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News > Latin America

Evo Morales Takes Legal Action to Re-Establish Medical Care

  • Healthcare employees protest in front Arco Iris Hospital during a strike against Bolivia's government policies for health rules, in La Paz, Bolivia, December 12, 2017.

    Healthcare employees protest in front Arco Iris Hospital during a strike against Bolivia's government policies for health rules, in La Paz, Bolivia, December 12, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 January 2018
Opinion

Doctors and medical professionals are continuing protests and are now on day 46 of their work strike.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that he's taking "all constitutional and legal actions" to re-establish medical care in the South American country.

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"To the Bolivian community ... I’ve decided that, for the health and lives of our people, I will take all constitutional and legal actions available to return medical attention and health services to the Bolivian people ... because it's a fundamental human right," Morales said during a Monday press conference.

"We’ve followed through with our word … we can’t say the same of the medical schools and associations that after eight signed accords still are not attending to our people. There are other interests that are guiding these (medical) directors."

Last Tuesday, the Medical College of Bolivia and the government came to an agreement and the national medical organization agreed to end its nationwide medical strike and protests against Article 205 of the newly-proposed Penal Code. The article would sanction professional negligence and would criminalize medical malpractice.

Yet, doctors and medical professionals continued protests and are now on day 46 of their work strike.

Morales said the medical professionals are maintaining the strike as a “conspiracy” carried out by opposition sectors that are intent on hurting his 2019 presidential bid.

“The right wing only relies on lies — from lying about Feb. 21, 2016 to the Criminal Code,” Morales said on Twitter, referencing the referendum held that day on his presidential re-election.

He said the doctors are using the demonstrations and work boycotts as a political ploy to end his administration. “The doctors have converted a so-called protest to a political conspiracy.” The current head of state added, “The truth is they don't want Evo to be president, may the unions teach them how to govern.”

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Bolivian Minister of Government Carlos Romero echoed Evo’s sentiment that right-wing forces are working to derail the president’s potential re-election.

"Those who are demanding that the new Penal Code be annulled (a new demand by medical unions) are obeying the political opposition and will have a political response from the government," Romero said.

TeleSUR Bolivia correspondent Freddy Morales reported that medical unions are demanding a meeting with the president and a new accord, and that transportation unions are getting set to announce their own strike in light of the penal code.

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