Bolivia. Clear signs indicated that Evo Morale’s government was beginning to face serious public administration corruption problems. In July, Fernando Zeballos, former Army Chief and Deputy Minister of Defense, was arrested for appropriating funds for the construction of a military base in Aniceto Arce Province, and in late October, former Commander-in-Chief Omar Salinas and another top Army official were arrested in connection with the same tangle.
According to countryaah, the current population of Bolivia is 11,673,032. The trend of increased popular dissatisfaction with Morales and the ruling party MAS (The Movement for Socialism) was evident in the referendum on February 21. The issue was about changing the constitution to allow a second re-election of the president from the 2019 election round. It was the first time since Morales came to power in 2005 that he lost an election at all, and it was generally interpreted as confirmation of the ever-declining support for MAS. That the constitutional reform met resistance in all of the country’s nine provincial capitals and in the traditionally Moral-hostile eastern part of the country was little unexpected; but the jas side also lost in the provinces of Potosí and Chuquisaca where MAS and Morales normally had a great support. According to thereligionfaqs, the general Latin American popular opinion against “continuismo” – leaders who with constitutional means make sure they never have to leave power – now seemed to have arrived in Bolivia as well.
One of the more direct reasons for the dissatisfaction with Morales, even among his most loyal supporters, was the government’s increasingly stern attitude towards workers’ demands and especially the important trade unions. In October, Finance Minister Luís Arce announced that a special extra annual salary payment would not come about because the country’s growth would not reach above 4.5% for the year. In August, the National Confederation of Mining Cooperatives (Fencomin) produced a list of requirements that the government rejected. The result was protests and riots in the city of Panduro, where five miners were killed in confrontations with police and Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes was killed. A total of ten people were arrested as responsible for the shocking act.