BOGOTA, Colombia

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales asked supporters Wednesday to accept Oct. 18 as the date for general elections, amidst protests that have paralyzed the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

“There are comrades who say they [elections] should be held on October 4 or 11, but not October 18. I don’t think there’s any point in taking this approach,” Morales said on Facebook Live. “Two or three weeks are not going to make a difference.”

Miners, labor unionists, coca leaf farmers and indigenous leaders took to the streets last week after the National Electoral Council delayed the presidential election to Oct. 18 that was scheduled for May 3, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Leftist groups took that as a sign the interim government led by Jeanine Anez is using the virus as a pretext to cling to power.

As a result of growing violence and increasing blockades, hospitals are starting to experience shortages of medical supplies and residents are facing food scarcity in cities during the pandemic that has infected more than 93,000 people and caused 3,700 deaths.

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