Evo Banned from Potosi Festivities
El Potosí, Potosí, 17 Aug. 2010: The Secretary General of the Potosi Civic Committee (Comcipo), Luis Pastor, assured yesterday (Monday) that Bolivian President Evo Morales will not be allowed to enter their region on November 10th, when Potosí celebrates its civic anniversary.
"Potosí is telling Evo Morales and the MAS (Movement Toward Socialism) that he best not even dare come on the 10th of November. We will not allow the President to enter Potosí because this city did not deserve the treatment his government and his party gave them over the past 18 days during which it was mobilized," indicated Pastor in exclusive statements to Red Erbol.
He added that during the days in which measures were being taken to pressure the government, Morales' image was damaged among the people of Potosí because he refused to go to the city of Potosi to negotiate their demands and would not even go to Sucre. "So now nobody wants anything to do with the MAS, and much less president Morales. The government failed Potosí again in Sucre because the ministers who went to negotiate have not provided clear responses to our regional demands. They did not want to include the agreed work schedule, a budget or investment amounts in the minutes of the agreement," he stated.
He affirmed that the measures taken created unity among the residents of Potosí who, during the days of the conflict, were qualified by the government as supporters of the right acting for political purposes.
"I'm sure that if tomorrow there were elections in this department, the MAS would not win. I'm also sure that within a few years Morales' party will not achieve the same support from citizens at the voting urns," he said.
The residents of Potosí suspended their measures (hunger strikes and road blocks) yesterday and a great crowd gathered to rejoice in the department's capital city after representatives returned from the city of Sucre, having achieved a signed agreement with the government that is considered favorable for the region.
The Potosi representatives, headed by Celestino Condori, the chairman of the Potosi Civic Committee, and governor Félix Gonzáles, were received like heroes by a large crowd that turned out into the streets and avenues of Potosí spontaneously, carrying thousands of flags of this department.
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Source: El Potosí
Potosi and Oruro dispute a shared border region near a mountain called Cerro Pahua that is said to contain limestone, marble and uranium. Potosí also demanded the construction of a new international airport, several regional roads, a cement factory, and the re-activation of a financially stalled refinery, among other things. Protesters blocked roads, held hunger strikes, and marched in the streets demanding Morales himself meet with them.
In 2009 Morales was re-elected to a second term. Nearly 70% of the voting population of Potosí voted for him.
HOW THIS AFFECTS TOURISM
At least 100 tourists were stranded in Potosí during the protests, which lasted for 19 days. In view of the above announcement, tourists considering travel to this area in November should exercise caution and keep up with local news.