Bolivia’s de facto government does not even try to hide its anti-people, racist and repressive character. The coup power headed by President Jeanine Áñez seems to be emulating Augusto Pinochet with the purposes of spreading the same type terror that accompanied the Chilean military junta and the rest of the military-fascist governments in 20th century Latin America.
Dozens of reports from Bolivia, provided by human rights organizations, activists from the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), diplomatic offices, groups and independent individuals, report the terror sown among the population: the massive use of torture; selective assassinations, which include throwing of people alive from helicopters; death threats; lynchings executed by the now infamous “cívicos”; disappearances; and strict censorship of the media, including the burning of television and radio stations.
Bolivian doctors, especially graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) who worked alongside the Cuban health care workers, activists from MAS and journalists critical of the coup are among the more than one thousand dead or reported missing.
On social media, the Association of ELAM Graduates has denounced the persecution, unjustified dismissals and vicious campaign of discrediting to which they are being subjected.
The police have given orders not to provide medical care to those injured by the government repression, and failure to comply with this order is severely punished. Recently, Mirtha Sanjinez, the administrator of a major hospital, was presented by the police at a press conference as a “collaborator of criminals and terrorists” because, according to the security forces, she failed to comply with the order.
The repressive action against the press has been called, by Áñez’s henchmen, an “operation to dismantle the propaganda apparatus of the dictatorial regime of Evo Morales.”
Telesur, Bolivia TV and RT in Spanish have been shut down, and the journalists who collaborated with them have been arrested. Al-Jazeera correspondent Teresa Bo was shot in the face with tear gas while transmitting a live report.
Disrespect for political asylum
Holding out in the Mexican Embassy in Bolivia is Juan Ramón Quintana, minister of government, and one of President Morales’ closest associates. The Áñez regime issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of sedition and terrorism.
Also there are Javier Zavaleta López, minister of defense for Morales; Héctor Arce Zaconeta, attorney general; Félix César Navarro Miranda, minister of mining; Wilma Alanoca, minister of culture from 2017 to 2019; and Hugo Moldiz, who was minister of government until 2015. Also included are Víctor Hugo Vásquez Mamani, who served as governor of the department of Oruro; Pedro Damián Dorado López, deputy minister of rural development; and Nicolás Laguna, director of the Morales government’s digital agency (Agetic).
Of the nine officials who have been granted asylum, four have arrest warrants against them and five do not, but the de facto authorities have not granted them safe conduct to leave the South American country.
All these ministers of the constitutional government of Morales are accused by the de facto regime of alleged acts of sedition.
The coup regime has exerted unprecedented pressure and harassment on the Mexican Embassy, but if the harassment against the diplomats has been strong, the pressure on asylum seekers and their families has been worse.
Despite what Bolivia is suffering through, MAS is reorganizing and preparing to win again in the next elections.