Justice, never revenge

Historical "reckoning" has consequences. They usually do not serve what their advocates propose or say they intend. Conceiving social and political processes as a succession of billings in which creditors and debtors take turns, ends up being a bad business for everyone.

I say this in relation to the sudden arrest in Bolivia of Jeanine Áñez, who since November 2019, held the Presidency of that Plurinational State for one year. Her detention is preventive on charges of "coup", but both the facts and the law tell us that an arbitrary act is being committed.

Áñez was second vice president of the Senate when the political crisis occurred after the resignation of President Evo Morales, amid massive street protests against what was denounced as electoral fraud and the loss of support in the Armed Forces. The decline to assume office by those who constitutionally preceded him, the Vice President of the country and the heads of the legislative chambers, left that responsibility in their hands. His Presidency was recognized by the Constitutional Court and eight days later, on November 2, by the Movement for Socialism, Morales' party.

In the midst of highly compromised circumstances, Añez ruled Bolivia and ensured in 2020 the call for a clean, reliable electoral process for all and under international observation. The people voted on October 18. The MAS candidate Luis Arce was the winner and his triumph was immediately recognized by the President and by his main opponent Carlos Mesa, who as a candidate before Morales' third reelection had claimed fraud in 2019. The woman arrested today for sedition had run for the Presidency to shortly after withdraw from that attempt.

I do not see crime, nor due process.

Note that Morales' third reelection was constitutionally disputed. Such possibility implied a constitutional reform already denied by the people in a referendum in February 2016. However, in 2017 it was allowed by a unanimous decision of the same Constitutional Court that would recognize the legitimacy of Añez in the Presidency.

Using power and the courts to dispatch political adversaries is an injustice as old as it is damaging. In Bolivia, far from contributing to the healing of wounds, it dangerously relives the apprehensions that Morales generates in broad sectors.

 

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