LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales said Friday that the doctors who have been on strike here for a month know they are guilty of medical negligence by rejecting an article in the new Penal Code that punishes these professionals, even with prison, when they are guilty of malpractice.
The president was referring to the government’s conflict with the medical sector, in a meeting with social organizations and trade unions aligned with the government in the Chapare area of the central Bolivian province of Cochabamaba.
“Questioning Article 205 of the Penal Code signifies self-confessed guilt of medical negligence... A responsible doctor need not be concerned, but there are fakes who pretend to be doctors in order to do harm to life. I can’t defend that,” the president said.
Morales once again said the government was willing to enter into talks with the medical sector “without conditions,” but added that first the doctors must stop applying pressure.
He said the doctors’ demands are “something indefensible” and repeated that there will be salary cuts for the days not worked.
Bolivia’s doctors have been on strike for 30 days in rejection of an article of the Penal Code which, in their opinion, penalizes the medical profession. They are also speaking out against a decree to tax the public healthcare sector.
Over the past few days there have been street protests in La Paz, above all of medical students, which ended in violent clashes with the police.
The doctors’ protests have been backed by other professionals, including lawyers, engineers and architects, who in recent hours spoke up for the protests in a series of messages.
Morales considers that the doctors’ demonstrations have been infiltrated “by the right,” which continues its “American strategy” of sparking violence in such conflicts.