Bolivians face turmoil and uncertainty

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Life has become difficult and dangerous in Bolivia after weeks of protests, barricades, lack of food and fuel, causing uncertainty in the small Latin state and prompted its president Evo Morales to resign.

The country’s worst political crisis in more than a decade was triggered by the controversial October 20 election, which Morales declared victory, but opposition groups accused him of falsifying the results. He ended up resigning and moving to Mexico.

Dozens of people were killed in the ensuing violence, deepening divisions between the pro-Morales indigenous and the middle and wealthy urban classes of Bolivia.

As the country prepares for new elections, AFP spoke with three people about the unrest.

– Mercedes retired –

Mercedes Vercuccia and its neighbors, armed with metal pipes and shovels, spent several nights defending their homes in El Alto, the former president’s stronghold.

Verkushia, a critic of Morales and his Socialist Movement party, says the terrorists have threatened to burn down their homes if they do not join demonstrations against interim right-wing President Janine Agnès, who took power after Morales stepped down on November 10.

Around 100 neighbors blocked their wide streets with burnt wire and tires. Anyone who wanted to enter had to be searched.

She added that the period “affected me psychologically, and I felt that I was a prisoner of my home.”

Verococia, who served as secretary in the La Paz local government until she retired this year, favors fresh elections.

“After a lot of struggle, we have achieved democracy and we are very calm,” she says.

– Grover Entrepreneur –

Grover Cardozo, who runs a video production company in La Paz, is a strong supporter of Morales.

He worked on the former president’s election campaign in 2005 and is now worried that the next government will undermine Morales’ achievements over the past 14 years.

Cardozo wants Morales, who fled to Mexico after losing the support of the security forces, to return to Bolivia and play an advisory role for the next generation of leaders of the Socialist Movement Party.

“We cannot deny and ignore what he (the old guard) did for Bolivia,” Cardozo, 57, told AFP in his narrow office.

The protests and blockade since the elections have disrupted daily life in La Paz, the seat of the government, which suffers from food and fuel shortages.

“The last three or four weeks have been terrible. We had to change our routine and our lives,” Cardoso said.

He expressed concerns about the future of Bolivia and said, “I am very concerned about the future.”

– Esteban the student –

After casting his ballot for the first time, Esteban Guillén, 19, was outraged when Morales, who ruled Bolivia throughout Esteban’s life, claimed victory without going to the second round.

Opposition groups have accused Morales, who was seeking a fourth term, of fraud to avoid a second round of voting, sparking weeks of protests.

They included Guillén and other students from the Bolivian Catholic University in a middle-class neighborhood in La Paz.

“I have not tried to demand the overthrow of the government,” he told AFP.

“We were defending our vote. We were very angry, and we also felt frustrated, angry and sad.”

One night after the night, Gilin and his group joined thousands of protesters outside the electoral court. Police confronted them with tear gas.

“The other thing that has angered us is their underestimation of the youth,” Guillen said during a break on campus.

While Bolivia’s future is at stake, Gillen is sure of one thing: Agnès was right to fill the void left by Morales.

“If they decide to do what Morales has done, we will deal with them effectively,” he warned politicians planning to run in the next election.

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