The Speaker
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 – 22:34

Bolivia faces fuel and food shortages as election called

Amid uncertainties due to the ousting of former President Evo Morales, Bolivians are scrambling for food and fuel as protests cut critical infrastructures that connect city centres and agricultural areas. 

Jeanine Áñez, the interim President of Bolivia had tried to mitigate the ongoing issue by sending necessities through airdrops to the cities that are cut off from supplies. In addition, she has also led the government for peaceful means in dealing with the protesters.

However, these efforts have largely been to react to the instability rather than solving it. 

Many protesters who are supporters of former President Morales have come down to the streets with their makeshift weapons, such as rocket launchers, and have participated in clashes with the police. In addition, the issue has escalated with reports of casualties during the tumultuous period after the ousting of the former president, with at least 32 people reported to have died. Notable cases include when nine cocoa farmers in the central city of Sacaba and at least three people in the fuel plant of El Alto were involved with the protests and were killed during a confrontation with security forces, according to reports. Due to the harsh treatment of protesters by the police and security forces, many of the protesters have demanded the interim President step down from her position.

The current ongoing upheaval has been mainly due to the controversial result of the election in Bolivia that happened on October, 20.

The protests started after opposition parties called the re-election of Bolivia’s first indigenous President to be fraudulent. This could be due to the fact that the opposition wanting to move on from Morales, who himself served for almost 14 years. Feeling dissatisfied, many Bolivians called the action to be a coup d’etat and demanded the ousted president be returned to his position. The protests were joined by Bolivians from Buenos Aires and left-wing groups. Evo Morales himself fled to Mexico the day after the protests began. However, he himself has stated that as the President-elect, he believes that it is his obligation to restore peace and stability in Bolivia and is therefore open to any request of assistance in establishing a dialogue.

As a result, the interim government under Áñez have been working extensively on holding a new election. She has sent a bill to the legislative branch regarding plans for a new election. However, these long-lasting solutions are possibly impeded to a standstill due to the overwhelming majority of Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) Party coalition, who was led by former President Morales.

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