Bolivian civic movements marched on Monday night in six cities of the country to protest the arrest of former interim president Jeanine Áñez, accused of “sedition and terrorism” during the overthrow of President Evo Morales in 2019. Opposition leaders demanded freedom de Áñez and two former ministers of his Government. After a meeting held on Tuesday, the civic committees, which bring together those who oppose the Government of Luis Arce from the regions, resolved that “in case of apprehension, arrest or illegal detention of any Bolivian citizen (including military and police) to titles of the ‘coup d’etat case’, the whole country will go into civic strike ”.
The elected governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, one of the leaders of the revolts that in November 2019 precipitated the early departure of Evo Morales, offered refuge to those who feel persecuted by the Government of the Movement to Socialism (MAS). Six leaders of La Resistencia, a shock group that acted against the MAS during Añez’s administration, are “under protection” of the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee. In recent days, the head of this group was arrested on different charges of violence and later released due to lack of evidence.
The government has denied that it is carrying out a political persecution and that it intends to arrest Camacho, the most radical of the opponents. “The only time we go to La Paz will be to defeat a tyrant government again,” Camacho exclaimed in his speech.
Rejection of the OAS
Tension with civic movements has only deepened polarization. Social organizations linked to the MAS have warned that they will defend Arce from opposition political threats. “We demand justice, not revenge; We demand prosecution from the de facto government [de Añez] murderous and corrupt ”, published the Single Trade Union Confederation of Peasant Workers.
The coca growers of Evo Morales, who are “on alert” due to the deterioration of the political situation, also charged against the Organization of American States (OAS) and its secretary general, Luis Almagro, for requesting the intervention of international courts. “Almagro never spoke out for the 36 murders, more than 800 wounded, 1,500 illegally detained and the hundred persecuted [por el Gobierno interino]. We are not surprised by his defense of Áñez, because he should also be tried for promoting the coup and for crimes against humanity, ”Morales tweeted.
Bolivia has been divided between those who defend and reject that there has been a coup in November 2019. Those who reject it consider that Áñez’s arrest and the military leaders who at the time called for Morales’s resignation are now “politically persecuted”.
The Bolivian left, on the other hand, prefers to ignore the legal details that question the surprising inclusion of Añez, who as former president has the right to a trial with parliamentary authorization. The arrest is framed, for these groups close to the Government, in denouncing Áñez’s actions as senator, that is, the position she held when the overthrow took place. The repolarization of Bolivian politics is expressed in social networks, where users choose between two frames for their profile photos. One says: “It was not a coup, it was fraud.” The other: “It is not revenge, it is justice.”
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