LA PAZ – The civic leaders in Bolivia’s southwestern Potosi region decided on the weekend to suspend the strike they have been staging since July 6 and declared Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and government ministers “personae non gratae,” saying that they had not contributed to resolving the conflict.
The suspension of the strike was decided upon on Saturday evening at a meeting of the institutions and unions comprising the Potosi Civic Committee, or Comcipo, which led the protests, a director of the entity, Rene Cruz, told Erbol radio on Sunday.
Cruz said that this is only a momentary pause because Potosi residents will remain under a state of “emergency” and continue their “constant vigilance,” resuming their protest at the “proper time.”
Local strike authorities also decided at the meeting to declare Garcia Linera and the ministers of President Evo Morales, along with Potosi lawmakers to be personae non gratae “for not giving a response and for not providing an immediate solution to the province of Potosi.”
The strike and the blockading of local roadways that have been under way since July 6 were staged to demand that the national government pay attention to a list of 26 demands for regional development, but they were suspended on Friday for 12 hours so that Potosi residents could stock up on food and withdraw money from local banks.
In addition, strikers also allowed the passage of hundreds of buses and trucks that had been halted for 26 days in the city, although on Saturday the strike was resumed and the roadways cut once again in anticipation of the results of a Comcipo meeting.
Potosi residents are demanding the construction of hydroelectric plants, three hospitals, more roads, glass and cement factories, an international airport and the preservation of Cerro Rico, where the environment has been significantly impacted by mining, among other things.