BY MARCELO PATZI
The new year began in Bolivia with strong ideological debate over the new Criminal Code, which actually served as a pretext for political debate centered on the participation of President Evo Morales in the 2019 general elections.
Questions to some articles of the new code were mixed with protests from Morales’ opponents. That is, many people, without even having read a bit of the new code, have rejected it and gone out to protest. These protests are moved by manipulated information, biased lies and prejudices.
It’s said that it demonizes the work of doctors, when in fact it mitigates malpractice — something the current Penal Code, created under former dictator Hugo Bánzer, does not have.
It’s said that micro-trafficking of drugs is not penalized. That’s because they only read the preceding article without seeing that when someone traffics less than one hundred grams of a particular drug, they will also be punished, but with different treatment, as happens in any other country.
It’s said that religious practice is persecuted. This is another lie — it merely protects children and adolescents from human trafficking.
It’s said that it attacks freedom of expression, when it simply updates our current understanding of communication and information. Article 107 of our country’s constitution clearly indicates that “information and opinions issued through social media must respect the principles of truthfulness and responsibility.”
In fact, all of the points questioned already exist in the current Bolivian legal system. There is, for example, already a sanction for doctors’ malpractice, but without qualifications. There is already a sanction for slander and insults and there is already a sanction for sedition.
With rampant manipulation of the new code’s premises, lies and irresponsible rumors are launched by special interests and the media in order to generate a state of nervousness and paranoia, which could lead to social upheaval. For example, it was said that the price of gasoline would rise, when in reality, a new type of gasoline was put on the market.
It was also said that there would be a shortage of gasoline due to a drivers’ protest, but that was a lie. It was said that a state of siege would be caused by the 2018 Dakar Rally, but that was yet another lie.
All political debate is welcomed, but it should be based on truth, serious data and not on lies and prejudices. Any subject can be discussed, but the information should be accurately transmitted to the population. However, it seems that many do not care about setting fire to the country, destroying our prestige and killing one other, in order to damage the image of Morales, before whom the opposition has no serious and viable project.
The president and the National Coordination for Change suspended the application of the new Criminal Code for one year. During this time, the rule will be socialized with the participation of trade union organizations, professionals, businesses, universities, etc.
Now, there is no more excuse to continue agitating the country. Those who continue to do so merely confirm that their goal is sabotage.