The Bolivian region of Santa Cruz returned to normalcy on Monday after a 23-day strike, facing leftist President Luis Arce, the biggest opposition in a two-year government, and deepened the South American country’s political polarization. ,
“The strike days were unnecessary, irrational and caused serious damage to Santa Cruz,” questioned Presidential spokesman George Richter. Amid the conflict, Ars accused the right-wing opposition of triggering the strike to destabilize his government.
Although the strike would last for three more days until the release of some twenty prisoners, public transport and commerce were returning to normal, according to Romulo Calvo, president of the powerful civic committee that called for the strike.
This eastern region, which is considered the country’s economic engine and opposition bastion, wants to get more resources as it houses more than 40% of the country’s population. Its governor is Luis Fernando Camacho, the head of the right-wing Believe, the second largest opposition force.
Ars did not give in to Santa Cruz’s main demand to conduct a population census scheduled for 2023 and set a date of March 2024, but promised results for new redistribution of seats in legislation later that year. That they would give that region more political power in the 2025 presidential elections.
“It’s an achievement, but we want a law, not to say that the results will apply in the 2025 elections,” Calvo said.
Analysts predicted the political battle would be prolonged unless the electoral roll is purged of suspicions that it is large among non-existent voters by more than 16%, which triggered the outbreak that killed 37 people after the elections. Death took place, which was declared as fraud by the organization. US State (OAS) when former President Evo Morales was seeking a fourth consecutive term in 2019.
Santa Cruz achieved the adhesion of two of the country’s nine other provinces, and the protests deepened conflict in the ruling Movement Socialism (MAS), headed by Morales. He questioned the management of the conflict by the current president, his political successor.
As the discrepancies in the MAS deepen, Morales and Ars are emerging as potential rivals in 2025 against a divided and weakened right-wing and center opposition that wants to raise its head.
The legislative majority of the MAS is divided between “avistas and arquistas” which reduce the power of the government.
“Politically, the opposition has become stronger,” admitted Morales’ former minister, Carlos Romero. “It seems that the aim was to polarize between the two actors (Arce and Camacho) to cancel Morales,” he said.
Economist Gonzalo Chavez said on his Twitter account that the economic damage caused by the protests would reach 2.3% of GDP.