Thursday, July 30, 2020

Government Violence in Bolivia

Andrew Pagliarini writes in The New Republic about the political crisis in Bolivia. He links to the new report by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the University Network for Human Rights, which is really disturbing. The title is They Shot Us Like Animals so you immediately get the drift.

According to witnesses, government repression since November 2019 has extended beyond killing protestors to quell criticism. The government has harassed, arbitrarily arrested, and tortured people that it perceives to be outspoken against the Áñez administration. Many Bolivians have found themselves facing charges or detention for vaguely defined crimes such as sedition, while others have been attacked in the streets by security forces and para-state actors. Certain visible groups are particularly susceptible to this persecution, including journalists, human rights defenders, and politicians. The result of this repression has been a pervasive climate of fear in many communities. 

Pagliarini frames the postponement of the presidential election in terms of lithium. Like so many other times in Latin America, political crisis and U.S. interests centers on a primary good deemed to be essential. And we're all using lithium.

Añez will hold on as long as she can, so international pressure is essential. Sadly, this will definitely not come from the Trump administration, which rushed to give the new government aid. As usual there is no unified stance among Latin American countries or any regional leadership on it.


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