During his opening remarks at the 81st General Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Bolivia, the Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, called on politicians not to jeopardize the country’s future and to seek “clear and urgent answers” in response to the demands of the people.
“The life of the country is jeopardized when the demands of the common good are set aside or when supposed legal arguments are used to ignore the dignity and the demands of our people,” the cardinal said.
It is “incomprehensible that faced with the real situations of pain and anguish of the immense majority of our people, leaders are not seeking after the clear and urgent responses that we need today,” Cardinal Terrazas continued.
Likewise, he expressed regret at the social unrest that has resulted from the government’s indecision to implement a ruling by the Constitutional Court that ordered congressional redistricting in each region of the country in accord with the 2001 consensus.
The ruling led to political fights between politicians in La Paz, Oruro and Potosi, and Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. After two months of debate, the country’s electoral committee suspended elections scheduled for December 4.
In response, President Eduardo Rodriguez issued a decree establishing the number of congressional seats per region. His decision was disputed by two representatives, which further jeopardized elections.
“The spirit of a people is broken when the feelings of groups or regions are exacerbated, thus stoking the selfishness of some and the nostalgia of others,” the cardinal warned. Bolivia, he said, needs to accept “the diversity of our identities and support social recognition of the different groups and communities.”