The US State Department has issued a report according to which the human rights of former de facto President of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez have been violated. In an interview with Sputnik, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Bolivia, Freddy Mamani, responded to such accusations.
The US Department of State has published a human rights report focusing on several countries around the world. In the case of Bolivia, the report considers that former de facto President Jeanine Áñez has been unjustly imprisoned, due to pressures from the Luis Arce administration exerted on the judicial system and which, according to the document, is willing to receive bribes in exchange for favors.
The response from the Arce government has been immediate. In addition to underlining the interference of the United States in the internal politics of Bolivia, it has stressed that the US is “in no moral position” to speak of human rights in other countries, given its long history of intervention in countries the governments of which have not obeyed their mandates.
In an interview with Sputnik, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Bolivia, Freddy Mamani, stated that, with this report, the US government “has once again interfered in the internal affairs of Bolivia. Out of respect for our sovereignty and self-determination, we will not allow any sort of interference.”
Mamani met the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Bolivia, Jarahn Hillsman, to whom he conveyed that “the State Department report goes against all norms of international law, dictating what other countries should and should not do.”
For the Bolivian government, the US human rights report lacks validity. “We are respectful of official reports from multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations, or the Inter-American Human Rights System,” said Mamani. But, “we have categorically rejected this [State Department] report.”
As for the US Chargé d’Affaires in La Paz, Mamani said that “he has agreed to communicate Bolivia’s position to the State Department.”
An unbalanced report
Mamani stated that the US State Department report is biased since “it does not include any information that international human rights organizations have reported” regarding the crimes that Áñez committed (2019-2020) before and after her self-proclamation as president of Bolivia, after the overthrow of Evo Morales (2006-2019).
“That report contains several contradictions and shows a double standard when it comes to Áñez’s detention,” said Mamani. For this reason, the report constitutes “an interference incompatible with the norms of international law regarding the sovereignty and self-determination of nations.”
“This report manipulates data in order to present a narrative that contradicts the reports recognized by the international community,” added Mamani. This is in reference to a report presented by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), formed by an agreement between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Áñez government, in December 2019.
What the State Department report says
According to the US State Department report, there is no reason to prosecute Áñez, not even for the 38 people murdered by the Police and Armed Forces, which responded to the Decree 4078 signed by Áñez herself, who was the de facto president then. By the force of this decree, the security forces were allowed to open fire on civilians without being held accountable for it.
“The authorities did not provide any evidence to support the charges, apart from the fact that Áñez and members of her cabinet led the transitional government from October 2019 to November 2020,” claimed the report.
Another section of the report claims that it is not feasible to bring Áñez to trial, since the judicial officials in charge now are “vulnerable to bribery and corruption as reported by credible observers, including legal experts.”
The report also states that officials of the Arce government “have observed judicial orders, but on several occasions they have pressured judges to change their verdicts. On several occasions, judges and prosecutors practiced self-censorship when passing sentences in order to avoid being subjected to verbal and legal harassment by the government.”
Áñez was arrested on March 13, 2021 and the trial named Coup d’etat II is taking place now. The trial is investigating the conditions by which she illegally assumed the presidency. Áñez is currently held in the Miraflores Prison in La Paz.
In the coming months, the Coup d’Etat I trial should begin. This trial will weigh the crimes committed by the de facto government after it took office, and it includes the investigation of the Sacaba and Senkata massacres.
Accordint to the US State Department report, it is irregular that the minister of the government and the chief of police both coordinated Áñez’s arrest. “Both the Chief of Police, Jhonny Aguilera, and the Minister of Government, Eduardo del Castillo, flew to Trinidad, Bolivia, where Áñez lived, to supervise her arrest,” the report stated. “The presence of these high officials,” it went on, “highly irregular for an arrest operation, was an indicator that the government at its highest level was directing the operation against Áñez and others, exerting tremendous pressure on judges who already lacked any real independence.”
Mamani noted that the State Department report “says nothing about the breakdown of the constitutional order in 2019, nor about the decree that authorized the Armed Forces to use lethal force against mobilizations. It does not mention anything at all about the levels of corruption or of serious human rights violations, nor of arbitrary detentions,” which were all included in the final report of the GIEI.
An invalid report
For Deputy Minister Mamani the State Department report “does not have any international legal validity, and it neither does for Bolivia. But the report obviously ramps up the charges made by opposition politicians, as well as by conservative groups in our country.”
Mamani observed that a report of this type is typical “of capitalist imperialist nations which have identified countries that are not favorable to their foreign policy. This is why they use this type of mechanisms.”
Relationships between the US and Bolivia has been strained since 2008, when, after an attempted coup, the then President Morales expelled US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, accused of supporting the opposition.
Since then, both countries have tried to mend relations of mutual respect, as Bolivian authorities have clarified. But reports such as this imply a setback.
“We believe that we must continue to use diplomatic channels and build mutual trust,” said Mamani. “But these types of reports weaken the mechanisms built to date. We believe that countries must proceed within a norm of respect for sovereignty, self-determination and non-interference in internal affairs,” as established in the United Nations Charter.
US—the least suitable judge
Former President Morales has said that the US “has no moral authority” to judge the human rights situation in other countries when, on several occasions, the US has subjugated other peoples, generally for commercial interests.
“Here it is important to mention that the United States has only ratified five international human rights mechanisms, of the 18 that exist,” Mamani pointed out. “Bolivia has ratified almost all such mechanisms, treaties and conventions on the matter.”
“So, how can a country that does not ratify such conventions judge other countries?” he asked. “There is then a double standard in foreign policy: they want to tell us what to do and not do in matters of human rights, democracy and the fight against drug trafficking.”
“The invasions and the wars that the US has waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and what our Palestinian brothers and sisters are suffering—there is no morality on the part of the US government to refer to human rights issues,” Mamani asserted.
Featured image: Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Bolivia, Freddy Mamani. Photo: Twitter/@cadenaagramonte
(Sputnik) by Sebastián Ochoa
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
- orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/February 22, 2024
- orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/February 22, 2024