Bolivia: Junior Officers Reject High Command Negotiations, Renew Strikes


EspañolOn Monday, The National Association of Non-Commissioned Officers and Sergeants of Bolivia (Ascinalss) disavowed ongoing negotiations between military High Command and lower ranking officers over several amendments to the Organic Law of the Armed Forces (LOFA). Two months ago, the government created a commission to discuss reforms, but not everyone agrees all voices have been equally represented.

Thousands of junior officers, supported by the Aymara indigenous people, have accused their commanders of carrying out a partisan and unjust round of negotiations. The President of the Ascinalss, Johnny Gil, said yesterday after a meeting at the General Staff headquarters, that military chiefs “simply met with their allies and not with our legitimately elected representatives.” The discontent soldiers maintained their opposition to their superior officers and called for a new series of protests, marching in uniform on Tuesday morning towards San Francisco square in La Paz.

The internal conflict within the Bolivian military took a turn for the worse after military leaders dismissed 702 soldiers who participated in a march calling for the end of discrimination in the armed forces and the “decolonization” of the institution.

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On April 24, Defense Minister RubĂ©n Saavedra described the protests as “seditious,” and Vice President Alvaro GarcĂ­a said the abandonment of patrol and border posts was “unforgivable,” casting doubt on the soldier’s demands regarding working conditions. Worker unions loyal to President Evo Morales have alleged the strikes are actually an attempt to destabilize recent efforts by the Bolivarian government.

Source: Página Siete.

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