LA PAZ – The bakers of La Paz will not bake ‘marraqueta’, a traditional Bolivian bread symbolic of the city, as a part of a strike in opposition to the Bolivian government’s removal of a flour subsidy, a trade-union source told Efe.
“Marraqueta will be missing from the market until they give us the actual price,” said Felix Quenta, president of La Paz’s Bakers Association, on Wednesday.
The leaders of the strike waited, without joy, for dialogue with the government to discuss their petition.
The protest, led by unions in La Paz and the neighboring city of Alto, follows the government’s decision to withdraw a flour subsidy begun in 2011, which has affected their income.
Quenta said that the strike will continue until Thursday, and from Friday they will only sell an alternative to marraqueta called ‘war’ bread, a round piece of plain bread, crumbly and crunchy and at only 2.1 Oz, much lighter than marraqueta.
In 2006, marraqueta was declared part of the cultural and historical heritage of La Paz.
The bakers said that the plain bread will cost $0.07, while the government insists that, like the marraqueta, it should sell for $0.05.
In response to the bread shortage, the Bolivian government has tasked the army with making bread.
Soldiers have baked as much as 210,000 units of bread each day of the strike, insufficient to meet the demands of La Paz and Alto’s two million residents.
The Bolivian government said the price of un-subsidized flour is similar to prices ten years ago, and that bread production is still profitable without the subsidy.