Church, EU and UN manage dialogue to ease tensions in Bolivia

The Catholic Church, the European Union and the United Nations began a dialogue on Tuesday to reduce tensions in Bolivia, after eight days of road blocks that prevent the transport of medical supplies in the midst of the pandemic.

“Consultations are being made, some referrals are being made with one party and another” to open the talks, said the president of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, Ricardo Centellas.

The Church, the EU and the UN issued a joint statement in which they urge “to lift any measure of undue pressure within the framework of a society that wants to live in peace and respect the rules of the democratic game.”

They stressed that it is time to seek the common good and “not to jeopardize peaceful, democratic and institutional coexistence among all Bolivians”.

The mediators sought an approximation with the social movements behind the barriers and political parties, with the aim of opening a dialogue table, probably this Wednesday. The government also supports these efforts to pacify the country.

The dialogue seeks to resolve the political and social stalemate in the face of protests against the postponement of the general elections, from 6 September to 18 October.

Centellas previously estimated that the central theme of the dialogue should be tackling “all united” in the pandemic, which to date leaves more than 91,600 infections and 3,712 deaths in Bolivia, out of a population of 11 million.

The Minister of Government (Interior), Arturo Murillo, said that the Executive is committed to dialogue to avoid “a civil war”.

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Since Monday of last week, roadblocks have occurred across the country by neighbors, peasants and indigenous people related to former left-wing president Evo Morales (2006-2019) who rejected the Supreme Electoral Court’s decision to postpone the elections.

These cuts in circulation have generated clashes between rival pickets and groups.

Protesters consider that this third extension of the elections, motivated by the covid-19 pandemic, affects the presidential aspirations of candidate Luis Arce, the dolphin of Morales, who leads the intention to vote for former center president Carlos Mesa and the current president interim Áñez.

The government says roadblocks have severely limited the delivery of medical oxygen to hospitals for patients with coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health said that during the past week there were 31 deaths due to lack of oxygen among patients suffering from covid-19.

The government on Monday ordered the militarization of public services and strategic locations, in addition to trains with sanitary supplies.

jac / fj / piz

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