8 January 2018 - Bolivia has been experiencing a general strike in the public health sector for almost 50 days and a heavy opposition on behalf of the population regarding the approval of the Criminal System Code in the country. "What are we doing to make the population receive true justice?" asked Mgr. Eugenio Scarpellini, Bishop of the diocese of El Alto and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. "Before punishing or issuing verdicts, would it not be prudent for justice to rehabilitate people and promote a rule of law for the defense of life, family and work?" continued the Bishop during yesterday’s homily, in front of the community of faithful who had asked his opinion on the situation in the country.
The Church also expressed its concern about the persistence of social conflict. It was precisely this situation that Bishop Scarpellini referred to during his homily, denouncing the negligence of the authorities and expressing the hope that attention was paid "in a special way to the situation of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society".
There are two elements that at the moment make the situation in Bolivia critical, the first is the new Code of the Bolivian penal system, considered by the avant-garde government, approved by the Legislative Assembly without public consultation in December 2017, which provoked protests from various social sectors. "Among the different proposals, according to the Bolivian press that interviewed professors of law and political science, the new code introduces elements such as the reduction of penalties for drug trafficking crimes, the criminalization of those who claim the representation of people and those who commit cases of professional negligence, among other issues that have not yet been made public. It is an unnecessary and repressive code, and to a large extent reproduces the old code approved in the '70s", reads one of the notes sent to Fides.
The second aspect of the crisis regards the confirmation of Morales as a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections for a fourth term. Candidacy announced on December 18 by the Movement for Socialism (Mas) in a major event held in Cochabamba, in front of thousands of supporters. The decision was strongly criticized by the opponents who took to the streets in the main cities of Bolivia.
Today, Monday, January 8, a general strike of the cargo transport sector is planned across the country, with blocks for other vehicles in the main streets of the country. Trade unions will take part in the strike. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 08/01/2018)