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Weekly Report - 18 June 2020 (WR-20-24)

BOLIVIA-ECUADOR: Protests in the time of Covid

There are various parallels between recent developments in Bolivia and Ecuador. Social protests erupted in both countries, albeit with different motivations, in October last year. Ecuador was hit earlier and much harder by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but even with a much lower caseload, there are signs Bolivia’s health services are struggling to cope, with images of dead bodies on the streets in Santa Cruz (and other cities) evoking the grim scenes in Ecuador’s own business capital Guayaquil in March. But the state of exception imposed in both countries to respond to the pandemic has been far more contentious in Bolivia. While Bolivia’s opposition-controlled legislature approved a bill on 16 June regulating the application of a state of exception on the grounds that it is being abused by the interim government led by Jeanine Áñez, indigenous and trade union movements that spearheaded Ecuador’s protests accepted President Lenín Moreno’s extension of a state of exception in the country a day earlier without demur.

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