Conflicts & War

Social sectors join forces to protest against Bolivian government

La Paz, Apr 18 (EFE).- Union members, retirees, health workers and urban teachers along with other groups protested Tuesday in La Paz against various policies and a package of regulations recently issued by the government of President Luis Arce.

The protests in the capital joined others at national level and also brought together the citizen opposition platforms, which demand that the government modify several of its recent legislations.

These mobilizations are “a sign that all the policies that the government is implementing are colliding with the needs and with the reality of the different sectors that are attacked,” La Paz teacher leader José Luis Álvarez told EFE.

The first to demonstrate were the unions together with health workers and retirees who marched from the west to the center of La Paz.

Merchants oppose Bill 280 to Strengthen the Fight Against Legitimation of Illicit Earnings, considering that it creates new tax crimes and that these could harm their activity, and even imprison them.

The government has said that this bill is “suspended” until its “socialization” with the population is complete and that all tax issues are included in specific norms for that area.

“We do not trust this famous ‘socialization,’” said the merchants, who asked that the dissemination of the regulations be done with their representatives.

Some opposition platforms consider they could give rise to “political persecution” against government detractors.

Meanwhile, health workers and retirees questioned that starting next month social security resources will be fully administered by the State, under the risk that they will be at their free disposal.

The transfer of the Pension Fund Administrator to the State was announced in 2010 and has had several postponements and an international arbitration for which Bolivia must pay $105 million for failing to complete it.

Also marching were the urban teachers, who consider the new curriculum “indoctrinating,” in keeping with the slogans of the ruling Movement for Socialism, and because it promotes “gender ideology.”

“Education is being politicized and does not have a scientific nature,” Omar Salazar, a teacher specializing in social sciences, told EFE.

The main request of the teachers is that the government annul the application of the new curriculum as long as there is no budget, and an autonomous workload, in addition to specialist teachers for English, native languages and robotics.

Along with all this, also they also reject some presidential decrees approved at the beginning of the month and refer to resources for the protection of agricultural production, and that commercial companies send information to the Business Auditing Authority, as well as draft bills against freedom of expression. EFE


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