Jeanine Áñez, Bolivia’s former interim president, was arrested Saturday, seemingly for her involvement in what the current government believes was a coup in 2019.
Former President Evo Morales, the South American country’s socialist leader who remained in office for 13 years, resigned in 2019 amid allegations of election fraud and went into exile in Mexico. Áñez, a legislator succeeded him and, The Associated Press notes, pushed the government’s policies to the right and tried to prosecute Morales, who remained popular, and his supporters on terrorism and sedition charges.
Morales, though, came back and his hand-chosen successor, Luis Arce was elected president in November. Now, it’s Áñez who is being pursued by the government in power. She was reportedly detained early Saturday in her hometown of Trinidad before being flown to the capital La Paz, where she appeared before a prosecutor. Áñez told reporters “this is an abuse,” arguing “there was no coup d’etat, but a constitutional succession.”
Arce’s government claims the arrest is not part of a crackdown, but two other ministers in Áñez’s government were also arrested Friday, and Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director of Human Rights Watch, said the arrest warrants “contain no evidence whatsoever” to back up the allegations made against them. Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa said the government is “seeking to decapitate an opposition by creating a false narrative of a coup to distract from a fraud.” Read more at The Associated Press.