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Socialist Bolivia Seeks to Imprison Top Conservative Leaders in Nation for 20 Years

Bolivia's public prosecutor's office on Tuesday indicted right-wing Santa Cruz Governor Luis Fernando Camacho and former President Jeanine Áñez for allegedly participating in a 2019 “coup” against former socialist President Evo Morales.

Prosecutor Omar Mejillones, who is leading the “coup” case, is seeking 20 years in prison for Camacho, Áñez and six others for plotting the “ousting” of Morales.

In reality, Morales was not a target of the coup, but voluntarily resigned at the end of 2019 after the Organization of American States (OAS) found evidence of fraud in his unconstitutional fourth election victory. I chose that. Mr. Morales fled the country to Mexico with nearly all of his cabinet members, leaving behind Mr. Áñez, who was then a senator and the country's top line of succession. She became interim president for a year until she fulfilled her constitutional obligation to hold elections as soon as possible. Bolivia is currently ruled by Morales' Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

Bolivia's interim president Jeanine Anez speaks at a ceremony in La Paz on November 25, 2019. Bolivia's El Salvador Romero Balibian was sworn in as a member of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ahead of new elections at the Quemado Palace. She signed new elections on Sunday in a key step toward ending weeks of unrest and turning the page on Evo Morales, a symbol of Latin America's left. (Jorge Bernal/AFP via Getty)

Camacho, 45, is accused of being the “author” of the alleged conspiracy, along with former defense minister Luis Fernando López, former military chief Williams Kaliman and former police chief Yuri Calderon.

Áñez is accused of being an “accomplice” along with activist Marco Antonio Pumari, former military inspector Jorge Fernández and military commander Carlos Orellana.

“It was possible to identify him.” [Camacho’s] “This conduct constitutes the crimes of terrorist financing, active bribery, seduction of troops, public incitement to commit a crime, and criminal association,” Mejillones said. Said At a press conference.

Prosecutors said the indictment includes “133 pieces of documentary evidence” and “131 pieces of testimonial evidence,” including Camacho's bank statements, which would allow him to travel to the capital. Mejillones said he was able to “prove” Camacho's alleged role in the movement of people. The city of La Paz will protest against Morales in 2019.

Prosecutor Mejillones explained that the request will be forwarded to the criminal judge, who will take the necessary steps to begin proceedings against all eight defendants.

Camacho's lawyer, Martin Camacho, said: Said Argentine news agency Infobae reported on Wednesday that the governor's legal team has not yet been officially notified of the charges and will await formal notification. Martín Camacho told local media on Tuesday that he believed the government was simply trying to “perpetuate the detention” of the governor, it added.

Bolivia's leftist government claims that Morales, the socialist strongman who ruled the country from 2006 to 2019, was the victim of a 2019 “coup.” Camacho, a conservative governor and longtime critic of Bolivia's socialist government, was arrested and charged in December 2022. Suspected of “terrorism'' for “causing a coup d'état'' in protest against Mr. Morales.

In reality, Morales tried to cling to power and continue to rule Bolivia even after being elected for a third consecutive term. First, he unsuccessfully attempted to amend Bolivia's constitution through a referendum in 2016 to remove presidential term limits. Force The country's highest court ruled in 2017 to allow Morales to run for a fourth time. The court argued that presidential term limits were a “violation” of Morales' human rights.

Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, October 23, 2019. International election observers on Tuesday expressed concern about Bolivia's presidential election process after unusually delayed official preliminary results showed President Morales close to victory. He won outright in the first round, even though more official tallies tended to show him headed for a dangerous final.  (AP Photo/Karita Juan)

Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, October 23, 2019. On Tuesday, international election observers expressed concern about Bolivia's presidential election process after an unusually delayed official instant count showed President Morales close to winning. He won outright in the first round, even though more official tallies tended to show him headed for a dangerous final. (Juan Carita/AP)

Morales was “elected” as president for a fourth time in October 2019 in a highly fraudulent election. Organization of American States (OAS) presented Evidence of massive voter fraud in Morales' favor shortly after the country's election authorities declared him the winner. Morales then resigned in November 2019 and fled to Mexico with his cabinet.

Camacho traveled At the time, he traveled to La Paz to personally deliver a letter calling for Morales' resignation amid evidence of wrongdoing and protests erupting. Camacho declared that he would arrive in La Paz with “a letter in his left hand and a Bible in his right hand,” and reportedly arrived in the Bolivian capital after Mr. Morales had already resigned.

Áñez was a conservative senator who was at the time second vice president of Bolivia's Senate Chamber and the most senior member of Bolivia's presidential succession still in Bolivia. Although she became president, she chose not to vote in the 2020 elections, which resulted in MAS returning to power and socialist Luis Arce being elected as Bolivia's current president. Ta. The Bolivian government had planned to arrest Áñez in 2022 and sentence her to 10 years in prison because of her appointment as president.

Christian K. Caruso is a Venezuelan writer who chronicles life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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