Bolivian President Luis Arce has announced the repeal of a controversial law that had sparked large public demonstrations and a voluntary economic shutdown since Nov. 8.
On paper, the law targeted illicit earnings and the financing of terrorism by allowing the government access to people’s private bank information. It also granted the president the ability to rule by decree.
The measure was very unpopular and was nicknamed the “communist law” by locals. Its implementation led to a nationwide strike.
On the evening of Nov. 13, Arce announced that he would be revoking the law.
The previous day, thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Sucre, Bolivia, chanting “this is Bolivia, not Venezuela,” pledging to block all transportation routes in the department capital, and adding pressure to the existing economic shutdowns seen in the Bolivian cities of Santa Cruz, Potosi, La Paz, Oruro, and Cochabamba.
“This is what socialism tries to do. They want to take everything from us, [but] we won’t let them,” Alejandra Ortiz, one of the protesters in Sucre, told The Epoch Times.
According to Sucre newspaper Correo del Sur, transportation union workers in Sucre intended to cut road access from the city to other parts of the department in Chuquisaca, starting on Nov. 15.
In Sucre’s historic square of Plaza 25 de Mayo, protest leaders and union heads gave speeches to the gathered masses on Nov. 12, which were met with a unanimous denouncement of Arce’s law, while anti-socialist rhetoric was directed at the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.
“There’s a real tension here [in Bolivia] we haven’t seen since the fraud in 2019,” Oscar Linares, another Sucre protester, told The Epoch Times.
Linares was referring to the last nationwide civil strike, which occurred after a contested presidential election in October 2019 in which Evo Morales, former president of Bolivia and leader of the MAS party, stepped down from office after weeks of citizen-led road closures and total economic shutdown.