Bolivia: Luis Arce and Evo Morales began a 200-kilometer mobilization in defense of democracy | The baptized “March for the Fatherland” will arrive next Monday in La Paz

by time news

Among multicolored flags, music and Andean rituals, the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, and the ex-president, Evo Morales, led this Tuesday the first section of a massive mobilization in favor of the government that will cover almost 200 kilometers. “The Bolivian people march to claim and say that their bet is democracy. Those who have lost at the polls want to win in another way,” said Arce, alluding to the right-wing opposition, which maintained a nine-day strike in rejection of a law anti-laundering promoted by the ruling party.

Thousands of supporters of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), led by Morales, started the so-called “March for the Homeland” in the town of Caracollo, in the west of the country, and they hope to arrive in La Paz next Monday. With the Andes mountains in the background, members of unions related to MAS and other social organizations began the long walk along the route at a brisk pace, waving Bolivian flags and wiphalas, the banner of the peoples of the highlands.

They wore typical costumes of colorful fabrics, ornate hats, miners’ helmets and the traditional woven sacks where Aymara and Quechua indigenous people carry their belongings and even their babies. Huge banners stood out in the one-kilometer caravan, some with images of Arce and Morales, as the crowd shouted slogans in favor of their leaders.

Arce, who led the first kilometers of the march, asked the protesters for strength and unity recalling old mobilizations between Caracollo and La Paz that were milestones in the construction of democracy in Bolivia, including those that defeated dictatorships in the last century and those that gave life to the current Plurinational State just over a decade ago.

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“The Bolivian people always have the floor and we said so: If you do not want to respect the vote at the polls, we will enforce it in the streets“warned an euphoric Arce, who also stressed that” the Bolivian people are wise “because they” solved the problem of 2019 at the polls. ”

The president said that, on the contrary, “those who have lost at the polls, those who have not had the ability to generate a majority want to win it in another way, that is why the Bolivian people today march to claim” and to say that the “bet” is for “democracy”. Amid applause and cheers for “Lucho is not alone”, Arce said that “he did not feel alone” because “the people were with him.”

“The right wants to return to the colonial state”

Former President Morales, also present at the event, made a long recount of events with which the right-wing opposition first tried to prevent Arce from taking office, and then insisted on destabilizing him. “The underlying issue is that the right does not want the Plurinational State, it wants to return to the colonial State”Morales said in that sense.

“They do not forgive us, that small oligarchy, that we have nationalized, recovered natural resources”, warned the former president of Bolivia between 2006 and 2019, who said that the march was a kind of “warm-up” for the November 29 rally in La Paz, on which he predicted that it will be so great that “will blow up” the country’s political capital.

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“This march is for the homeland, those of us who love Bolivia are going to make an effort of seven days of march, all for the new Bolivia that we are going to begin to rebuild,” he said and highlighted from a platform, visibly moved, the “great surprise to see thousands and thousands of concentrated brothers “. Morales ended his speech by saying that “Thanks to your vote, I’m here alive again.” and invited the “Bolivian people” to defend President Arce.

In a pause in the long walk, the oil leader Rolando Borda said that the start of the march “exceeded expectations” and that more people have joined than initially expected. The indigenous leader Flora Aguilar he assured for his part that “Today more than ever we are united” in “defense of democracy” and that now the “fundamental task” is to also take care of the government.

From the early hours of Tuesday thousands of people traveled to Caracollo summoned by the MAS and by related organizations such as the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), which instructed in a “mandatory” manner all peasant, indigenous and civic bases to join the march. .

The distance between Caracollo and La Paz is usually covered in about seven daysTherefore, it is planned to arrive in the city where the government is located next Monday, making stops in intermediate towns that have been organized to prepare common pots. The march in support of Arce’s administration was called by Morales on November 12, after a nearly week-long strike promoted by the opposition against a money laundering law that the government finally repealed.

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The South American country has experienced a deep political division since 2019, when Morales was forced to resign from the presidency after losing the support of the Armed Forces and the police, amid massive protests against him and accusations of electoral fraud when he sought the reelection to a fourth term. Back in power since 2020, The MAS considers that the latest opposition protests were a “pretext” and that in reality what was sought was a “second coup d’état”.

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