fog.png
Friday May 29th, 2020 8:53AM

Bolivian interim leader meets UN envoy amid violence fears

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SACABA, Bolivia (AP) — A U.N. envoy met with Bolivia’s interim president Saturday to find a way out of the country’s political crisis while the world body expressed concern the situation could “spin out of control” amid a rising death toll.

On leaving the meeting with interim leader Jeanine Áñez, envoy Jean Arnault said the United Nations hopes it can contribute to an “accelerated pacification process” leading to new elections following the resignation and exile of Evo Morales.

Meanwhile, another international body, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, condemned Áñez’s government for issuing a decree it says “exempts from criminal responsibility” soldiers who took part in efforts to break up protests and unrest that have left at least 23 people dead.

The norm was approved before the most violent day since the crisis began, when at least eight pro-Morales coca growers were killed when security forces opened fire during a demonstration.

“It is not a license for the Armed Forces to kill," Presidency Minister Jerjes Justiniano told a press conference. He said the decree is based on the Criminal Code, which states that "if one defends oneself in self-defense, there is no penalty.”

Earlier Saturday, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet issued a statement calling the deaths “an extremely dangerous development.”

“I am really concerned that the situation in Bolivia could spin out of control if the authorities do not handle it sensitively and in accordance with international norms,” she said.

Protesters said police fired Friday when demonstrators tried to cross a military checkpoint in Sacaba, a town near Cochabamba. Many of the protesters were coca leaf growers loyal to Morales, who had been Bolivia’s first indigenous president before being pressured to step down by Bolivia’s military chief after weeks of widespread protests over a disputed election.

Witnesses to the clash described seeing the bodies of several protesters and dozens of people rushed to hospitals, many covered in blood. On Saturday, Bolivia’s national Ombudsman’s Office raised the death toll to eight. It said that overall 23 people had been killed in the violence.

Police and soldiers broke up fresh blockades of flaming logs and tractors Saturday on the road linking Sacaba to Cochabamba, but there were no immediate reports of deaths.

Morales, who was granted asylum in Mexico after his Nov. 10 resignation, said on Twitter that a “massacre” had occurred and he described the interim government led by Áñez as a dictatorship.

On Friday, Áñez said Morales would face possible legal charges for election fraud if he returned home from Mexico City. She also has said Morales would not be allowed to participate in a new presidential election, which is supposed to be held within three months.

The ousted leader, meanwhile, contended this week that he is still president since the country’s legislature has not yet approved his resignation.

Morales stepped down following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an Oct. 20 election, which he claimed to have won to gain a fourth term in office. Morales has denied there was fraud, though an Organization of American States audit reported widespread irregularities.

“We’re not going to let them make us flee, nor humiliate us. Let me say to Mrs. Añez that she must denounce this. If not the whole country is going to close in on her,” said Enrique Mamani, a local resident. “They have carried out a state coup, paid off the military, paid off the police. There’s political persecution against our leaders.”

Backers of the interim government deny there was any coup against Morales, saying police and the military withdrew backing from him only to avoid shedding civilian blood during the mass protests against him.

Supporters of Morales, who was Bolivia’s president for almost 14 years and was the last survivor from the “pink tide” of South American leftist leaders, have been staging disruptive protests since his resignation, setting up blockades that forced closure of schools and caused shortages of gasoline in the capital.

Áñez, who had been the highest-ranking opposition official in the Senate, proclaimed herself president after Morales resigned, saying every person in the line of succession ahead of her — all of them Morales backers — had resigned.

The Constitutional Court issued a statement backing her claim that she didn’t need to be confirmed by Congress, a body controlled by Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism party.

Much of the opposition to Morales sprang from his refusal to accept a referendum that upheld term limits that barred him from seeking another term. He got the courts to declare the limits a violation of his human rights to seek office.

___

Associated Press Writers Carlos Valdez and Paola Flores in La Paz contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bolivian interim leader meets UN envoy amid violence fears
Bolivia’s interim president has met with a U.N. envoy to discuss the country’s crisis, a day after security forces fired on supporters of former President Evo Morales in a clash that left eight dead and raised fears the violence could escalate
6:43PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Texas State’s jerseys stolen before game at Oregon
Police say uniforms were stolen from Texas Southern’s women’s basketball team before their game at Oregon
6:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Croatia qualify for Euro 2020
Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Croatia have qualified for the 2020 European Championship
6:38PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Louisiana vote: Democratic gov in nail-biter re-election bid
Louisiana runoff: Gov. John Bel Edwards bidding for reelection in a nail-biter of a contest against GOP businessman Eddie Rispone
4:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump urges Louisianans to flip governor’s office to GOP
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is battling to defy the partisan odds in the ruby red South and win reelection to a seat that President Donald Trump wants returned to Republicans
1:36PM ( 5 hours ago )
Bolivia’s crisis turns dangerous as 8 killed in clash
Officials now say at least eight people died when Bolivian security forces fired on supporters of Evo Morales
12:23PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Ousted Ukraine ambassador has her say in hearing
Ousted U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch had her say Friday about how she was treated by President Donald Trump.
2:02AM ( 16 hours ago )
Bolivia’s growing crisis turns deadly as 5 killed in clash
Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people, injuring dozens and threatening the interim government’s efforts to restore stability
12:12AM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: Barr: Democrats drowning agencies with subpoenas
Barr says congressional Democrats are drowning government agencies with an “avalanche of subpoenas” in order to “incapacitate” the executive branch
10:10PM ( 20 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Prince Andrew denies claims of Epstein accuser in interview
Britain’s Prince Andrew is questioning the authenticity of a photograph of him posing with a woman who says she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein
5:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Last survivor of the Hindenburg disaster dies at age 90
The last remaining survivor of the Hindenburg disaster has died
4:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
Czechs use anniversary of Velvet Revolution to pressure PM
Czechs have gathered on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that brought an end to decades of communist rule in the country to urge Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign
2:06PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
Texas State’s jerseys stolen before game at Oregon
Police say uniforms were stolen from Texas Southern’s women’s basketball team before their game at Oregon
6:40PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Croatia qualify for Euro 2020
Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Croatia have qualified for the 2020 European Championship
6:38PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Reddick wins 2nd consecutive Xfinity Series championship
Tyler Reddick won his second consecutive Xfinity Series championship by snatching the lead away from Cole Custer in a spirited Saturday season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway
6:27PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Kaepernick's throws passes for 40 minutes at strange workout
Colin Kaepernick threw passes for about 40 minutes on a high school field
6:26PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Parents, 3 sons die in apparent murder-suicide in San Diego
Police say a husband and wife and 3 of their young children died Saturday morning at the family’s San Diego home in what authorities believe was a murder-suicide sparked by a bitter divorce
6:24PM ( 25 minutes ago )