The March for the Homeland: Evo Morales leads a march in Bolivia in support of the Government of Luis Arce | International

Evo Morales greets people in the march to La Paz, this Thursday.
Evo Morales greets people in the march to La Paz, this Thursday.STRINGER (Reuters)

Evo Morales returns to the spotlight. The March for the Homeland is approaching La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, where it will arrive on Monday. He has already covered 95 kilometers of the 180 that he must complete. It is headed by former President Evo Morales, leader of the country’s ruling party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS), and its purpose is to support President Luis Arce. For the thousands of people who are marching, the Arce government is at risk after having faced an indefinite strike that forced it to repeal a law. In addition, they denounce that it is under constant and harsh criticism from most of the press.

“Every hour more sisters and brothers arrive to join this peaceful and democratic mobilization that we choose in the face of attempts by the right to overthrow our government,” Morales wrote on Twitter. It is one of the many messages that he has launched about this march, which follows the same route as others that the indigenous leader took in the past, when he was a union leader and wanted to pressure the then authorities to achieve the workers’ demands.

The march started from the town of Caracollo, south of La Paz. President Arce and other authorities participated on the first day and as he progresses he receives a visit from important officials. It is expected to arrive in the capital converted into a massive demonstration, nurtured by public employees and pro-government militants from all over the country. “We march with joy and convinced that the joyful voice of our peoples is more powerful than violence,” Morales wrote.

The Arce government has just turned one year and is being strongly questioned by the opposition, which tries to show it as contrary to private property and an imitator of the Venezuelan and Cuban models. The president has approved a tax on large fortunes, refuses to dialogue with businessmen, has accused the agribusiness region of Bolivia, Santa Cruz, of being “the bosom of fascism” and qualifies the opposition as a “coup plotter”, for his role in the overthrow of Evo Morales in 2019 and for his current attitude. At the same time, he has maintained the economic model of the previous governments of his party, which strengthens the state but does not prohibit private income.

Its attempt to impose a comprehensive anti-money laundering strategy fueled suspicion that it sought to control financial activities and eliminate bank secrecy, and sparked a response from informal businessmen, generally MAS voters, who allied with the main adversaries of this party, the civic committees. The indefinite strike and the blockades of streets in these sectors made Arce back down, who repealed one law and withdrew the bill from another.

Another reason for opposition discontent is the imprisonment of former president Jeanine Añez, accused of conspiring against Evo Morales in 2019, as well as the judicial persecution of former ministers and former military chiefs for having participated in his overthrow.

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The main media are very critical of the ruling party, as can be seen in their coverage of the march. They questioned the existence of bodyguards to protect Evo Morales, whom they linked with the Venezuelan police, although in the past this relationship was denied by the MAS. They also questioned the presence of public ambulances and the state television coverage of the march. The event that generated the most opposition and media rejection was the visit Morales received, on the road, from the Argentine ambassador to Bolivia, Ariel Basteiro. It is a personal friend who has already endorsed you on several occasions. “We reject and deplore the unacceptable interference of the Argentine ambassador (…) in a political march,” reads a joint statement from the two main opposition parties. A spokesperson announced that they would ask the Argentine Congress to censor Basteiro.

The former Bolivian president has been received by rallies and rallies in the towns that he has played during his journey. The photos his team disseminates show his ability to relate affectionately with the simplest people, a virtue that one day made him the most popular leader in the country. “We are grateful for the love and support of the sisters and brothers who, during the march, await us with food, water, [maíz] toasted, ”Evo tweeted.

According to the polls, today the former president inspires more rejection than adherence, but he is still very loved among the population that leans towards his political line. Some analysts think that the “March for the homeland” is a measure designed to put reflectors on his figure, so that it stands out more than the already lackluster one of President Arce. Evo has declared that they want to divide them “We are united to defeat the coup, racism and separatism, to defend our democracy,” he says.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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