three dead in new clashes near La Paz

The supporters of Evo Morales do not fray, while political negotiations under the aegis of the Church struggle to produce results.

Time to Reading 3 min.

Supporters of former President Evo Morales set fire to tires in El Alto on November 19th.
Supporters of former President Evo Morales set fire to tires in El Alto on November 19th. Natacha Pisarenko / AP

The interim authorities promise a way out of the crisis, but Bolivia seems to sink a little more each day. Three people died Tuesday, November 19 during clashes between protesters and the Bolivian army clearing a refinery blocked by supporters of Evo Morales.

"Three people were killed, two of them by gunshot", among them Dayvi Posto Cusi, a 31-year-old man, told Agence France-Presse a spokesman for the Defender of the People, a public body charged with protecting the rights and freedoms of Bolivians. "We ask the authorities to open an investigation", he added. In addition, 30 people were injured in these clashes, the Defender of the People added.

These three deaths bring to 27 the number of deaths in the violence that has occurred in the last month that Bolivia is plunged into a very serious political crisis. The clashes on Tuesday broke out when "Agitators and enraged vandals" attacked the Senkata Fuel Plant in El Alto, the twin city of La Paz, using "High explosives"according to the release of the Bolivian army.

Mobilization of pro-Morales

Shortly before, the police and army had intervened to unblock the access of the refinery occupied for a little less than a week by demonstrators, resulting in a serious shortage of fuels in La Paz. The demonstrators wanted to mark their rejection of Jeanine Añez, the interim president of Bolivia who took the reins of the Andean country 48 hours after the resignation of Evo Morales on November 10th. Police used tear gas to keep protesters away trying to block the refinery's release, according to footage broadcast on television.

A supporter of former president Evo Morales shows casings in El Alto on November 19th.
A supporter of former president Evo Morales shows casings in El Alto on November 19th. REUTERS

Since the resignation of Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous president, his supporters have been demonstrating daily in the streets of La Paz and in some provincial towns to demand the departure of Jeanine Añez. On Monday evening, the police, escorted by the army, fired tear gas against several thousand pro-Morales demonstrators in a locality near Cochabamba (center) where nine peasants were killed during clashes on Friday. In an attempt to calm the game, Jeanine Añez has promised presidential and legislative elections in the near future, without, however, putting forward a date.

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Food shortage

There is also a shortage of food in La Paz's shops and restaurants because of road blocks that lead to Bolivia's agricultural regions in the center and east of the country. "There is no more chicken, there is only soup"explained at lunchtime Eduardo Mamani, an employee of a La Paz restaurant specializing in chicken dishes.

The Minister of Productive Development Wilfredo Rojo said he wanted to be reassuring. " air lift " had been introduced to "The conveyance of meat" to La Paz with the help of the army. In the markets, queues are getting longer and prices are exploding: an egg was worth a week ago 1 boliviano (14 cents), and sells more than double today.

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While supporters of Evo Morales continue to exert pressure in the street, the interim government is participating in a dialogue initiated Monday by the Church that brings together all parties but also civil society. The conversations, nothing of which has yet filtered, concern in the first place the establishment of a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the only body able to call elections.

But two allies of Mme Añez, former president and presidential candidate Carlos Mesa and regional leader Luis Fernando Camacho, urge her to call elections directly by presidential decree. In the latter case, she could do without the TSE blank check, but it would increase the anger of supporters of Evo Morales.

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