For several weeks now, the rallies have multiplied in Bolivia to denounce a judicial system that many consider subservient to power and corrupt. Most of the opposition to the government of Luis Arce is concentrated in Santa Cruz.
With our correspondent in La Paz, Alice Campaignolle, and the AFP.
The mobilization continues in Bolivian cities. On Wednesday, January 26, large rallies were organized in La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Potosí to express the discontent of part of the population with a corrupt justice, and demand the release of those they consider “political prisoners”, especially Luis Fernando Camacho, governor of the Santa Cruz region, and the former interim president, Jeanine Añez.
While in Santa Cruz, the city where most of the opposition to the current government is concentrated, there were several thousand protesters, in La Paz there were a few hundred. Many there refused to be labeled “opposition”, like Verónica: “I would not speak of an opposition. I would speak of all Bolivians, Bolivians in Santa Cruz, in Pando, Oruro, that is, all the departments. We are not interested politics. We want freedom, we want justice and democracy,” he said.
One of the main demands of the protesters is the reform of the judicial system, which is considered subservient to the government. The opposition denounces that, since the inauguration of Luis Arce as president, some 180 people, including civilians, police and military, have been detained, under the same accusation of having participated against Evo Morales and of having directed or participated in repression against the likes of the then aimara ruler.
A few hundred meters from the protest, signatures were collected in the hope of achieving change: “It is a citizen initiative to request a partial reform of the Constitution, so that we can have a truly independent judicial system, and for that we need a million and a half signatures,” explained a protester.
Now they have 90 days to reach a sufficient number of signatories to allow them to organize a referendum to ask the Bolivian people if they want justice reform.
Revoke the mandate
In Santa Cruz, opponents met to approve proposals suggested by the regional Civic Committee, an influential civil-business conglomerate. The president of the Civic Committee, Rómulo Calvo, read several proposals for citizens to respond affirmatively or negatively.
One of them was whether Santa Cruz agrees to require Arce to “instruct and make possible the approval of an amnesty law, so that within a period of no more than 30 days, determine the release of Governor Luis Fernando Camacho and all the prisoners politicians in the country”, to which the people answered “yes”.
Then Calvo consulted that if the government did not accept it, then from next May they will promote “a process to revoke the mandate of President Luis Arce.” The answer was, likewise, affirmative.