Bolivian police detain country’s main opposition leader

Dec 27, 2022, 11:15 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2022, 6:01 pm
FILE - Opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho gives a thumbs up outside the presidential palace in...

FILE - Opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho gives a thumbs up outside the presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia, after President Evo Morales announced his resignation to the presidency on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Government authorites said on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, that Camacho had been aprehended and arrested by the police. (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)

(AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Police on Wednesday detained Luis Fernando Camacho, the main opposition leader in Bolivia who is also governor of the Santa Cruz region, a dramatic action that quickly led to renewed social unrest.

Camacho was detained as part of a case in which he is accused of leading what the government characterizes as a coup in 2019, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said. Opposition leaders challenge the coup label, arguing those events were only protests that led to the resignation of then-President Evo Morales.

The governor’s allies quickly took to the streets, blocking roads in Santa Cruz as well as a highway that joins the region with the rest of the country. Photos posted on social media showed long lines at gas stations amid worries the renewed unrest could lead to shortages.

It took several hours for any official word on what charges led to the detention of Camacho, whose region is Bolivia’s wealthiest and a stronghold of the opposition.

Earlier, Government Minister Carlos Eduardo del Castillo wrote on social media only, “We inform the Bolivian people that police have fulfilled a detention order against Mr. Luis Fernando Camacho.”

Shortly after the action, the Santa Cruz governorship said in a news release that Camacho was “kidnapped in an absolutely irregular police operation and was taken to an unknown location.”

Camacho was detained near his home, the news release said.

Several opposition leaders also quickly spoke up against the detention, including former President Carlos Mesa, who called it a “violent and illegal kidnapping.”

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office denied the detention was anything of the sort or political persecution, saying it was done under an order issued in October and stemmed from proceedings that began in 2020 with the “full knowledge” of the governor.

Camacho has repeatedly denied all accusations against him, saying he is the victim of political persecution. He has refused to undergo questioning by prosecutors, saying there is a lack of guarantees of fair treatment.

Video of the arrest posted on social media showed the conservative Camacho handcuffed on the side of the road alongside law enforcement officers holding firearms.

Martín Camacho, the governor’s lawyer, told the local newspaper El Deber that his client was being taken to the capital of La Paz to answer questions in cases opened against him.

Video posted on social media showed dozens of his supporters descending on two local airports to try to impede the governor’s transfer, although it was unclear whether he was still there.

The government has launched several judicial actions against Camacho, including one for having called for a strike against the national administration of President Luis Arce in November, which lasted 36 days. He is facing accusations of sedition, treason and corruption, among others.

Camacho is the leader of the opposition alliance Creemos (“We Believe”).

His role as head of the opposition was cemented in November, when he led the strike against the government. The action pressed demands that a national census be carried out in 2023, which would likely give Santa Cruz more tax revenue and seats in Congress and therefore more influence in the country’s political decisions.

Camacho was also a leader in the big protests in 2019 that forced Morales from power following elections that the Organization of American States said were marred by fraud. Morales was seeking his fourth consecutive reelection.

The 2019 protests led to social unrest that resulted in 37 deaths and pushed Bolivia into its most serious institutional crisis of recent years.

——

Politi reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
13 hours ago
The Amazon DTW1 fulfillment center is shown in Romulus, Mich., April 1, 2020. Amazon reports financ...
Associated Press

Amazon beats Q4 revenue estimates, but profits slump

Amazon on Thursday reported worse-than-expected profits, but its revenue beat expectations boosted by sales in North America businesses and the cloud-computing unit AWS.
13 hours ago
legislature...
Associated Press

Washington’s low-income tax credit available for first time

 Up to $1,200 is now available for thousands of low-income working Washington residents, thanks to a 2008 law that has finally been funded.
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Man charged in Tennessee jogger’s death pleads not guilty

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The man charged with raping and killing a Tennessee kindergarten teacher during a pre-dawn run in Memphis last year pleaded not guilty Friday. Cleotha Henderson, who has also used the name Cleotha Abston, was indicted last week on charges that include first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, The Daily Memphian reported. […]
2 days ago
FILE - President Joe Biden drives a Cadillac Lyriq through the showroom during a tour at the Detroi...
Associated Press

Treasury makes more electric SUVs eligible for tax credits

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Friday it is making more electric vehicles — including SUVs made by Tesla, Ford and General Motors — eligible for tax credits of up to $7,500 under new vehicle classification definitions. The revised standards for EV tax credits follow lobbying by automakers that had pressed the Biden administration […]
2 days ago
FILE - Houses dot a hillside in the ski resort town of Vail, Colo., on Oct. 25, 2022. While cities ...
Associated Press

Colorado considers using public land for affordable housing

DENVER (AP) — Police officer Andy Sandoval lives in one the most beautiful places in the world near Vail, Colorado, where world-famous ski resorts are nestled between Rocky Mountain peaks. His living situation for years, though, was far less dreamy. Until last month, the 26-year-old, his wife and their two small children were squeezed into […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Bolivian police detain country’s main opposition leader