In an interview with Los Tiempos, the former President of Bolivia, Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé, shed light on the political situation in the country, spoke about the horizon of changes in the judiciary and expressed his concern about the polarization between “coup and fraud”.
– As far as I know, you are no longer a member of the advisory commission that tried to reshape the judiciary. Do you have any information on whether this commission has made progress?
—I have no information on whether the Commission is still in existence or whether it has made any progress on any issue.
– What urgent measures should be taken to transform the judiciary?
—The first and most urgent is the implementation of an updated, complete, comprehensive and participatory diagnosis of the judicial system. Based on the results, design a roadmap with actions, timelines, and priorities that highlight the importance of achieving the greatest possible consensus to start and complete the process. Without this starting point, initiatives may be inadequate or encounter political differences that affect them. The judiciary has long been sick, its diseases are chronic and infect the coexistence of citizens, so it is important to make a good diagnosis before using any prescriptions.
– The last cases have targeted the public prosecutor’s critics, what are the main problems of this institution and how can they be resolved?
—The most obvious problem of the public ministry is that, as a promoter of public penal measures, it does not always defend the legality or interests of society, and even less with occasional or functional autonomy. This is expressed, for example, in the contradicting actions from the last political crisis and, above all, in the abuse of preventive and selective detention for many years.
Other serious problems are the lack of a state criminal policy setting guidelines and the updating of regulations in criminal matters. The solution requires the attention of those in charge of assessing and reshaping the prosecution, including the renewal of powers, starting with the prosecutor general.
– Do you think the judicial reform needs to go through a reform of the CPE?
“Yes, inevitably.” There are several issues that require evaluation, debate, and ultimately treatment of the ingredients. For example, the lack of coherence between the principle of “legal pluralism” that underpins the new state model, with a more centralized legal organic structure that undermines it; Adjustments in the area of disputed administrative jurisdiction; Lack of a visible and functional head of the judiciary; Clarification of the scope of judicial review of constitutionality; Optionally from officials and judges; Attributions by the Council of the Magistrate, among others.
—The debate between those who speak of “fraud” and “coup” is reaching a level of violence again: How can this polarization be overcome?
—This is a debate reduced to two scenarios, which on its own does not reflect the full extent of the crisis of November 2019 and which cannot be overcome only through criminal proceedings of questionable bias.
If the political actors no longer think self-critically about the causes and effects of the crisis and try to deal more responsibly with state and legislative tasks, the “coup fraud” debate will wear down their administration and the possibility of making the necessary institutional adjustments in order to repeat the Prevent crisis. It also does not help conduct impartial and timely trials of the events in Sacaba and Senkata, where there were victims.
– What mistakes did the MAS make and what did the opposition do to get to this point?
—The 2019 crisis reflected a constitutional collapse of the four organs of power and institutions such as the police, the armed forces and the public ministry. The MAS dominated its composition, but neither its effective strengthening nor its independent and coordinated functioning, so that the ability to maintain democratic order did not converge and a self-appointed and unconstitutional transitional government was installed.
The re-running of Morales and García, upheld by an unlawful TCP judgment calling into question the constitutional spirit and the results of a referendum, was an insurmountable mistake that the IACHR court has just upheld. Nor did the opposition have the lead to effectively counter the MAS during its long tenure. He opted for split candidacies or characters who, along with the MAS candidate himself, reflected the tradition of keeping presidents or former presidents as recurring candidates, some without an organized party, at the expense of renewal and changing political leaders.
Several opposition leaders advocated Áñez’s transition “ipso facto”, unaware that only the legislative assembly could learn of the resignations and appoint a successor, as provided for in the Constitution, and this has been the case in all similar situations in the past.
Do you see the danger that violence will break out again like in 2019?
—If the debate is reduced to a “fraud coup”, two facts that the criminal justice system cannot explain in its origins or effects; if the media intensifies this controversy; if the processes that have to resolve issues in which there were victims are further delayed; If the unproductive discrepancy persists and it is not noticed that the majority of citizens are not confronted, on the contrary, they prefer to live in peace and in solidarity in the face of the very serious crises we face, the risks of reproductive violence persist.
—What do you think of Luis Arce’s first few months in government?
—The election of the binomial Arce-Choquehuanca restored democratic order and, with the first speeches, opened up expectations that soon disappeared when the tonic of confrontation “coup deception” was adopted, which seems to leave no room for dialogue, consensus of any kind, less on such important issues as health, education or justice. Despite the achievements in economic management and efforts to deal with the pandemic, structural problems and challenges remain in the state, in its institutions, in relations with subnational governments and, in particular, in responding to the population affected by recent crises .
MORE AND DISPOSAL HAS TO CLOSE
For Rodríguez Veltzé, the opposition does not seem to have or be given the leeway to benefit from a more productive legislative administration and consensus with the ruling party in a state based on the principle of political pluralism that is not respected. He also entered the confrontation on the subject of the “fraud coup”, the August 6th session reflecting the degree of decomposition and intolerance of the relationship between the opposites. Officials and opposition, their leaders and cadres must look for approaches and agreements that show the population that their interest in the population, in the state, is greater than their differences.
THERE IS THE JURISDICTION OF ELECTIONS
When asked about electoral fraud, former President Rodríguez Veltzé took the view that the handling of all electoral matters was the primary responsibility of the electoral body. “The criminalized jurisprudence of electoral matters is alien to the Constitution and the constituent spirit that has established this body as responsible for the organization, administration and conduct of the electoral process and the promulgation of its results,” he said.
Without their specialized intervention, ”he said,“ neither the prosecution, the criminal courts, nor the TCP itself can ignore any of the four public authorities represented by the TSE.