March for the Homeland begins in Bolivia in support of President Arce’s government

Thousands of Bolivians have begun a seven-day-long march in defense of democracy, in support of President Luis Arce’s government, and in rejection of the recent destabilization attempts promoted by the far-right opposition sectors

November 25, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Since November 23, thousands of Bolivians have been marching from the town of Caracollo in the Oruro department to the capital city La Paz to express their support for President Luis Arce’s government. Photo: Luis Arce/Twitter

On November 23, under the banner of ‘March for the Homeland,’ thousands of Bolivians embarked on a 180-km and seven-day-long journey on foot from the town of Caracollo in the Oruro department to the capital city La Paz. The march has been organized in defense of democracy, in support of President Luis Arce’s government, and in rejection of the recent destabilization attempts promoted by the far-right opposition sectors.

Members of numerous Indigenous organizations, social movements, and trade unions, associated with the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, are participating in the march. Ex-president Evo Morales who is currently the head of MAS and the president of the Six Federations of the Trópico of Cochabamba has been presiding over the march.

President Arce, vice president David Choquehuanca, the presidents of the Senate Andrónico Rodríguez, and of the Chamber of Deputies Freddy Mamani, among other officials, also joined the march and walked a few kilometers in the beginning.

In a rally before the march, the head of the state addressed the gathered citizens and warned that the right-wing sectors seek to divide the country. He called on the citizens to participate in the march and show that they are united. He recalled that in 2020, the Bolivian people opted to solve problems and differences through elections, in which the MAS won with more than 55% of the votes.

The president also called on the opponents, “mainly the oligarchy that never won elections, to respect democracy and the country.” He said that if the right-wing sectors do not want to respect the popular will expressed at the polls, then the people will make them respect it in the streets.

Meanwhile, in a thread on twitter, former president Morales expressed that the march is being held “to defend democracy, the government and the Plurinational State and demand justice against the attempts by the right to restore the colonial state.” He also said that “unity will always be the triumph of the people and the defeat of the right-wing and US imperialism.”

The march is being led by the Pact of Unity, a national alliance of grassroots organizations in Bolivia, and the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), Bolivia’s trade union center. Beside these, the National Confederation of Native Indigenous Peasant Women-Bartolina Sisa, the Trade Union Confederation of Indigenous Communities, the National Council of Ayllus and Markas del Qullasuyu, the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East, among dozens others, are mobilizing.

The leaders of the organizations and unions said that the march is also being carried out to support President Arce’s policies with respect to economic revival, justice for the victims of the Sacaba and Senkata massacres committed by the de-facto authorities, among others. They also said that they reject the proposal of federalism, promoted by opposition leader and governor of the Santa Cruz department, Luis Fernando Camacho, against the current model of democratic centralism.

The march will conclude on November 29 with a massive rally in front of the headquarters of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Initially, over 5,000 workers, women, students and peasants began marching. With each passing day, more and more sectors are declaring their support for the march and joining it from across the nine departments. It is expected that it will conclude in La Paz with the participation of over half a million citizens.

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