Latin America

Bolivia issues arrest warrants for ex-president Anez, others, over coup against ex-President Morales

A court in Bolivia has issued arrest warrants for the South American country’s ex-president Jeanine Anez and several other individuals over their role in a coup against former president Evo Morales.

On Friday, Public Prosecutor Alcides Mejillones issued arrest warrants for the former interim president and five ministers of her short-lived administration. Four military chiefs, including General Williams Kaliman and former police commander Yuri Calderon, also received arrest warrants.

Fifty-three-year-old Anez and the nine other individuals were called to be detained after they were accused of sedition, terrorism, and conspiracy.

Anez on Friday rejected the accusations and the ensuing arrest warrants as “political persecution.”

Morales, who came to power as the president in 2006, won Bolivia’s presidential election for a fourth term in October 2019.

However, the Bolivian military and opposition claimed that the election had been rigged, a claim that was later debunked, inciting deadly street protests against Morales and his ruling party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS).

Amid fierce protests, the military publicly called on Morales to resign. The embattled president under pressure, particularly from Calderon, eventually stepped down in November that year and was forced to go into exile to Mexico and then to Argentina.

Later on, Anez, a former senator, assumed power as the interim president. However, she withdrew her candidacy from the next presidential election in October last year, one day after polls revealed that Luis Arce, the pro-Morales candidate, in the lead.

Arce, who had served as Morales’ minister of economy and public finance, won the elections, ousting Anez and ending her government’s attempts to prosecute Morales’ supporters.

Morales returned home from forced exile after Arce became the president and MAS once again became the ruling party. The former leader still plays a leading role in the party he had founded in 1995.  

Later in the day, Rodrigo Guzmán and Alvaro Coimbra, who served in Anez’s 11-month caretaker administration as Bolivia’s energy and justice ministers, respectively, were reportedly arrested in the northern city of Trinidad. They are to be transferred to Bolivia’s administrative capital, La Paz.

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