Bolivia Burning: Unrelated Outbursts Mount Pressure

Posted on May 29, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Anubhav Das:

A state of unrest has been prevailing in the west since last few months as Bolivia has been gutted by incidents of protests across the country. The incidents of protest have severely affected the country and the government. It is noteworthy that no prime cause can be located for the outburst however, a series of issues are being contemplated by the government as the causes of protests against the political regime.

To begin with, a transport strike was initiated by the transport unions on 7th and 8th May against the Municipal Transport Law that was being formulated to deal with the chaotic transport system and public buses. The protestors called for a one-day ‘pedestrian strike’ and as a part of the strike urged the citizens to use bicycles, carpool or just walk for the purposes of commuting. The strikes took place in two cities of Bolivia namely, La Paz and El Alto and were held up against the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla who is a member of Left-Wing Party and also the man behind formulation of this law.

In another incident, the medical community of Bolivia has called a strike since last six weeks. It includes the doctors, medical workers and the students of the respective community and is against the new laws formed the Government. The law named Decree 1126 was passed by the Government which aimed at including all health workers in the General Labour Law. According to the protestors, the new law forces all the workers to follow an 8-hour a day schedule instead of the current 6-hour a day schedule. The reform also restricts cashing more than one salary from public funds. Responding to the outrage from the community, the Bolivian President Evo Morales suspended the Decree 1126 and asked the protestors to come for a ‘Health Summit’ in July, 2012. But the health workers refused to accept this invitation and condemned the suspension of the Decree and said that they do not want a suspension, they want a repeal of the law which would restore their claim to be a part of the General Labour Law and would entitle them for full payments along with the extra benefits for the extra hours of work.
The third outburst was reported by the Indigenous people of Bolivia against a road project. A protest march was organized from Indigenous Territory National Park IsiboroSécure popularly known as TIPNIS. The protests demanded the cancelling of a road project which according to them would pass right through the National Park thereby disturbing their habitat. About 600 people were the part of this march towards La Paz which was being held for the second time in the year.

Interestingly, all of these protests is being covered and discussed actively on various social networking websites which is fuelling the movements and spreading the fire. And all though, the issues are in no sense related to each other, all of them have contributed significantly in creation of politically unstable state in the country.