LA PAZ – Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera proposed a “cultural revolution” to halt violence against women in the Andean nation, which has one of the highest rates of male aggression in all Latin America.
Garcia Linera, who aspires to reelection together with President Evo Morales in the October balloting, said in an interview on ATB television that families and educational institutions must work together to deal with this problem so widespread in Bolivia.
“Violence is a problem that has always existed and today at last we’ve brought it out in the open and are dealing with it systematically, because violence against women is the most cowardly criminal deed a man can commit,” he said.
He also said the government will allocate funds to build shelters for women who are victims of domestic violence, while municipalities and provinces “will be obliged” to do the same.
The Bolivian government passed a law last year against male violence that punishes femicide with 30 years in prison without the possibility of pardon or parole, the harshest sentence in Bolivian legislation.
But despite the severity of the law, the desired results have not been forthcoming because, among other factors, hardly any resources have been provided for its application.
Less than 10 sentences for femicide have been handed down since the law was passed, though so far this year more than 70 women have been murdered in the country.
Garcia Linera said Tuesday that more funds will be allocated to the police unit created to handle these cases.
The vice president also said that good behavior within the family will become one of the requisites for entering police academies.
“Starting this year, new students, both for promotion to lieutenant, captain, coronel or general, or to be chosen to enter the police university, must meet the requirement of good family behavior,” he said.
During this year, several police and also soldiers have been jailed as suspected perpetrators of abuse, rape, and at least one case of femicide.