UPDATE: Less than a week after removing gas subsidies in his country causing more than 70% price hikes, President Evo Morales has rescinded the decree. When the decree was announced massive protests started throughout the country and truck drivers and teachers conducted work strikes.
Most recently bakers had began a general work strike necessitating the government to provide bread rations to the country.
In a New Year’s Eve message to the nation leftist President Morales said he had listened to his constituencies: unions and social advocacy organizations and had decided to rescind the subsidies. The fact that the President had increased public sector wages and froze the poor’s utilities bills to counter the gas price increases did not move most of Bolivia to stop protesting the measure in one form or another.
Evo Morales, assuredly must of had his other Presidential predecessors on his mind when he rescinded the gas price hike. Both were forcibly removed by massive protests that turned radical and removed them from office.
ORIGINAL STORY: Ever since the Bolivian government announced this weekend that gas subsidies, in existence for over a decade, would be ending most sectors of Bolivia are protesting and in some cases rioting.
The subsidies allowed gas prices in the country to remain artificially low averaging $1.97/gallon but now they are pegged at $3.42/gallon. The first to protest were bus and truck drivers who staged a general strike. The main transportation union in the country has called for an ‘indefinite strike’. Teachers are also protesting through a partial work stop strike.
The government of President Evo Morales says they will not back down in spite of all the chaos and negative reaction. It is expected that the country will save $380 million a year and put gas prices in line with neighboring Latin American countries. The government is pledging to counter the increase with public wage increases and freezing home utility bills.