Latin America: Unions denounce right-wing destabilisation attempts in Bolivia

November 15, 2022
Pro-govt mobilisation in Bolivia on August 25
Bolivans mobilise in support of the elected government on August 25. Photo: Luis Arce/Twitter

Trade unions across Latin America have expressed solidarity with Bolivian workers and their government in the face of right-wing destabilisation attempts in Santa Cruz since October.

Right-wing groups — led by far-right Santa Cruz governor Luis Fernando Camacho — have been mobilising against President Luis Arce to destabilise the democratically elected government. Using the national population and housing census as pretext, they have unleashed a wave of violence in Santa Cruz, attacking government buildings and the offices of unions and Indigenous rights organisations.

Camacho’s calls for violence and an indefinite strike were met with counter-mobilisations, including blocking right-wing groups from illegally taking over factories.

The opposition Pro-Santa Cruz Civic Committee, led by Rómulo Calvo, has refused Arce’s repeated calls for dialogue.

New Workers’ Central in Mexico denounced the attempts to use the census as a tool for destabilisation on November 4. “We note that the census is strictly technical and that it has been politicised by the Bolivian right, with a clear intention of destabilising the government, putting at risk the victories of workers in recent years,” it said.

“We support the government’s call for a dialogue for peace to resolve differences and the Bolivian people’s mobilisations to defend their democratic process, against the oligarchy’s destabilising attempts.”

The Workers General Confederation of Perú — the country’s biggest trade union federation — expressed solidarity in a November 7 statement saying: “the workers and government of Bolivia led by Luis Alberto Arce Catacora against the coup attempts by the business elite and conservative right, headed by millionaire Governor Luis Fernando Camacho Vaca and the Pro-Santa Cruz Civic Committee”.

“We condemn the desperate and subversive actions by the right-wing coup plotters.”

The Argentine Workers’ Autonomous Central Union (CTA) condemned the right-wing violence: “Recognised for their leading role in the 2019 coup against the government of comrade Evo Morales, Camacho and his supporters are known for encouraging violence to impose themselves over the popular will and weaken a democratic government.”

Camacho played an instrumental role in the 2019 coup, inciting violence and mobilising the Santa Cruz Youth Union — a far-right fascist paramilitary organisation known for assaulting journalists, leftists and Indigenous people — against the Morales government.

The CTA said: “Now, they oppose the holding of a national census planned for 2024, without offering major legal or technical arguments and refusing to participate in the roundtable dialogues that have been opened to reach a consensus.

“This is just an excuse to call for the destabilisation of the country in defence of its particular interests; one more chapter in a nefarious record of anti-democratic actions.”

“The social, Indigenous and union movements that in 2020 recovered the government by democratic means, are once again standing by for mobilisation against any coup attempt, in defence of a democracy founded on popular sovereignty.”

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