Under a climate of unexpected heat, with around 30 degrees in full sun, the almost 143,000 Bolivian citizens registered in Argentina turned out to vote in record numbers and the queues in many authorized schools were long. 75% of the diaspora is concentrated in the capital and its urbanized area, but there were also establishments listed in 15 other provinces.
“I want the one who can govern better to win, for the good of my country and everyone. I am informed that the situation there is not good at all. We want democracy but real, not that they say that there is a democracy and they are by force”, told Sputnik Meri, fresh out after casting her vote, at a school in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores.
Sputnik / Francisco Lucotti
Bolivian voter happy to vote from Buenos Aires
To exercise their right, voters had to make sure to process the registration certificate within the framework of the isolation measures for COVID-19 through the state CUID.AR app and download another mobile application to verify the school they should approach. , which in many cases was not the same as in the failed elections of October 2019, which generated some confusion and improvised transfers.
“Bolivia has been in this situation for a year, there was a lot of fear. I was repeating a lot to all my acquaintances that we vote today with conscience, we have to move forward as a country and put aside confrontations,” Luz Gabriela, who lives, told Sputnik in Argentina a year ago, before entering to vote in a school in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Abasto.
According to the last official census of 2010, 345,000 Bolivians lived in Argentina, so it is estimated that this figure today must be close to 400,000. They are 20% of the total number of foreign residents, only lower than those from the neighboring country of Paraguay. Those registered to vote represent 2.2% of the Bolivian electoral roll, which could move the needle and even define whether or not there will be a second round.
Bolivia is gambling the future in a high-tension contest, almost a year after the coup that expelled former President Evo Morales from the government and the country, who is currently an asylee in Argentina and prevented from participating as a candidate.
His party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS), has former Economy Minister Luis Arce as a candidate, a favorite in the polls, while the conservative candidates are former President Carlos Mesa and the far-right leader Luis Camacho.
Sputnik / Francisco Lucotti
The largest Bolivian community outside its country goes out to vote with record participation
The Bolivian community in Argentina demonstrated overwhelming support with 80% of the votes in favor of Morales in the frustrated elections of October 20, 2019, which were denounced by the opposition and overseers of the Organization of American States (OAS).
That diagnosis caused the then president to call first to repeat the elections, which never took place due to the uprising of the Bolivian security forces, a reactionary impulse that led to the resignation of Morales in order to guarantee peace. There were riots and repression by the de facto government, causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.
“It was difficult what we lived through after the previous vote, it was a disaster: a lot of blood, many families lost loved ones. The loser will have to respect the winner, hopefully everything is as clear and sincere,” Leónidas told Sputnik, Resident in Argentina for more than 20 years, after exercising his law in a school in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Once.