2019 coup leader arrested in Bolivia

Three years after the coup d’etat by the Bolivian right which led to the resignation and exile of President Evo Morales, who had been re-elected a few days earlier, it is the turn of the governor of the department of Santa Cruz, Luis Antonio Camacho, to soon have to answer in court. His arrest on December 28, in the city of the same name – the economic capital and stronghold of the Bolivian hard right – gave rise to violent demonstrations by his supporters. The city attorney’s office was attacked and set on fire, and protesters blocked the city’s two airports, halting flights, in an attempt to prevent the governor’s transfer to the capital, La Paz.

Luis Antonio Camacho and his supporters denounced in a press release “an absolutely irregular police operation”, declaring ignorance “where is the governor”, and therefore holding « the government of President Luis Arce responsible for the physical safety and life of the governor ». A speech that tries to pass off his arrest as an arbitrary detention, since Luis Antonio Camacho is detained « at the military air base in El Alto, from where he was taken to the anti-crime facilities in La Paz », according to the newspaper Los Tiempos, yet marked on the right like most Bolivian media.

The country’s attorney general says the governor of Santa Cruz has been arrested “pursuant to an arrest warrant” and « in connection with the coup affair ». An investigation opened following the election of left-wing president Luis Arce, like Evo Morales, from MAS, the Movement towards Socialism. In 2019, the latter’s re-election was contested by the Bolivian right, with Luis Antonio Camacho as the main instigator of the violence. Demonstrations and riots had broken out in several cities and notably in Santa Cruz, and had given rise to scenes of hunts for MAS supporters, sometimes to murders, in particular of Andean natives. The right had brought to power Senator Jeanine Áñez, sentenced to ten years in prison last June for these facts. Former President Evo Morales, who then had to go into exile just like Luis Arce, welcomed the fact that « Finally, after three years, Luis Fernando Camacho will have to answer for his actions for the coup that caused persecutions, arrests and massacres by the de facto government ».


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