The Bolivian Workers Central commemorated its 70 years of foundationlast April. It is considered the instrument of struggle that unified the unions in defense of the rights of Bolivian workers. Juan Lechín Oquendo, Simón Reyes, Víctor López, Édgar “Huracán” Ramírez and Óscar Salas are considered the “historical leaders” of the organization. Under his leadership, the COB acquired undeniable weight and influence, propping up the social demands of the national labor movement. Seven decades later, it seems to have lost its way and its independence. His identification with the official political line is more than evident and looking after the workers and their interests is no longer his main objective.
The current cobista executive, Juan Carlos Huarachi, is at an insurmountable distance from its predecessors and its erratic conduct is reflected in the institutional weakening of the labor parent entity. Huarachi missteps in trying to gain public notoriety. He did it lately when he asked President Arce for a ‘state of exception’ in Santa Cruz to neutralize the Santa Cruz demand for the census. Then, absurdly, he set a deadline of 72 hours for the promoters of the strike to leave the country, citing among them “Croats and Yugoslavians.” Finally, he proclaimed his proprietary right to the region. “We are the owners, the ones who have built Santa Cruz.” Two things happen to poor Huarachi under the mining helmet: his head heats up and his neurons cut off.