After Evo Morales, the new fractures of Bolivia

Supporters of ex-president Evo Morales on November 20 in El Alto.
Supporters of ex-president Evo Morales on November 20 in El Alto. AIZAR RALDES / AFP

In an unbroken ballet, the bumpy trucks dump their accumulated goods after weeks of blockage. In the Villa Dolores market in El Alto, the cold is tenacious this early morning. This 4,000-meter tall popular city of nearly one million people dominates La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, long considered a bastion of ex-president Evo Morales.

Rudi and Soledad, a young farming couple, find their place in the aisles. Life has resumed, but everyone here still has in mind the terrible conflict in which the country was torn apart, some going so far as to fear a " civil war ".

Contested elections, in the aftermath of the poll on October 20, thousands of demonstrators in the streets, a head of state forced to resign and an interim president, Jeanine Añez, self-proclaimed, deemed illegitimate by a part of the population… Today again, polarization is extreme, while almost half the country remains attached to Evo Morales, in exile in Argentina. Mme Añez announced on Saturday (December 14th) the imminent issuance of an arrest warrant against the former president.

Read also Bolivia to issue arrest warrant for former president Evo Morales

On the Villa Dolores market, these peasant producers refuse to turn the page on the "Evo" era. They were among his most loyal supporters during his thirteen years in power. He is the one with whom they identify ethnically, culturally, socially, and they do not forget his legacy, priceless according to them. “He understood the needs of the people, he helped us. We had water for irrigation, seeds, mechanical devices ”, says Eliana, a potato producer. "Before him, if we came from the countryside, we didn't have opportunities, we couldn't study", testifies Nancy, young saleswoman on the market. While some still hope for his return, most have resigned themselves to looking at the horizon of the new elections in 2020 without him. A first for eighteen years.

Old ethnic tensions

In El Alto, more than elsewhere in this country of 11 million inhabitants, the conflict has been badly felt. The transitional government’s military fuel plant unblocked in Senkata left 10 dead and dozens injured on November 19. Sitting next to their vegetables arranged on the ground, their child wrapped in blankets, Soledad and Rudi still live in fear of violence. The young husband participated in the support marches in Morales, where all the rumors were circulating. "We heard that people were coming by bus from Santa Cruz (the provincial capital of the east of the country, stronghold of the opposition in Morales) to attack us. "


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