Arrest of opposition leader raises tensions in Bolivia

Arrest of opposition leader raises tensions in Bolivia

The Bolivian police arrested on Wednesday the governor of the Santa Cruz region, Luis Fernando Camacho, the main opponent of the government of Luis Arce, who led a 36-day strike a month ago to demand that the population census be carried out in 2023 and that your region may carry more political weight.

“We inform the Bolivian people that the police have complied with the arrest warrant against Mr. Luis Fernando Camacho,” the Minister of Government, Carlos Eduardo del Castillo, concisely confirmed on his Twitter account.

No official information was given on the charges that judicially justified the arrest, which was ordered by the Prosecutor’s Office. Camacho’s capture led to an increase in political tension in the country and was rejected by other opposition leaders.

In a statement, the Santa Cruz government said that Camacho “has been kidnapped in an absolutely irregular police operation and taken to an unknown destination.” For former centrist president Carlos Mesa it was a “violent and illegal kidnapping.”

Lawyer Martín Camacho declared to the Santa Cruz newspaper El Deber that his client was forcibly intercepted in his car by police officers when he was returning to his home after noon on Wednesday and was transferred to La Paz to respond to the requirements against him. .

Camacho is the leader of the opposition alliance Creemos and has recently become the main opponent of President Luis Arce.

The governor of Santa Cruz, a province considered the economic locomotive of the country and stronghold of the opposition, has accusations of sedition, conspiracy, terrorism, damage to public property, treason, and even one for rape that occurred three decades ago.

The right-wing politician has previously rejected the accusations, promoted by the government and by the pro-government Movement for Socialism (MAS). He has denounced “political persecution” against him and has avoided appearing at summons from the Prosecutor’s Office, alleging lack of guarantees.

Arce himself previously accused Camacho of leading powerful right-wing groups to destabilize his government.

Supporters of the detained governor prevented flights from Santa Cruz on Wednesday due to rumors that he was transferred to La Paz, while civil organizations from Santa Cruz that supported the protest in that eastern region were meeting on Wednesday to decide on pressure measures.

From his region, Camacho led massive protests that forced President Evo Morales to resign in 2019, after unsuccessful elections identified as fraudulent by the Organization of American States (OAS).

The opposition has denounced persecution against the opposition leaders who led the 2019 revolt, including interim president Jeanine Áñez, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for those events.

The social outbreak at that time claimed the lives of 37 demonstrators and plunged the country into the most serious political crisis in recent years.

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Written by Editor TLN

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