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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Ex-President sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in Bolivia

Do you know the capital of Bolivia ?  - no, it is not La Paz!  The picture of this person would for sure makes heads turn ! – not only by her looks, by what she was too – she was featured in the cover of Forbes magazine !

Perhaps tinseldom and Politics are places where people rise meteorically, disproportionate to their skills or efforts – and sometimes could fall from the sky too.

Before reading further – one may remember reading about Bolivia and the revolution there in 1950s – during those days, the  important leader of the MNR, Víctor Paz Estenssoro, was president of Bolivia in 1952–56 and instituted the revolutionary part of the party’s program. In 1956 he was replaced by the more conservative Hernando (Hernán) Siles Zuazo, whose primary concern was to stop inflation, which had completed the revolutionary process by virtually destroying the older middle-class supporters of the MNR. Siles initiated an economic program, with massive financial support from the United States, that brought inflation under control; at the same time, he also suspended most of the advanced social programs of the revolution. The government ended worker co-administration of the nationalized mine companies and cut back on social services. It also invited North American petroleum companies back into Bolivia for the first time since 1937, when Standard Oil of Bolivia had been confiscated by the Toro government.

Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the Chuquisaca Department and the 6th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2,810 meters (9,214 feet). This relatively high altitude gives the city a subtropical highland climate with cool temperatures year-round. Its pre-Columbian name was Chuquisaca; during the Spanish Empire it was called La Plata. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the city of Chuquisaca had its own autonomy with respect to the Inca Empire.  La Paz   officially known as Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace), and also Chuqi Yapu in Aymara, is the seat of government as well as the legislative and executive capital of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.   La Paz is the third-most populous city in Bolivia.  

Bolivia, is  located in western-central South America. The seat of government and executive capital is La Paz, while the constitutional capital is Sucre.  The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments. Its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon basin. It is bordered by Brazil,   Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru.   It is one of the  landlocked countries in the Americas.


It is all about the rise and fall of - Jeanine Arez.  Having secured the presidency, Áñez, together with other opposition legislators and civic leaders, including Camacho and Marco Pumari, made their way to the Palacio Quemado, the president's former residence prior to the construction of the Casa Grande del Pueblo in 2018. Greeting a crowd of supporters, Áñez emerged onto the balcony dressed in the traditional presidential regalia, including the sash and historic presidential medal. Flanked by her two children on either side, as well as senators and civic leaders, she delivered a short speech pledging to "restore democracy to the country": "I am going to work this short time because Bolivians deserve to live in freedom, they deserve to live in democracy, and never again will their vote be stolen", she said. Notably, Áñez, a Catholic, also brandished a small pink Bible, declaring that "God has allowed the Bible to enter the Palace again". Before Morales' presidency, and until 2009, Bolivia was not a secular state, and the former president's relationship with the Church was controversial. At age fifty-two, Áñez was Bolivia's sixty-sixth president and is the second woman to have ever held the post, after Lidia Gueiler, who herself was a transitional president between 1979 and 1980.

It is not about any governance but crime !  -  a  Bolivian court has sentenced former Bolivian President Jeanine Arez to 10 years in prison for an alleged plot to topple her rival Evo Morales in 2019.   

Jeanine Áñez Chávez   is a Bolivian lawyer, politician, and television presenter who served as the 66th president of Bolivia from 2019 to 2020. A former member of the Social Democratic Movement, she previously served two terms as senator for Beni from 2015 to 2019 on behalf of the Democratic Unity coalition and from 2010 to 2014 on behalf of the National Convergence alliance. During this time, she served as second vice president of the Senate from 2015 to 2016 and in 2019 and, briefly, was president of the Senate, also in 2019.  Born in San Joaquín, Beni, Áñez graduated as a lawyer from the José Ballivián Autonomous University before working in the field of television journalism.   

In the midst of this political crisis, and after the resignation of President Evo Morales and other officials in the line of succession, Áñez declared herself next in line to assume the presidency. On 12 November 2019, she installed an extraordinary session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly that lacked quorum due to the absence of members of Morales's party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), who demanded security guarantees before attending. In a short session, Áñez declared herself president of the Senate, then used that position as a basis to assume constitutional succession to the presidency of the country. Her transitional government focused on pacifying the country, calling for new elections, and, later, combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to domestic unrest, Áñez issued a decree removing criminal liability for military and police in dealing with protesters, which was repealed amid widespread condemnation following the Senkata and Sacaba massacres. Her government launched numerous criminal investigations into former MAS officials, for which it was accused of political persecution and retributive justice, terminated Bolivia's close links with the socialist governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and warmed relations with the United States.  

Following the end of her mandate in November 2020, Áñez briefly retired to her residence in Trinidad, only to launch her Beni gubernatorial candidacy a month later. Despite being initially competitive, mounting judicial processes surrounding her time as president hampered her campaign, ultimately resulting in a third-place finish at the polls. Eight days after the election, Áñez was apprehended and placed in preventive detention on charges related to her role in the alleged coup d'état carried out in 2019; a move decried as political persecution by members of the opposition. Áñez's extended incarceration at the Miraflores Women's Penitentiary caused a marked decline in her physical and mental health, and was denounced as abusive by her family. On 10 June 2022, after nearly fifteen months in pre-trial detention, the First Sentencing Court of La Paz found Áñez guilty of breach of duties and resolutions contrary to the Constitution, sentencing her to ten years in prison.

So now the woman stands convicted of  crimes "contrary to the constitution and a dereliction of duties." and also  sentenced to 10 years were former Chief of General Staff Williams Kaliman and ex-police chief Yuri Calderon.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2022. 

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