Jose Miguel Vivanco, the director of HRW’s Americas division, denounced on Wednesday the Bolivian military’s withdrawal of support for the 60-year-old Morales.
“Protesters have increased, and the head of the army had nothing better to do than to suggest that Evo Morales resign. In my opinion, that is a coup. For the head of the army, a subordinate who has no say on deciding who stays and who goes, to suggest that a standing president should resign, [that amounts to a coup],” Vivanco said.
Morales, who had been in power for nearly 14 years, was granted asylum in Mexico after his resignation but vowed not to back down and continue fighting from abroad. The country’s first indigenous president later left Mexico for Argentina, where leftist leader Alberto Fernandez took office in December 2019.
Bolivian prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Morales over allegations of sedition and terrorism, leveled by the government of Jeanine Anez, Bolivia’s right-wing interim president. Morales has denied the charges.
The new Bolivian regime has also threatened to imprison Morales for the rest of his life.
Bolivian regime issues arrest warrant for ex-president MoralesThe Bolivian regime orders the arrest of former president Evo Morales, who has been in exile since his forced resignation last month.
Mexico slammed for inaction over drug violence
Meanwhile, Vivanco also lashed out at the “passivity” of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government and its failure to pacify the country after more than a decade of runaway gang violence.
“The human rights problem in Mexico is a debacle. Here there are criminals that are less than human. This is a debacle from the point of view of human rights, from the point of view of the principles of human rights, and what hurts and which really annoys people is the passivity, the normality of authorities in this debacle,” he said.
Fueled by recurrent wars between drug cartels, the number of homicides in Mexico hit record levels last year, and concern is widespread about the murder of journalists and human rights activists.
Last week, Mexico revised the number of the people who had disappeared since 2006 from 40,000 to 60,000. Many of them are thought to have been killed by Mexico’s powerful criminal gangs, their bodies disposed of in mass graves.
“Across Mexico, the entire country, regarding missing people there have just been 50 prosecutions. Only 50 prosecutions when government reports tell us that there are more than 61,637 people who have been reported as missing,” Vivanco said.
50 bodies unearthed from Mexican mass graveThe bodies of at least 50 people have been found in a mass grave at a farm outside Mexico
‘Grave’ rights violations reported in Chile
Moreover, the Americas director at HRW cast a spotlight on unrest in Chile amid anti-government protests.
At least 26 people were killed in the protests and hundreds of demonstrators were left suffering eye injuries after being hit in the head by lead pellets, according to reports.
“We have been in Chile and did a report. After some weeks of investigations in the country, we arrived at the conclusion that the police had committed grave violations of human rights during the incidents that were registered at protests, in the peaceful as well as the violent protests from October 18 last year,” Vivanco said.
The crisis in the South American country erupted in mid-October over metro fare hikes. However, it swiftly unraveled into the most severe outbreak of social unrest since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet some three decades ago.
Anti-government protests have been held in Chile over the past two months and have at times escalated into violent riots, looting, and arson.
Thousands of anti-govt. protesters flood streets of Chilean capital, clash with policeThousands of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets of Chilean capital Santiago and clashed with anti-riot police.
Furthermore, over 2,000 officers have been injured since the onset of the protests, about 127 of them seriously, according to police.
The National Human Rights Institute says more than 15,000 people have so far been detained, many of them allegedly being ill-treated.