An elderly human rights activist, critical of the Bolivian government, completed 50 days of protest on Friday to demand that she be returned to her job and office after being displaced by a supposedly pro-government group.
And to increase the pressure, Amparo Carvajal moved her protest from the street to a rooftop 11 days ago where she spends the night in the winter cold of La Paz and without anyone being able to dissuade her.
“I still have the strength to continue this fight and the only one that can solve it is the government evicting the usurpers,” he told Friday. Associated Press Carvajal from the roof of the headquarters of the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia (APDHB), in the center of La Paz, of which she has been president for more than a decade.
84-year-old Carvajal is a petite woman, in fragile health, she walks with a cane, but she has shown strength that surprises many. She sleeps in a plastic tent on the roof under the intense sun and endures the cold at night. She has turned down government and police doctors; she is only controlled by her GP. “I’m not going to move until I get the office back,” she warned.
On the other side, the activist Edgar Salazar argues that he is the “legitimate” president of the APDHB. “We are not usurpers, we have the support of organizations that defend human rights, Mrs. Carvajal completed her term a long time ago and it was extended,” he said.
The groups that support Carvajal allege that Salazar defends the interests of the government and pro-government groups. Carvajal’s detractors accuse her of being useful to the right and of defending the so-called “politically persecuted”.
The human rights house has become the loot for two antagonistic groups of pro-government and anti-government activists in a polarized country since the 2019 political crisis when then-President Evo Morales forced resignation over allegations of voter fraud while seeking a fourth consecutive term. The protests left 37 dead.
The good offices of the Ombudsman and of the same justice that have urged the parties to seek a consensus solution have not prospered, but the protest of the elderly activist has gained her support. The passers-by who pass through the doors of the APDHB headquarters express their support for her from the street. A group of policemen has been on permanent guard for 50 days to avoid clashes between antagonistic groups.
The Vice Minister of Health, Alejandra Hidalgo, said that the government will not rule on the conflict, and that Carvajal rejected the medical team that he brought to check on the activist. The old woman suffers from dehydration, according to her relatives.
Carvajal made a career in the defense of human rights since the military dictatorships of the late 1970s. She was born in Spain and came to Bolivia as a religious to later be linked to social struggles.