The Ship’s Log: At Bolivia’s Blockades
An “indefinite strike” in Santa Cruz is in its twelfth day - and as partisan factions clash over unblocking roads, things are getting violent
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Pirate Wire Services is a bilingual newsletter and podcast about human rights and politics in Latin America. We’re a crew of four independent journalists, two in Colombia and two in Argentina, and we created this project to chase the stories that sail below the radar of the major international media. Our Friday message in a bottle, featuring original reporting, a news roundup and our Spanish Words of the Week, is free to all subscribers. Paying subscribers also get access to the Ship’s Log, a fortnightly series of essays and analysis.
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The first sign business was not as usual in Santa Cruz was when my taxi driver started driving the wrong way down the highway. I was travelling from the airport to a hostel in the city, having been told the night before that bus travel to the city was indefinitely suspended.
“Is there a roadblock?” I asked. “Yes, there’s a big one right ahead,” he said, before veering off onto a dirt road on the outskirts of town. This was going to take a while.
In Santa Cruz, one of Bolivia’s largest urban centers, the Civic Committee - a right-wing group of business leaders and other powerful figures - announced in mid-October that the city was starting an indefinite strike over delays to the national census. Bolivia’s last census was held in 2012, and Luis Arce’s leftist government has decided that the next survey won’t be held until 2024, citing poorly defined technical reasons.