Bolivian police arrest prominent opposition leader
Bolivian police on Wednesday arrested Luis Fernando Camacho, a key opposition figure and governor of the economic powerhouse Santa Cruz, the government announced, without specifying the charges.
“We notify Bolivia those for whom the Bolivian police executed an arrest warrant for Luis Fernando Camacho,” Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said on Twitter, adding more information to follow.
Right-wing civilian leader Camacho is under investigation for a number of crimes, including his alleged role in the left-wing president’s resignation. Evo Morales in 2019 and for allegedly cheering this year’s Santa Cruz protests.
The government did not immediately respond to AFP’s questions about the reasons for Camacho’s arrest.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office claimed Camacho was “kidnapped in a completely unusual police operation.”
It added in a statement: “The governor’s whereabouts are unknown, so we keep the President Luis Arcethe government is responsible for his physical safety.”
After learning of Camacho’s arrest, dozens of supporters flocked to Santa Cruz’s two airports, shouting that they would not allow him to move to the administrative capital La Paz and demanding his release.
Flights at both airports were suspended.
In October, Bolivia suspended some exports to prevent food shortages after strikes paralyzed Santa Cruz.
Protesters blocked roads and closed businesses as they demanded a census to increase representation of the opposition stronghold in the national legislature and greater access to state funds.
A census is scheduled for 2024, but protesters want it held next year so Santa Cruz’s growing population and economic weight can be fully reflected in the agency. national legislation.
Camacho leads the second largest opposition bloc in the legislative assembly.
A government minister in October blamed Camacho and other protest leaders for “the paralysis of the manufacturing sector and the threat to food security.”
Camacho has also led protests that turned violent, against Morales’ controversial election to a fourth term. Morales left office after losing the support of the military.
Camacho finished third in the October 2020 presidential election, which belonged to the leftist Arce.