| 1 December 2023, Friday |

Bolivian strike over census delay paralyzes agriculture export hub

In order to protest the delay of a population and housing census that prevents access to greater economic resources, thousands of citizens in Bolivia’s lowland city of Santa Cruz went on an indefinite strike on Saturday.

Conflicts between those who wanted to accept the strike and those who wanted to oppose it resulted in one death, according to the police. Images from the news on television showed a number of highways blocked, deserted streets, and closed marketplaces and businesses.

The results of the census are important for the distribution of economic resources and defining the seats in the Bolivian parliament.

The head of Bolivia’s committee to promote the census, Vicente Cuellar, said 2024 and 2025 would not be “opportune” to carry out the census due to the scheduled election in 2025.

Lawmakers have called for calm and agreed to continue talks until an agreement is reached that can stop the indefinite strike.

According to official estimates, Bolivia has about 12 million inhabitants, with about 3.3 million people in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is considered the bastion of the Bolivian economy and is the main livestock and agricultural producer, known for production of soybeans, sunflowers, sugar cane, corn, rice and wheat.

  • Reuters