Sunday, August 1

Bolivia: Bolivia wants to bring former presidents Jeanine Áñez and Lenín Moreno before an international tribunal | International

Former Bolivian President Jeannine Áñez, in March 2021.
Former Bolivian President Jeannine Áñez, in March 2021.LUIS GANDARILLAS / AFP

The Government of Luis Arce wants to initiate an international judicial process against the former president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, and the former president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, for crimes against humanity. Iván Lima, the Bolivian Minister of Justice, made the announcement and, although he did not specify the court to which Bolivia will go, he mentioned the Inter-American Court or the International Court of Justice as instances. The Arce Executive argues its desire in the alleged loan of Moreno to Áñez, in November 2019, of tear gas intended to control the protests that at that time were taking place in Bolivia after the overthrow of President Evo Morales.

In Ecuador, Moreno’s supposed support for Áñez in the 2019 protests has also become an agenda item. Legislator Fausto Jarrín filed a complaint against former President Moreno with the Prosecutor’s Office for “the fact of having delivered, without any reason o justification, military supplies and tear gas canisters to the Government of Jeanine Áñez in November 2019, [material] With which obviously the de facto government repressed the citizens of the brother people of Bolivia, ”Jarrín, who belongs to the party of former President Rafael Correa, currently in opposition, told the press.

The scandal erupted with the dissemination in Bolivia, a week ago, of a letter, dated May 2020, from the former commander of the Ecuadorian Police, Hernán Patricio Carrillo Rosero, to the then Defense Attaché of the Bolivian Embassy in Ecuador, José Frías . In it, the policeman asked the diplomat to return “5,000 GL-302 hand grenades; 2,389 long-range 37 mm projectiles; 560 short-range 37 mm caliber projectiles and 500 sound and flash grenades for exteriors ”that his institution had loaned to Bolivia. The 37mm cartridges are used to shoot chemicals such as tear gas and other irritants.

According to the Bolivian government, the shipment arrived in the country “with a low profile” on November 16, 2019, the day after the so-called Sacaba massacre, in which 11 people died and 120 were injured, and three days before the massacre. Senkata, in which 11 people also died and 78 were injured. Investigations into these events, which have not yet concluded, established that all anti-Áñez protesters lost their lives from gunshot wounds.

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When the interim government took office on November 12, 2019, the Bolivian police suffered a total shortage of tear gas, after the 21 days of street conflicts that preceded the fall of Evo Morales. This shortage led the then Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo, to buy non-lethal police supplies through an intermediary company in Miami. Today, Murillo is imprisoned in this city in the United States, where he resided after leaving office, accused of having received bribes and having laundered money from the surcharge that Bolivia paid for this purchase. Ecuador’s gas loan allegedly occurred prior to this operation.

According to a former minister of Áñez questioned by the Prosecutor’s Office, the person who made the request to Ecuador was the then Minister of Communication, Roxana Lizárraga. This policy has been linked to far-right Latino institutions in the United States, where today he is processing his political asylum. According to the complaint of his former colleague, he made a phone call in the middle of a Cabinet meeting that discussed “heatedly” the lack of material for the Police at a time of social upheaval, and thus obtained the help of Ecuador. The Prosecutor’s Office is now awaiting a statement from him from a distance.

The Bolivian newspaper Page seven reported that he had had a contact with a member of Lenín Moreno’s team. The source, who did not want to be publicly identified, denied that “munitions of war” had been sent to Bolivia, as the Bolivian authorities initially declared. However, it was not clear whether he also rejected the shipment of non-lethal ammunition, such as the one indicated in Commander Carrillo’s letter.

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