One of the conclusions of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) is that the events during the political crisis of 2019 include “state responsibility” for the serious human rights violations committed between September and December 2019, a time when Evo Morales and Jeanine Áñez ran the country.
Between September 1 and December 31, Bolivia and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed an agreement in support of the investigation of the violence, which was signed on December 12, 2019.
The report found that “serious human rights violations were committed” during the 2019 crisis. At least 37 people were killed and hundreds of people suffered significant physical and psychological injuries in different parts of the country in this violent political conflict scenario.
“What happened involves the state’s responsibility for the acts of state agents and individuals under the circumstances considered in the case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The police and the armed forces, individually or in joint operations, have used excessive and disproportionate violence and inadequately preventing acts of violence, leaving citizens vulnerable, ”said Patricia Tappatá, a member of the GIEI.
Sacaba and Senkata
The GIEI found that in Sacaba and Senkata, the military and police response was disproportionate, deliberately leading to the loss of life and serious injury to demonstrators.
Although the Wehrmacht and the police did not allow the use of deadly weapons, the evidence gathered indicates that the gunfire was caused by their troops.
Violence in Vila Vila
In the case of the southern caravans on October 9, 2019, when then President Morales was still in command, the GIEI said it has been confirmed that the clashes in Vila Vila and the attack on the miners’ caravan were the result of a polarization caused by state agents and politicians are stimulated.
The GIEI identified indications that members of the government were involved in the organization and support of the blockades and at least assumed the risks of acts of violence. It is therefore concluded that state officials and authorities have not only fulfilled their duty to prevent and punish human rights violations, but have also acted as accomplices, according to the report.
On November 11, members of the MAS blocking the Potosí-Sucre motorway broke into the house of an opposition candidate and the police station in the town of Betanzos, Potosí. On November 12, UTOP police officers and the military conducted an operation aimed at clearing the highway; however, there was a confrontation between the demonstrators and the security forces, in which Marcelino Jarata Estrada was killed in the head by a gun bullet and an unspecified number of people were injured.
The houses of political opponents were destroyed, looted and burned down. Protest groups against President Morales’ resignation blocked the Yapacaní Bridge
Áñez challenges Evo to investigate
Former President Jeanine Áñez said she was ready to submit to an investigation that was “carried out in accordance with the constitution and due process”.
However, he also asked former President Evo Morales a direct question: “Are you prepared to submit to this investigation under the same conditions and with the same arbitrariness that was imposed on you for those five months and five days on behalf of the Justice Department? Power and executive power? ”.
- The compensation must apply to everyone, without distinction
As part of the recommendations of the report on the country’s political crisis in 2019, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) proposes that the government recognize all victims of violence without making any distinction based on political affiliation.
“Among the recommendations addressed to the state, we say that the state must guarantee the right of all victims and their immediate relatives to truth, to justice and to reparation without undue differences between them according to the principle of universality,” said specialist Patricia Tappatá.
“A process of rebuilding the social fabric cannot be conceived without first abandoning the idea that the victims are those of our political identity, while those who identify with the opponent are less or do not need attention,” said Tappatá.
He said it was necessary to recognize that there were victims on both sides of the political spectrum and that each individual’s situation required recognition of his or her victim status.
The GIEI stated in its report that from a material point of view an amnesty or pardon can negatively affect the establishment of the truth and the promotion of justice, a consideration that the application of the Supreme Decree “the exercise of political influence of the government in the exercise of the functions of the Judicial authority and the public prosecutor’s office ”.
In its conclusions, the GIEI report emphasizes that the work it has carried out does not amount to a criminal investigation. “In this report and below, several recommendations are made about the investigations and prosecutions that the relevant authorities must carry out. In no event should this report be used to persecute any person for political reasons or for any other inappropriate reason.
- Resolution in burning buses
The GIEI report indicates that a group of people entered two PumaKatari maintenance yards in Chasquipampa and Achumani and set 64 buses on fire. They also approached the patio of Villa Salomé with the same objective, but the officers had moved most of the fleet to another facility.
“The consistency of schedules and methods in these incidents indicates that the actions were deliberately planned, planned and carried out by the same organization,” the text reads.
It states that the group went to Chasquipampa at 7:00 p.m. to destroy and burn 34 buses. Then, at 9:00 p.m., another group entered the Achumani courtyard and set another 30 vehicles on fire.
People also gathered in the courtyard of Villa Salomé around 9:30 p.m.
A La Paz Bus official witness interviewed by the GIEI said he saw people entering the premises to damage the buses. The witness said a patrol car and four police officers showed up trying to retake the yard but had to leave because of the crowd.
- Racist violence
One of the conclusions of the GIEI report speaks of racist violence. “In the context of deepening social and political polarization, ethnic identity was used as a criterion for belonging or not belonging to Bolivian society. Political ties have become dangerously racialized and, in transcendent moments in Bolivian life, attempted to be used as a factor of exclusion from institutional spaces. Racist violence against indigenous peoples, including indigenous women who were particularly attacked at the time, must be recognized and those responsible punished.
It continues: “The protest demonstrations and direct blockades on the streets and cities of Bolivia, which escalated and broke out in confrontations and violent attacks, were not unexpected. They were preceded by antagonistic speeches by recognized leaders and political decisions and actions that put into tension the functioning of the participatory mechanisms of democracy and the institutions that must monitor their observance. This behavior has undermined the credibility of the institutions and democracy ”.
- Call for democratic dialogue
The GIEI report concludes that “one of the characteristics of Bolivian society is its dynamism, which is expressed in assemblies, councils and constant street mobilizations for access to sectoral and union rights.”
“At the base of these social movements, which want to influence the state apparatus, there are broader demands for economic and geographical equality, for the expansion of political participation and the recognition of identities that often create conflicts between groups.”
“It is necessary that the energy and diligence of these movements be expressed in a still-to-be-built field of democratic dialogue that combines mechanisms of representative democracy with direct participation in peaceful public deliberations. Promoting the coexistence of different people who choose to live and interact in an intercultural democracy would avoid violent confrontations.
“The right to life and a dignified life are equally available to all inhabitants of Bolivia. In addition to finding peaceful ways to deal with complaints and disagreements, the judiciary plays a role in this necessary arbitration that guarantees equality.