Twelve years after the first election of Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia is now in a climate of economic stability, but also revived political turmoil. This summer has been marked by a long series of public mobilizations, producing a reorganization of many groups—indigenous people, farmers and trade unions—partly in reaction against the successive MAS governments.
The prospect of Morales’ candidacy in the 2019 elections, the criticisms against his government and the amendments to the Criminal Code adopted on Dec. 15 are the main factors behind the demonstrations against the president. The first ones to take to the streets were the doctors and the workers in the transport sector, affected by the changes to Art. 205 of the Criminal Code, dealing with punishments in cases of damage to health or physical integrity, and Art. 137, regarding culpable homicide in motor vehicle accidents.
In addition, the new Code also included some restrictions on social protests, as well as reduced penalties for small drug traffickers. After 47 days of conflict, the president, fearing more than anything else that the situation would be exploited by the right, repealed the new Criminal Code—but the citizens’ committees are not relenting.