Bolivia’s ex-President Anez says government seeks her arrest

Bolivian prosecutors also want to arrest two men accused of helping force Evo Morales’ departure in 2019.

Bolivia's former interim President Jeanine Anez shared a link to an arrest warrant, which included her name and several of her former Cabinet and cited allegations of terrorism and sedition [File: David Mercado/Reuters]

Bolivia’s conservative former President Jeanine Anez said on Friday that the country’s leftist government had issued an arrest warrant for her and members of her interim administration that took over after the resignation of Evo Morales in 2019.

In a Twitter post, Anez shared a link to the warrant, which included her name and the names of several of her former Cabinet officials and cited allegations of terrorism and sedition.

Morales’ MAS socialist party returned to power in elections last October. Former economy minister Luis Arce won in a landslide to become president, paving the way for Morales to return home from exile.

“The political persecution has begun,” Anez said in her post. “The MAS has decided to return to the styles of the dictatorship. A shame because Bolivia does not need dictators, it needs freedom and solutions.”

Translation: The political persecution has begun. The MAS has decided to return to the styles of the dictatorship. A shame because Bolivia does not need dictators, it needs freedom and solutions. 

Leftist Morales still plays a leading role in the MAS. He has said he was overthrown in a coup.

Bolivian prosecutors are also seeking to arrest two former commanders accused by the current government of involvement in the purported coup against Morales, when protests against him led to his resignation.

A prosecutor issued arrest warrants on Thursday for former police chief Yuri Calderon and former Armed Forces commander Williams Kaliman over allegations of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.

Morales angered many when he ran for an unprecedented fourth term, defying term limits. The election, which he won, was dogged by allegations of fraud, including from the Organization of American States (OAS).

Amid fierce protests, the military publicly called on Morales to step down and he eventually resigned, fleeing to Mexico and then Argentina.

“It was not a coup, it was constitutional succession due to electoral fraud,” Anez wrote on Twitter earlier on Friday.

Translation: It is the “socialist” tradition, they lie without blushing, they rewrite stories to justify abuses. It was not a coup, it was a constitutional succession due to electoral fraud. Those who did not dare to receive a troubled country resigned after the main person in charge fled!

Anez’s 11-month caretaker administration detained some members of Morales’ previous government.

The decision to arrest Kaliman and Calderon was denounced by the independent Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia, a group that originally emerged to confront military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s.

Both allies and foes of Morales allege they were victims of deadly persecution either before or after his departure from office.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch warned that a presidential decree Congress passed in February paves the way for ruling governments to crack down on rivals and former governments with impunity.

“There is strong evidence indicating the previous government persecuted MAS supporters in politically motivated cases,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “But granting a blanket amnesty to MAS supporters without clear criteria undermines victims’ access to justice and violates the fundamental principle of equality before the law,” he said.

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales waves to supporters during a meeting with people from Bolivian social movements after his arrival in La Paz, Bolivia, December 3, 2020 [Manuel Claure/Reuters]

Kaliman and Calderon had said that only Morales resignation could pacify the polarised nation. Kaliman, who had been appointed by Morales, was replaced shortly after the leftist departed.

Also under investigation is Luis Fernando Camacho, governor-elect of Santa Cruz province, who was a key backer of the effort to remove Morales. Official efforts to question Camacho on Thursday were suspended when a massive array of his followers appeared at the court.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies