Jeanine Añez, former interim president of Bolivia, was arrested at dawn on Saturday (13), for conspiracy, sedition and terrorism in the days following the resignation of Evo Morales in November 2019.
Bolivian television showed Añez arriving at El Alto airport, on the outskirts of La Paz, with several police officers and government minister Carlos Eduardo del Castillo.
The minister announced Añez’s arrest on social media and praised the police for their “excellent job in this historic task of bringing justice to the Bolivian people”.
Añez, 53, said his arrest was illegal and an act of political persecution, and that the government “accuses him of participating in a coup that has never occurred”.
The arrest was ordered by the court on Friday (12). Arrest warrants were also issued against five ministers of the former Bolivian leader, including Arturo Murillo, accused of being at the origin of the crackdown on activists of the MAS (Movement for Socialism) party in the demonstrations carried out in then, and Williams Kaliman, former commanding officer. from the armed forces who pressured Evo to resign.
The complaint was lodged by a bloc of MPs and former MAS MPs, captioned by Evo and the country’s current president, Luis Arce. In the process, justice accuses the government of Añez of having caused more than 30 deaths in the repression of the demonstrations due to the departure of the indigenous leader.
The penalties for the crimes described, if confirmed, range from 5 to 20 years in prison. The ordinance also concerns former ministers Luis Fernando López (Defense), Yerko Núñez (Presidency), Álvaro Coimbra (Justice) and Rodrígo Guzmán (Energy).
Coimbra and Guzmán were arrested. According to Interpol-Bolivia, the other two former ministers left the country last November and are in the United States.
Evo, who has presided over Bolivia since 2006, ran for a fourth term in 2019, but there were allegations of electoral fraud. Under pressure from the armed forces and popular movements, whose demonstrations left dead and injured in the country, he resigned on November 10, 2019. Today, he lives as a refugee in Buenos Aires.
Two days after resigning, Añez, 52, came to power in a controversial legislative maneuver, taking advantage of a loophole in Bolivian law, as all those in the line of direct succession resigned as a result of the ‘ex-president.
Without having reached a quorum in either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, she justified that she would assume the presidency in accordance with the provisions of the Senate regulations on succession to the Chamber.
According to the regulations, taking into account the resignation of the president and the first vice-president of the Senate, the statutes allowed him, the second vice-president, to assume the command.
Throughout his 11-month tenure, Añez faced stiff opposition from Evo’s party, which included acts of violence and state-suppressed roadblocks.
She has also been criticized for mismanaging the health crisis and there have also been cases of corruption, such as the overpriced purchase of respirators, a case which led to the arrest of the former health minister. .
Less than a month after the October elections, she withdrew her candidacy, calling for “unity” against Evo’s party.
Last weekend, during the regional elections, the MAS lost conflicts in important places, like the department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. There, right-wing governor Luis Fernando Camacho was elected governor, a figure who was instrumental in the departure of Evo – the action is also against Camacho, although the prosecutor in charge of the case, Omar Alcides Mejillones, did not order his arrest.
MAS dissident Eva Copa, who headed the Senate during Añez’s tenure, won the post of mayor of El Alto, an important stronghold of the former president. La Paz, on the other hand, stayed with Iván Arias, a former minister of the last government. Overall, however, MAS came out victorious, having triumphed in 5 of the country’s 9 departments.