Evo Felt the Challenge of the Opposition
Incidents between pro-government and opposition forces marked the stoppage of activities by the autonomist departments of the denominated “half moon” against the indigenous government of Evo Morales. It was an inverted image of the
The 24-hour civic stoppage that began and finished on September 8 was called by a coming together of civic movements, business organizations and conservative parties from
From dawn, groups belong to the Crucenista Youth Union (UJC) positioned themselves at roundabouts throughout Santa Cruz de le Sierra, a city constructed as a succession of concentric rings, in order to persuade those who did not heed the politico-regionalist convocation. Similar scenes were seen in the rest of the departments in rebellion against the socialist government. The support of the business sector – which declared a type of bosses lockout – and the blockade of roads with trucks, vans and cars contributed to portraying an image of desolation in the capitals of the departments. But in the surrounding neighbourhoods, the intermediary cities and the rural areas the resonance for the call was weaker. It was non-existent in the areas inhabited by migrants from the west and the local indigenous populations who adhere to MAS.
The evaluation of the stoppage was part of the media war. For the president of the
In a variety of places, especially in Santa Cruz and Tarija – the two regions in which MAS won but so did the yes vote for autonomy last July 2 – there were confrontations between pro-government militants and radicalised autonomist groups. In the neighbourhoods of
The neighbourhood Plan 3000 in the suburbs of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, where the presence of MAS is dominant, was a kind of anti-autonomy liberated zone; the poor neighbours rejected the pickets of the UJC that attempted to enter the area and both sides clashed with sticks and rocks. The soccer hooligans also contributed to the paralysis of activities; the regionalism brought together the usually arch enemy fans of Oriente Petrolero and Blooming who stole car rims, broke windows and discouraged simply through their presence – with green and white flags – anyone who though of circulating through the avenues of Santa Cruz. In the other departments the incidents were on a much smaller scale.
“It is the first time that there is an organised resistance to a stoppage declared by the civic committee of Santa Cruz, many saw it as a political stoppage, but whilst the popular sectors were protected in their neighbourhoods against the violent groups, the middle classes who did not have mechanisms to express their discomfort without being attacked, did not dare to come out on the streets, and lived through the stoppage as hostages in their own houses” said the Santa Cruz activist Gabriela Montano. “The class struggle is reaching