La Paz, 28 Oct. The National Association of Oilseed and Wheat Producers (Anapo) of Bolivia denounced this Friday threats of seizures of land where food is produced in the midst of the conflict over the population census in the eastern region of Santa Cruz, the economic engine of the country.
The entity, which brings together some 14,000 producers from Santa Cruz, 80% of them small, said in a statement that the inaction of the authorities is “unfair” to protect productive farms in Santa Cruz.
“To the almost null action of eviction of subjugated properties, now we have to add the public threats of taking over properties that produce strategic food in the municipality of San Julián and in other areas of our department, without any authority making a firm statement on the matter. “, criticized Anapo.
The association considered that this “damages the image of the country” as a recipient of investments in food production and also the “credibility of the national government.”
The producers rejected “any attempt to take over agricultural properties” and demanded that the State take care of and guarantee the property, life and work rights of the farmers.
Anapo asked its associates for “serenity” to “not fall into provocations that only seek to create a bad image of the noble task of producing food in the Santa Cruz agriculture and generate a situation of chaos that the country and Bolivian society do not seek.”
He also expressed his support for carrying out the population and housing census “as a development planning mechanism” and as a “legal obligation of the State that must be implemented every ten years.”
In the east and the Amazon of Bolivia, mainly in Santa Cruz, there is a permanent tension over land ownership that pits local sectors against those who come from other areas, some identified as related to the Bolivian ruling party.
The land problem has even led several indigenous populations from the lowlands, as the Amazon, eastern and Chaco areas are called, to protest the invasion of their territories by groups from the west of the country whom they accuse of settle illegally and then sell those lands.
Santa Cruz has been on strike for seven days to demand that the population census be carried out in 2023.
The national consultation was initially scheduled for next November, but the Luis Arce government postponed it to 2024, arguing technical problems.
Unions and social organizations related to the government Movement for Socialism (MAS) have violently tried to stop the strike in Santa Cruz and even started a “fence” with roadblocks to isolate the region and prevent food from entering its capital.
These sectors also block the passage to facilities of the state oil company, which has prevented the normal supply of fuel and domestic gas in the city and warned against taking over service cooperatives and private companies, accusing them of allegedly financing the strike to destabilize the Arce government. .
The Government temporarily suspended exports of meat, sugar, soybeans and their derivatives as a “preventive measure” in the face of a possible shortage of supplies for which it blames the sectors on strike. EFE