Crime & Justice

Kin of Bolivians killed during 2019 crisis demand justice

La Paz, Sep 3 (EFE).- Family and supporters of some of the 27 people killed by Bolivian security forces during protests following the November 2019 ouster of President Evo Morales held a march here Friday to demand prosecution of politicians they accuse of having been behind the repression.

Protesters walked past government buildings in downtown La Paz with placards calling for the indictment of prominent figures including Santa Cruz regional Gov. Luis Fernando Camacho and cement mogul and perennial presidential hopeful Samuel Doria Medina.

Nineteen months into the investigation, the “only” people charged with killing Morales supporters in the Senkata district of El Alto are four former military commanders, while several police officers are under house arrest for the deaths in Sacaba, Cochabamba, human rights activist David Inca told Efe.

A score of partisans of Morales’ leftist MAS party died in those incidents.

MAS supporters took to the streets after the military forced Morales to step down and installed right-wing Sen. Jeanine Añez as “interim president.”

All of those who joined Añez in signing a decree giving security forces immunity for their actions in putting down the protests should be hauled into court, Inca said.

A report from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts that described the events in Sacaba and Senkata as “massacres” can serve as a framework for establishing which individuals and institutions were involved, the activist said.

“These incompetent prosecutors are not capable,” Maria Condori, mother of the slain Ruddy Vazquez, told Efe.

The 23-year-old died of a gunshot to the head.

“My son was an athlete and a student, he had a life ahead of him. That’s what hurts me so much,” Condori said, sobbing.

Añez has been behind bars for nearly six months awaiting trial on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy. Camacho, the scion of a wealthy family, is also accused in that case, but prosecutors have made no moves to have him detained.

The crisis erupted after the elections of Oct. 20, 2019, in which Morales, the first indigenous president of Indian-majority Bolivia, was seeking a fourth consecutive term.

On Oct. 21, as the vote-counting continued, the Organization of American States (OAS) joined the Bolivian opposition in claiming fraud.

While rejecting the claim, Morales agreed to hold a new election, but the military forced him to resign and he accepted temporary exile in Mexico, before being granted asylum in Argentina.

In February 2020, two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study of the Bolivian election returns that found no “statistical support” for the OAS accusations of fraud.

When a new vote was finally held, late in 2020, MAS candidate Luis Arce won and Morales was able to return to Bolivia. EFE


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