Bolivia Warns of Potential US Interference in Its Affairs
United States criticizes violence in Bolivia following the arrest of opposition governor
Bolivia declared this Thursday that the pronouncement of a senior United States government official on the violence in the country, after the arrest of an opposition governor, “could be understood” as a “transgression” of the principle of “non interference” between the two countries. Vice Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani Machaca stated that the pronouncement of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A. Nichols, “is not common” and that “it could be understood as a transgression of the principles of mutual respect and non-interference”.
Nichols expressed his concern about the “reports of violence in Bolivia” since December 28, the day when the opposition leader and governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, was arrested on accusations of terrorism in the case called “coup d’état I” related to the political crisis of 2019.
Police activated a controversial operation to transfer Camacho from eastern Santa Cruz to La Paz, where a judge ordered four months of preventive detention in a maximum security prison 35 kilometers from the city. During these events, protests in support of Camacho were set off, leading to violent clashes with the Police that caused considerable damage to various public institutions and dozens of detainees.
The Bolivian vice chancellor considered that Nichols’ words “express the international concern that arose from the acts of violence carried out by shock groups related to the Santa Cruz Civic Committee”, an organization that has led the demonstrations seeking the freedom of Camacho.
Mamani Machaca accused the civic institution of promoting the burning of the Santa Cruz Departmental Prosecutor’s Office, the largest Bolivian region, and of causing damage to the home of a minister. However, the civic leaders asserted that these damages were “self-attacks” caused by groups related to the Government of President Luis Arce.
The “coup d’état I” case involves a complaint filed by a former deputy of the ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) at the end of 2020 for the protests that led, a year earlier, to the resignation of former President Evo Morales.
In conclusion, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs triggered the international concern about the acts of violence taking place in Bolivia after the arrest of the opposition governor Luis Fernando Camacho. The Bolivian vice chancellor compared it to a transgression of the principles of mutual respect and non-interference between US and Bolivia.