La Paz (Agenzia Fides) - The approval of the new Law on Mining in Bolivia last week, has sparked social protests on behalf of miners which caused 3 deaths and hundreds of injuries among protesters and police. On Sunday, April 6th the Archbishop of Santa Cruz, His Exc. Mgr. Sergio Gualberti, called on the government and leaders of the miners' cooperatives to act with wisdom and discernment, in order to prevent further deaths. Mgr. Gualberti had cited, inter alia, the recent message of the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia (CEB), which states: "Our society needs to abandon the growing and increasingly obvious corruption in the administration of justice, which damages social cohesion and creates insecurity".
The miners, after the Archbishop’s intervention, had suspended the demonstrations. Yesterday, according to the note sent to Fides, President Morales appointed a new minister, which is unusual for this time of year, and raised the alleged "vested interests" of the outgoing minister’s technical team. He also warned that the contracts between cooperatives and private companies will be subject to investigation, after the government announced that it had identified 42 illegal contracts between the cooperative sector and multinational companies.
According to the local press, President Morales will meet miners on Thursday, April 10. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 09/04/2014)