LA PAZ – Two former Bolivian presidents, an ex-vice president and three leaders of opposition parties on Wednesday said that President Evo Morales has transformed the judiciary into an “instrument of political persecution” to take action against his adversaries, thus damaging the country’s democracy.
The stance was expressed by former Presidents Jorge Quiroga (2001-2002) and Carlos Mesa (2003-2005), former Vice President Victor Hugo Cardenas (1993-1997); Santa Cruz provincial Gov. Ruben Costas, La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla and National Unity (UN) party leader Samuel Doria Medina.
After meeting in La Paz, the six politicians issued a joint statement in which they said that the Morales administration “has broken the boundaries of independence” among the governmental branches and transformed the judicial branch into an instrument of “political persecution.”
The group also claimed that the executive branch has violated laws or created “custom-made arbitrary rules” to “facilitate its actions” against its adversaries, whom it considers “enemies.”
“The majority of us, just like hundreds of fellow citizens, are being subjected to trials, the only objective of which is to decapitate those who express ideas and positions different from and critical of those who are governing to prevent the formation of democratic alternatives,” the statement read.
The opposition figures also commented about other matters, including the upcoming selection of top magistrates for the judiciary and the government’s intention to have Morales run for reelection in the 2019 election, despite the fact that a 2016 referendum denied him that possibility.
They announced that they will remain “united” in denouncing from within and outside the country the government’s actions “that are being planned and carried out placing citizens’ freedoms in jeopardy” in Bolivia.
Quiroga, Costas, Revilla, Doria Medina and other opposition leaders are facing numerous judicial proceedings launched at the request of the government, some in matters dating back more than 20 years and that were resurrected by the authorities.
The politicians on several occasions have complained that the legal proceedings seek to make them ineligible for possible candidacies in the upcoming elections.