Things That Matter

One Bolivian Official Wants To Jail Evo Morales For The Rest Of His Life But His Supporters Vow To Fight Back

As protests and marches continue to plague Bolivia each and every day, one government minister isn’t afraid to add fuel to the fire. The government’s interior minister has vowed to throw former President Evo Morales in jail on terrorism charges.

The country’s Interior Minister has promised to send Morales to jail for the rest of his life for actions he says amount to terrorism.

A top Bolivian official (the new right-wing Interior Minister) has vowed to jail the former president Evo Morales for the rest of his life, accusing the exiled former President of inciting anti-government protests that he claimed amounted to terrorism.

In an interview with the Guardian, Arturo Murillo claimed Morales had been orchestrating efforts to “strangle” Bolivian cities by ordering followers to erect roadblocks that would starve its residents of fuel and food. Murillo claimed that an audio recording – which supposedly shows Morales giving such instructions – was definitive proof of the alleged crime and said he was “200%” certain it was genuine.

“This is terrorism and this is sedition,” he said. “We have asked for the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.”

Murillo added: “Any terrorist should spend the rest of their life in prison – any terrorist – Evo Morales or whoever. It’s not about whether you’re an ex-president or white or black or a campesino … In fact, it’s even worse when it’s an ex-president. An ex-president should be sentenced twice over because people trust in their president.”

Experts worry about the sensationalist claims and the damage being done to Bolivian democracy.

Experts on Bolivian politics describe Murillo’s claim as a worrying publicity stunt that illustrates how the right-wing interim government is taking increasingly extreme measures to crack down on Morales and his party, MAS, in the wake of his controversy-shrouded resignation two weeks ago.

“What those charges are designed to do is keep Morales out of the country and cast his potential candidacy — in these elections or any future elections should he decide to come back — into doubt in the minds of a lot of Bolivian voters,” Calla Hummel, a political scientist at the University of Miami, told Vox.

Analysts say that Morales could try to return to power, despite the fact that his own party has demonstrated interest in carrying on without him.

For his part, Morales completely denies the allegations and vows to return to Bolivia.

Credit: Sierra / Getty

But Mr Morales has rejected the accusations and claims they are merely a ploy to stop him returning to his country, although he apparently didn’t rule out the audio being genuine.

According to The Guardian, he said: “I talk to everyone who calls me. Sometimes I don’t know them. Sometimes they seek guidance.”

The left-wing politician was forced to flee his country to Mexico after the army urged him to quit. Violent protests crippled parts of the country since his resignation which Mr Morales claims is a military coup.

However, doing so will prove difficult since Bolivia’s interim president has annulled the results from the last election and legally banned Morales from running in the next.

On Sunday, Bolivian interim president Jeanine Áñez signed a law that annulled the results of Morales’s election and prevents him from running in the next one, which should be held within the next few months. The law received unanimous support in Congress — meaning that MAS backed the idea of moving ahead to the next election without Morales as a candidate. Yet experts say Morales still commands huge support in Bolivia, particularly among poor, rural Bolivians, and it is within the realm of possibility that he could try to stage a comeback.

Two days after Morales resigned, Jeanine Áñez swore herself into power as interim president without the requisite presence of the legislative branch, which is still controlled by MAS. And instead of acting in a nonpartisan manner — her only political mandate is to hold new elections swiftly after Morales’s resignation — she has pursued an aggressive right-wing agenda. 

During her swearing in, she said, “The Bible has returned to the government palace.” The move was a pointed attack on Morales, since the constitution he passed in 2009 placed Christianity on equal footing with indigenous spiritual traditions. 

Áñez quickly set up a transition cabinet with almost no indigenous people, but full of business elites who oppose Morales. This was striking because Morales was the first indigenous president of Bolivia, and the country’s majority-indigenous population was considered his core base.

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

Things That Matter

At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Things That Matter

Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Months of investigations on Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani officially came to a head Wednesday morning.

The former New York City mayor’s dealings with Ukraine officials in 2019 have been under scrutiny for months by authorities who have been investigating allegations Giuliani lobbied for powerful Ukrainian interests. The investigations have also looked into claims that Giuliani also solicited the Ukrainian government for damaging information on President Joe Biden when he was running against Trump in the 2020 election.

There is also the matter of allegations that Giuliani attempted to find information on Biden’s son Hunter, who was part of the board of an energy company in Ukraine.

Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home on Wednesday morning.

The search was part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani‘s activities with Ukraine. According to The New York Times, “Prosecutors obtained the search warrants as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws as President Trump’s personal lawyer.”

Federal agents seized cellphones and other electronic devices as part of the investigation. The search warrant took place around 6 a.m. at Mr. Giuliani’s apartment on Madison Avenue and his Park Avenue office in Manhattan.

The execution of a search warrant against the former president’s lawyer is particularly shocking.

The warrant comes as a major development in the investigation that has been ongoing for some time and examines the former- mayor’s conduct during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“It was also a remarkable moment in Mr. Giuliani’s long arc as a public figure,” noted New York Times. “As mayor, Mr. Giuliani won national recognition for steering New York through the dark days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and earlier in his career, he led the same U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that is investigating him now, earning a reputation as a hard-charging prosecutor who took on organized crime and corrupt politicians.”

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