Latin America

Bolivian Court Issues Warrants for Arrest of Former Interim President Jeanine Añez, Other Ministers

Last week, Jeanine Añez, the former self-proclaimed interim president of Bolivia, refused a summons to meet with the state prosecutor in her home province of Beni, paving the way for her arrest for giving security forces a “license to kill” protesters who challenged her interim government’s rule in 2019 and 2020.

A Bolivian court has issued arrest warrants for Jeanine Añez, the former interim president who seized power in a coup d’etat in late 2019, alongside several of her senior ministers, warning they are a “flight risk.”

According to the court filing shared by Bolivian news outlet Kawsachun News, Añez and nine other senior officials from her administration are charged with terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.

In response to the arrest warrants being issued, Añez took to Twitter on Friday to beg for support.

​”The political persecution has begun,” she wrote. “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.”

Rise and Fall of the House of Añez

Añez left office in early November when Luis Arce from the Movement for Socialism (MAS) took office, having won in a landslide election on October 18. The vote was repeatedly postponed, sparking protests and fueling fears of a turn even further from democracy.

A former senator from the lowland Beni region in northeastern Bolivia, Añez rose to power in the chaos of November 2019, when a coordinated campaign by domestic and international forces attempted to void the re-election of MAS leader and then-President Evo Morales the previous month. After right-wing militias and sympathetic police forces locked out MAS lawmakers and Añez found herself the head of a rump parliament, she declared herself the interim president on November 12.

US media and the US government both provided support to the anti-MAS forces in the country, with then-US President Donald Trump and allies like Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro quickly extending recognition to Añez’s declared interim government. However, after months of claiming Morales had stolen the vote, US papers like the Washington Post were forced to admit that the Organization of American States report underpinning those claims was “deeply flawed.”

“There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find – the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’s margin all appear legitimate,” the Post wrote in February 2020, after months of street violence between Añez’s police and military forces and the indigenous-led protests against them had solidified her rule.

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