Month: March 2015

The dictatorship that runs Bolivia – Part II


A few days ago, Bolivia’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of a journalist (photo) accusing him of interfering with the judicial process in a case of child abuse. The specific reasons behind the arrest were never very clear but it seems that the prosecutor considered that the journalist’s research on the case, and his interviews with the people involved, were somehow interfering with the official investigation. As expected, the press and other media outlets initiated a strong protest campaign against the arrest and the public opinion was that the apprehension of the journalist was a flagrant abuse against free speech.

Aware of the political costs that this arrest could provoke only two weeks before regional elections, yesterday, the party in power, the MAS, acted quickly and “coordinated” with the prosecutor the release of the journalist. Today, the journalist was, indeed, released.

Apart from any consideration as to whether the arrest was appropriate or not, what is truly amazing in the story is the political power of the executive branch. In just two days, the government “coordinated” with the judicial system (i.e. ordered) the release of somebody previously arrested with the order of a judge. How is this possible? Does the judicial system not have rules and procedures that are independent of any “coordination” or order from the executive branch? Where is the separation of branch powers? Is this the way justice works in Bolivia? If the government doesn’t like an arrest, can they just pick put the phone and “coordinate” the immediate release with the judges and prosecutors? This is truly pervasive and yet another example of the continuous abuse that characterizes the dictatorship that runs Bolivia.


The dictatorship that runs Bolivia


President Evo Morales and his party, MAS, have been elected three times with important margins over opposing parties. While these results give the current administration formal political legitimacy, it is clear for anybody watching the political situation in Bolivia that the power that MAS has accumulated over time has led to a consistent abuse and violation of basic human and civil rights. Evo Morales and the MAS have violated basic democratic rules all over the place. The third term is fraudulent (they changed the Constitution to allow for it), the political power has co-opted the judicial system entirely and the public administration is corroded with incredible levels of corruption all covered by the political apparatus. And here are two more fresh examples of cynical political abuse.

First, the Vice-President publicly admits that he ordered (with public funds, of course) the publication of grave accusations against the governor of Santa Cruz (opposition) even though he has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. The governor has been accused in several cases but has never been proved guilty. Why not let the judicial process take its course without political interference? Why is the Vice-President publishing accusations?

Second, Evo Morales, publicly said that he will not work with any mayor or governor elected that belongs to a different political party. Can you believe the abuse? Is he just the president of MAS sympathizers? What about the rest of the Bolivian citizens that could democratically elect somebody from a different political view? Disgraceful.