Bolivia’s De Facto Government Grants Impunity To Police, Armed Forces

Above photo: A demonstrator holding a Wiphala flag reacts towards a member of the security forces during clashes between supporters of former Bolivian President Evo Morales and the security forces, in La Paz, Bolivia November 15, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

The decree also states that security forces may use firearms to suppress protests.

The de facto government of Bolivia issued a decree Saturday exempting Armed Forces and National Police from criminal responsibility when committing acts of repression against protesters who have taken to the streets to reject the coup d’etat.

“The personnel of the Armed Forces, who participate in the operations for the restoration of order and public stability, will be exempt from criminal responsibility when, in compliance with their constitutional functions, they act in legitimate defense or state of necessity,” the decree reads.

The document also states that security forces may use firearms to suppress protests, as they are allowed to “frame their actions as established in the approved Force Use Manual, being able to make use of all available means that are proportional to the operational risk,” it adds.

This comes as violent repression from the government escalates against protesters in Bolivia.

The de facto government that usurped power in Bolivia has conferred the Armed Forces to act without having to answer for their crimes. The number of deaths grows. The Argentinian government is silent. The OAS endorses. Michelle Bachelet and the U.N. must intervene. 

Over the last 24 hours, at least nine Bolivians have died as a result of repressive actions carried out by the security forces that support the coup-based government headed by Senator Jeanine Añez.

“23 people have died since the coup. The most recent victims are four people shot dead in La Paz​​​​​​ and five in Sacaba,” La Paz Ombudsman’ Office delegate Teresa Zubieta told teleSUR.

While the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the “disproportionate use” of police-military force in the repression in the city of Cochabamba where nine coca growers died and dozens were injured.

The IACHR expressed “concern about the actions of the armed forces in the operations carried out in Bolivia since the beginning of the week,” and on Saturday the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also warned on Saturday about the dangerous path that protests are taking in Bolivia after the deaths in Sacaba, as the situation could ”spin out of control.”

President Evo Morales was forced to resign on Nov. 10 after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government and world leaders have called a coup by opposition forces in the country.