Bolivia in turmoil after governor’s arrest — RT World News

Rioters set fire to the prosecutor’s office in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital of Bolivia’s largest province, to protest the arrest of Governor Fernando Camacho. The national government in La Paz condemned the violence on Thursday and said the detained politician was alive and well.

The authorities are « respecting [the] constitutional rights and human rights” de Camacho, who was not injured, Bolivian Minister of Justice Eduardo Del Castillo said Thursday.

Camacho was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, apparently on a warrant citing his involvement in the 2019 coup that toppled President Evo Morales. A video making rounds on social media shows heavily armed police surrounding his vehicle and the governor handcuffed to the ground.

The provincial government of Santa Cruz quickly denounced arrest as « Absolutely irregular police operation » claiming that Camacho had been taken to « an unknown place » and that they held President Luis Arce personally responsible for his safety.

« The Governor’s kidnapping operation was carried out in the streets surrounding his home, as he returned from management activities, » said the governor’s office.

Camacho supporters set up roadblocks, fire the provincial prosecutor’s office, and stormed Viru Viru and El Trompillo airports, fanning out on runways and entering several planes to check if the governor was on board.

Santa Cruz is the largest and most populous province in the landlocked South American country. Camacho became its governor in May 2021, after winning just 14% of the vote in the 2020 presidential race. The government suspects him of involvement in the 2019 coup, when opponents of Morales – to wrong – claimed irregularities in the election and forced the longtime president to flee to Mexico.

Camacho’s scheduled testimony in the investigation was delayed by a general strike he organized in November. His main request was that the government of La Paz postpone the census to 2023, so that it could better reflect the population of Santa Cruz and give the province the appropriate funding and representation.

Morales, who returned to Bolivia but no longer holds office, called Camacho a « confessed coup leader » accused him of being responsible for « four dead, 33 days of looting, fires, human rights violations » and « the worst damage to the economy of Santa Cruz and Bolivia », resulting from the strike.

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