The leaders of the Bolivian opposition have been arrested on absurd “terrorism” fees


The December 28 police operation involving greater than 40 closely armed officers, many in plain garments and masks; forcibly arrested Luis Fernando CamachoConsidered one of Bolivia’s most vital opposition leaders and the governor of the area with the nation’s largest metropolis, he was shortly flown by navy helicopter to La Paz.

It seemed extra just like the arrest of a drug vendor than a democratically elected governor coming dwelling for lunch after a day on the workplace.

Twenty-four hours later, Camacho, 43, was preliminarily sentenced to at the very least 4 months in pretrial detention at Chonchocoro (Bolivia’s infamous most safety jail in El Alto) as he awaits trial on “terrorism” fees.

The arrest has sparked nationwide protests and a police crackdown on his base in Santa Cruz, and set yet one more chilling precedent for political prosecutions of high-level authorities critics in a rustic the place the judiciary is infamous for complying with the calls for of authoritarians.

A woman struggles with the police during a demonstration called by Gabriel Rena.
The arrest sparked nationwide protests and a police crackdown on his base in Santa Cruz.
AFP through Getty Photos

Movies of Camacho’s arrest, shared by native media, confirmed the politician standing on the facet of the highway in handcuffs. they broke the home windows of the automotive he was in.

He was accused of collaborating within the November 2019 “Coup d’état” towards then-President Evo Morales, who successfully resigned (and fled the nation) after practically 14 years in energy.

Worldwide observers from the Group of American States concluded that the outcomes of the 2019 presidential election, wherein Morales illegally sought his fourth consecutive time period, had been largely fraudulent, saying he rigged the vote depend to keep away from a runoff and thus safe the presidency. . The European Union agreed.

However divisions among the many opposition allowed Morales’ social gathering to regain energy within the subsequent election, lower than a yr later.

Chonchocoro is Bolivia's infamous maximum security prison in El Alto.
Camacho was preliminarily sentenced to at the very least 4 months of pretrial detention.

Camacho performed a key function within the mass non-violent protests throughout the nation that led to Morales’ resignation, utilizing Santa Cruz’s longstanding regionalist sentiment towards the central authorities in La Paz, galvanizing the nation’s regional opposition and coordinating with the nation. – broad teams of civil society who had been equally fed up with Morales’ authoritarianism.

As then president of the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, Camacho overtly promised the beleaguered nationwide police higher working circumstances after Morales’ corrupt rule ended; a transfer that, along with a month of civil disobedience, helped gasoline the police rebellion that turned very important in Armenia. forcing Morales’ hand.

He additionally solid an alliance with the indigenous miners in Potosí (whose chief, Marco Pumari, can also be now arbitrarily imprisoned) and the historic Obrera Bolivia Central Firm in La Paz.

None of this may make him a “coup plotter” or a “terrorist”. He and tens of millions of Bolivians had been merely courageous sufficient to train what was left of freedom of expression and affiliation in a rustic weary of sturdy individuals.

Nonetheless “Coup d’état I” case additionally an excuse to imprison transitional president Jeanine Annes, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in June For “making selections opposite to the Structure” and “dereliction of obligation”. (He was initially charged with terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.)

Obscure crimes corresponding to “terrorism” or “sedition” are sometimes used to prosecute the opposition. Bolivia’s judicial system is likely one of the worst on the earth. This yr, the World Justice Mission ranked one hundred and thirtieth out of 140 international locations in its Rule of Regulation Index.

Bolivians know that President Arce Katakora’s Movimiento Al Socialismo social gathering won’t be afraid to make use of the nation’s subservient judiciary to actual revenge. It’s intently related to the totalitarian regimes of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, in addition to the kleptocratic dictatorships of Iran and China.

MAS seeks revenge for worldwide embarrassment over fraud and abuses suffered by the Anes authorities (led by authoritarian authorities minister Arturo Murillo), itself infamous for prosecuting MAS leaders for “terrorism”.

Evo Morales
Camacho was accused of collaborating within the November 2019 “Coup d’état” towards then-President Evo Morales.

For reality and justice to prevail within the area, and totally free and truthful elections, Latin American international locations should have some semblance of the rule of legislation. Opposition leaders can’t be arbitrarily thrown into jail on imprecise fees, as a result of that’s how the powers have been decided.

Pumari, Anes and Camacho are solely the newest examples of the lawlessness and ruthlessness with which the Arce regime treats high-ranking political opponents. Think about it only the start.

Jhanis Vaca Daza is the co-founder of Ríos de Pi, a Bolivian nonviolent civil motion and advocacy specialist on the Human Rights Basis. Javier El-Haig is HRF’s Chief Authorized Officer.


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