This Week in Bolivia

In Bolivia, protests and demonstrations are common. It is not rare to hear that a group of people has blocked one road or other. This week, we had a few such groups making the news with their protests. None ended in violence as the protests in Cochabamba did earlier this year (see previous post), but all were brought to the attention of the public through the media.

Firstly, this week in La Paz, bread has been hard to find. Bread is a staple in the homes of Bolivians. The marraqueta, a special type of bread, is delicious and very traditional. The shortage of bread is due to an increase in the cost of raw materials (flour in particular). Breadmakers stopped making bread to protest the increase in the cost of flour and to try to get the government to subsidize the cost of flour. The union of breadmakers will hold a vote to decide whether or not to raise the price of bread by nearly two times, depending on the cost at which flour can be imported. We’ll see whether bread returns to the table next week.

Secondly, a group of miners had blocked major highways out of La Paz last week. 3000 miners from the government-run mining corporation blocked roads to other major cities to demand increased auto-management of the mine where they work (one of the richest in the country), among other things. This protest was broken up with tear gas late in the week to allow traffic which had been halted for days, to pass through.

Finally, and among other small protests here and there, distributors of GLP (liquefied petroleum gas) have impeded the supply of the gas in La Paz (which is used in most households for cooking) in protest of a new law which will control their activities. The new law seeks to stop the flow of contraband gas to Peru, where the vendors can make a better profit, and keep the gas in Bolivia where there are issues with shortages due to insufficient refining capabilities.

As you can see, there is never a dull day in Bolivia! Bolivians are known for their social unrest and this should give you a little taste of that. It will be very interesting to see how this will change, or not, during the next few years with the Morales government – the first indigenous President of the country.

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Posted in La Paz Submitted by Meg on Sun, 2007-07-08 12:57

yes and yes

Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2007-07-09 21:30.

Hiya!

Dave, yes you did eat marraquetas - they are the white, crusty bread rolls. So yummy, especially when fresh!

And to you both - Kim is exactly correct. Auto management is a direct translation, and yes I meant self-management. Basically the miners want more control over the mine and/or its profits (At least that's what I think!).

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Looks like you're starting

Submitted by Kim Chao (not verified) on Mon, 2007-07-09 17:39.

Looks like you're starting to think in español! "auto-management" - a direct translation from the Spanish. Do you mean to say "self-management"? Estoy muy orgullosa de ti :)

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Did I have?

Submitted by TheAdmin on Mon, 2007-07-09 10:50.

Did I have marraqueta when I was there?

And what's auto-management?

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