Bolivian officials accuse Evo Morales of terrorism, sedition

Bolivia's former president Evo Morales. File

Bolivia's former president Evo Morales. File   | Photo Credit: Getty Images


Mr. Morales resigned on Nov. 10, after the military suggested he do so. He alleges he is victim of a coup de’tat. Thirty-two people have been killed in protests and unrest.

Bolivia’s interim government accused ousted President Evo Morales of terrorism and sedition on Friday for purportedly organizing highway blockades intended to prevent food from reaching some cities.

Acting Interior Minister Arturo Murillo said the complaint relates to a video in which Mr. Morales is supposedly heard in a phone call coordinating the blockades from Mexico, where he is living in exile since being ousted in a dispute over the Oct. 20 presidential election. Mr. Murillo said Bolivia’s government is seeking a maximum penalty, which is between 15 and 20 years in prison.

Mr. Morales has said the video is a “montage” by his opponents.

Bolivia has been in upheaval since Mr. Morales proclaimed himself the winner despite widespread protests over allegations of electoral fraud.

Mr. Morales resigned on Nov. 10, after the military suggested he do so. He alleges he is victim of a coup d’ştat. Thirty-two people have been killed in protests and unrest.

The interim government also accused a former minister, Juan Ramūn Quintana, of the same offences.

Juan Lanchipa, Bolivia’s attorney general, confirmed that an investigation into the ex-president and the recording has been launched.

"This audio will be verified in Argentina, and we’re also asking the telecom company to confirm where the call comes from,” he said.

The blockades in Bolivia have hindered the free flow of goods throughout the country, in particular La Paz, where the government is located.

Late Friday, politicians both for and against Mr. Morales reached an agreement to send to congress a bill to convoke a new presidential election.

Sen. Oscar Ortiz from the interim government of Jeanine ĭũez said the agreement would annul the Oct. 20 election. The bill will be introduced to the senate Saturday morning and if approved there, it will be sent to the chamber of deputies.

Earlier, members of Mr. Morales’ party and the opposition had said they were near an agreement.

"We have advanced 95% on the agreement and we are really trying to progress as quickly as possible with all the political forces to call elections,” Omar Aguilar, a senator with Mr. Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), told the Associated Press.

Opposition Sen. Shirley Franco said neither Mr. Morales nor his vice president, ĭlvaro Garcţa Linera, will be allowed to run. The exclusion is meant to honor the results of a 2016 referendum that rejected Mr. Morales’ bid to change the constitution so he could seek a fourth term.

Efraţn Chambi, who is a member of MAS, said that “the constitution should be followed.”

At protests organized by Mr. Morales’ supporters, people are no longer calling for his return. Instead, they are demanding ĭũez resign over the killings and the use of the military to repress protests.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 7:18:00 PM |

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