who say that at least it will be on October 4 or 11, but not on the 18th. I don’t think this kind of approach makes sense. For just two or three weeks we are not going to have an issue,” said the former president in a meeting with supporters of the Youth Ministry, a Bolivian Catholic organization.
With respect to the large mobilizations that have been taking place for the tenth consecutive day throughout the country, Morales said that he asked the national organizations of the Unity Pact and the COB to analyze the “act of understanding” published on Tuesday in the different departments. In the same vein, the Bolivian Church, the European Union and the UN issued a joint communiqué in which they asked the different parties to “provide effective responses in favour of life and the defence of human rights”.
On October 18, we will democratically defeat the de facto government and those who promoted it. We will do it with unity, as we nationalize our natural resources and recover our strategic enterprises. In this way, we will once again change the history of our #Bolivia.
In his virtual meeting with the religious youth, the former president also said that the agenda of the conservative right in Santa Cruz is being imposed, and that the only way out is democracy. “The government does not want the blockades to be resolved so that they continue to blame us for the crisis,” he stressed, saying that what Jeanine Áñez’s regime is seeking is, in short, to blame all the ills on MAS, on Evo Morales himself and on the presidential candidate who is in the lead in all the polls, Luis Arce.
The COB, meanwhile, ended talks with the TSE and ruled out any contact with the government after the president of the electoral body, Salvador Romero, said on Sunday, after hours of meetings, that 18 October is the “definitive” date for the elections. But both the workers’ centre and the Unity Pact announced on Wednesday that they will only lift the forceful measures if it is guaranteed that the general elections will be held on 11 October, giving the TSE and the Legislative Assembly 24 hours to respond.
The roadblocks are still in place in the nine departments of the country, with greater emphasis on cities like La Paz and neighbouring El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. On Monday, the de facto government sent the army into the streets, which led to a fierce repression with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Meanwhile, paramilitary groups such as the Cochala Youth Resistance and the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz have been present since last weekend, under the orders of Luis Fernando Camacho, who played a fundamental role in the violent events that led to last November’s coup d’état. Far from lowering his guard, Interior Minister Arturo Murillo said in an interview with CNN that “the politically correct thing to do would be to shoot” to end the protests, a comment that only raised the tension in the Andean country.