Conflicts & War

Bolivian government annuls contentious law, urges end to strike

La Paz, Nov 16 (EFE).- The Bolivian government on Tuesday officially repealed Law 1386, which nine days ago led to an indefinite strike of merchants, transporters, civic and opposition sectors, who had argued that it violated civil liberties.

Minister of the Presidency Maria Nela Prada told reporters that Vice President David Choquehuanca “has signed and promulgated” the rule that repeals the National Strategy to Combat the Legitimization of Illicit Profits and the Financing of Terrorism law.

The cancellation announced Saturday by President Luis Arce, absent due to a trip to Brazil, was pushed through parliament, first with a session of the Chamber of Deputies in the early morning and then in the Senate, and ratified by the Executive. The move has also been published in the official state gazette.

Despite the announcement of the repeal, protests have continued in regions such as Santa Cruz, the main stronghold of the Bolivian opposition and the country’s economic engine, as well as capital Sucre, and Cochabamba and Potosí.

Although some sectors such as transporters and merchants have indicated that they would lift the pressure, others such as civic committees and opposition platforms have added demands for the annulment of other laws and the replacement of the two-thirds of the vote in the legislative debates of the Senate and the House of Deputies.

“The people have demonstrated against 1386, but not only because of [that one], but because of a package of laws,” Luis Fernando Arias, a representative of the medical sector in Santa Cruz, who participated in the ninth day of the strike, told EFE.

Opposition sectors and related organizations have announced marches and councils in various regions of the country for Wednesday, some against the package of laws and the replacement of two-thirds of the vote, while others are to rally against unemployment and also against the strike.

The Bolivian Episcopal Conference on Tuesday called on the authorities to avoid confrontation and begin a sincere, clean and constructive dialogue. EFE


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