Luis Fernando Camacho, a prominent Bolivian opposition leader, was detained by Bolivian police for “terrorism” charges. This escalating tension between Camacho and the Santa Cruz base of the National Government has significantly escalated.
The detention of Camacho (43 years old), a right-wing lawyer and civic leader, was confirmed by Bolivia’s State Attorney’s Office. Camacho is currently governor of Santa Cruz, an affluent agricultural hub.
According to the office, the arrest was linked to Evo Morales’s assassination in 2019. Camacho was accused of terrorist acts in October, but the office did not provide any further details.
Camacho’s communication team published a statement from the Le Paz Prosecutor’s Office in which he claimed that the charges against him were not true and credible.
According to his statement posted by his team on Twitter, he claimed he had been “brutally abducted” by police. He also stated that he was proud of the work he did in fighting for democracy and freedom in Bolivia.
Evo Morales stated on Twitter that he hopes Camacho’s arrest will bring justice after three long years.
After three years of trying, Luis Fernando Camacho finally will be held responsible for the coup de etat which led to the robberies and persecution of the de facto government. He said that he hoped the decision would be held firm with the determination required by the cry of the people for justice.
Camacho was moved from Santa Cruz to La Paz to become a Police Station in La Paz. He is now the second prominent political figure to have been detained due to Morales’ ouster. Jeanine Anez, an ex-president found guilty in a coup orchestrated by the government, was sentenced to prison last year.
Israel Quino, a Constitutional Lawyer, stated to state TV that Camacho might face between 15 and 20 years of imprisonment if convicted.
Camacho led the unrest that erupted in Santa Cruz over a week in which demonstrators blocked roads and stopped trade because of delays in completing a census. This would have likely allowed Santa Cruz to secure more tax revenue and more seats in Congress.
After Camacho was arrested, there were road blockades in Santa Cruz. The prosecutor’s office was quickly set on fire, and demonstrators gathered, waving green-white and green flags and firing firecrackers.
Video footage shows tear gas being used by security forces. Protesters in El Alto also protested against Camacho, demanding that justice is done.
Camacho is being held at a time of tension in the region. It also happens to be the month when former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has been ousted and taken into pre-trial custody for trying to dissolve Congress illegally, prompting violent protests.
Camacho’s aides, such as lawmakers Paola Agurirre and Erwin Bazan said that firearms were used during the arrest. Other people, such as former President Carlos Mesa called it a “kidnapping.”
According to the state attorney, the accusations that the arrest resulted in a kidnapping and political persecution were rejected by the office.
The spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that they were monitoring developments.
We urge Bolivia to stop using excessive force against the opposition, including those elected democratically or their supporters. The spokesperson also urged the authorities not to use excessive force against the opposition, including those elected democratically and their supporters,” she said.
The spokesperson of the United Nations stated that although it didn’t know all the details, “people around the world should be allowed the freedom to voice their opinions and peacefully protest.”
The spokesperson stated, “Furthermore we stand against arbitrarily arrested.”
Carlos Eduardo Del Castillo, Interior Minister, stated on Twitter that Camacho was instructed to have a medical evaluation and declared his health “stable”, rejecting any claims of injury.