In its last days of operation, the Bolivian Legislative Assembly took the first step of a possible “liability trial” or parliamentary against the interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez. The final decision to prosecute Áñez will depend on the new legislature that begins on November 8. The Movement for Socialism (MAS), which is the accusing party, will have a majority in this party, but not the two-thirds of the votes it needs to proceed. So the trial could be left unfinished.
The Assembly also recommended that the prosecution initiate criminal proceedings against Áñez’s Cabinet. In Bolivia, the ministers do not have a special jurisdiction, so this process would be ordinary. The charges against Áñez, his ministers of the security area and various military and police chiefs are “genocide, murder, forced disappearance of persons”, among others less serious, for the repression of the protests that followed the resignation of Evo Morales to the presidency of the country last year. These protests resulted in more than 30 deaths, hundreds of injuries and thousands of detainees. The other ministers are accused of having signed a supreme decree that exempted the military from responsibility for their participation in the repression.
“The MAS starts lawsuits on me. I am innocent of your accusations, I only ask for an impartial investigation. I am going to defend myself and I will do it from Bolivia, ”Áñez tweeted after hearing the news.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karen Longaric, asked three international organizations – the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the European Union – to send missions to the country, in order to “avoid a new political crisis” once the government takes office. by Luis Arce. Longaric also denounced the suspension by a judge of the arrest warrant that Morales had in one of the many court cases filed against him by the outgoing government.
The chancellor also drew attention to the decision of the MAS bench in the outgoing parliament to change the regulations to conduct the debate and address some specific issues, such as the appointment of ambassadors and military promotions. This modification reduced the minimum vote required for approvals from two thirds to an absolute majority, which is what the MAS will have from now on. This decision was criticized by all opposition parties and by human rights organizations such as Human Rigths Wacht. “The MAS shows unequivocal signs of not being willing to submit to democratic norms,” the Bolivian Foreign Minister put in her letter to international organizations.
On the other hand, Longaric confirmed that he had not invited former President Morales or President Nicolás Maduro to the swearing-in ceremony of the new President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, on November 8. He explained that the former was not invited because “he is hostile” to Bolivian democracy; As for the Venezuelan, as soon as he took office as minister at the end of last year, Longaric added Bolivia to the countries that recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Morales and Maduro were invited anyway by the Bolivian president-elect. Morales will not attend the inauguration and will arrive in the country the day after it takes place.
Luis Arce’s resounding victory with 55% of the votes was not enough to reverse the polarization in Bolivia. The parliamentary bench of former candidate Carlos Mesa warned that he will not attend the act of possession in protest against the change of regulations made by the MAS. The Civic Committee Pro Santa Cruz, which represents the powerful elite of this Bolivian region, will hold a hunger strike at the door of Congress, just the place where Arce’s oath will be taken. It will also do so to demand an audit of the electoral process. The citizens of Santa Cruz are reluctant to recognize the results of the elections, while extreme right-wing groups in this region and other regions use multiple conspiracy theories to speak again of “fraud” and take away the legitimacy of the incoming government.