Bolivia crisis is growing with both sides blaming each other for violence and disorder
Sawako Uchida and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Since the re-election of President Evo Morales of Bolivia, the political situation is simmering to boiling point. This is based on the runner-up claiming electoral fraud. Hence, supporters of Carlos Mesa have taken to the streets and others have followed who are opposed to Morales.
In a recent shocking case of political tensions, a local mayor representing a small town was attacked and mocked disdainfully. Eventually, after several hours of humiliation, Patricia Arce was handed back to authorities in Vinto. However, the shocking sight of a female mayor having her hair forcibly cut and being mocked will further lead to divisions in society.
It is essential that all brutal acts be condemned by Morales and Mesa respectively. After all, neither side can claim to be democratic if they support outright political intimidation. Therefore, both sides need to reach out to break the vicious circle of violence.
The BBC reports, “The protesters accused Mayor Arce of having bussed in supporters of the president to try and break a blockade they had set up and blamed her for the reported deaths, one of which was later confirmed.”
Irrespective of which side is to blame, the reality is that the crisis will spiral further out of control if violence and intimidation are seen to be the order of the day. Thus, the sad death of Limbert Guzmán Vasquez, a young anti-government protester, should not be in vain. Hence, the leading politicians in the disputed election must reach out to stem the violence.
In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was reported, “Morales, a charismatic leader irrespective if people support or oppose, is the first modern indigenous leader of Bolivia. Yet, since taking office in 2006 then gradual discontent increased. Despite this, it is important to highlight that major divisions exist throughout this continent – from Brazil to Nicaragua, alleged corruption goes in both directions – irrespective if left-wing or right-wing.”
Hopefully, Morales and Mesa will disassociate themselves with militants who support their respective political causes. Equally important, the state apparatus must restrain itself from heavy-handed tactics toward anti-government protesters. After all, the downward spiral of chaos that follows in major cities will only lead to more deaths and greater strains on the economy. Therefore, a neutral political broker is needed to contain the spiraling political crisis.
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