Former directors denounce the harassment of the BCB in order to silence their economic opinions

Former directors of the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB), Róger Banegas and José Gabriel Espinoza, condemned the systematic harassment of this institution through legal proceedings, when the prosecutor requested information from the media giving opinions on the country’s economic policies.

Banegas and Espinoza are economic analysts and in this state appear regularly in the media to make observations related to the Bolivian economy. Due to this fact, however, the BCB has made requirements through the public prosecutor’s office.

Banegas said the former directors of the BCB have been involved in a number of processes and never-ending processes for some time during the transitional administration. “We have suffered a number of harassments in these trials,” he said.

He said, “This harassment may have originated there. Regarding the statement, there is a request made by the BCB as a former director so that certain opinions published in some media can be certified, ”he said in statements to Radio Compañera.

He doesn’t know what he is intending to do when making such demands on the opinions he makes in the media. “Not what you want, I don’t know if freedom of expression bothers you (…). I don’t know what the main reasons for this harassment are, ”he insisted.

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For his part, Espinoza pointed out that in his case a media company had requested data on his 16 August declarations regarding the allocation of SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) that Bolivia had received. “That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, because a number of requirements that went beyond the norm had previously been made in the criminal proceedings initiated against other ex-authorities,” he said.

For example, he stated that financial movements were required by the Financial Investigations Unit (UIF), tax history requirements, property and real estate records, and migration movements. There were a number of requirements that went beyond the process we started with, ”said Espinoza.

Both are investigated in the criminal complaint by the Central Bank of Bolivia because of the creditworthiness of the International Monetary Fund during the transitional government of Jeanine Áñez. And then the government decided to return those economic resources. The former directors and the former president of the BCB are identified; the then Minister of Economy José Luis Parada and the Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Loans Carlos Schlink.

Espinoza stated that the other parallel process is the requirement of an assessment of responsibilities against former President Jeanine Áñez; the former Minister of the Economy José Luis Parada and the former President of the BCB, Guillermo Aponte. In addition to other administrative procedures for an appointment which, although legal, the company finds to be unlawful.

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Banegas stated that the complaints stem from double judgments in an attempt to hold directors responsible for administrative operations in which they were not involved.

Espinoza regretted that an eminently technical body like the BCB, which should focus on issues of economic and financial interest, is focusing on other issues that “have gone beyond the technical and are taking on a more political tinge. That worries and attracts attention, ”he said.

However, none of the analysts intend to restrict the exercise of their right to freedom of expression. “A basic principle is freedom of expression, no judgment, when we pass judgments and an idea is processed, it is a goal to silence us. It’s not negotiable, ”said Banegas.

Espinoza said that he will continue to provide comments and opinions, always based on data and information, as it is part of his technical role. Because freedom of expression is also one of the most important human rights. He called for a respectful and democratic debate and dialogue.

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