In defense of the Former Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana, the Former Minister of Cultures and Tourism Vilma Alanoca Mamani, the Former Minister of Justice Hector Arce Zaconeta, the Former Minister of Goverment Hugo Moldiz Mercado, the Former Minister of Defence Javier Zabaleta Lopez, the Former Governor of the Oruro Department Victor Hugo Vasquez and Former Director of the Information Technology Agency Nicolas Laguna, who sought asylum at the Mexican Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia in November 2019.
More than seven months have passed in which the former officials of President Evo Morales’s government were isolated in the Embassy of the United Mexican States in La Paz, because the de-facto regime led by Jeanine Añez has refused them safe passage to move to Mexico.
In November 2019, when the US-backed coup was imminent, paramilitary groups led by Luis Fernando Camacho circulated lists that included the names of many of the former MAS officials to be killed. Fearing for their lives, the seven former authorities sought asylum in the Mexican Embassy. Their families were also severely harassed and threatened and most of them had their homes raided, looted, destroyed and even burned.
It is necessary to emphasize that as soon as Arturo Murillo the de-facto Government Minister took office, he publicly declared that he would ‘hunt down’ Former Head of Cabinet Juan Ramon Quintana.
Initially when they fled into the Mexican Embassy, none of the former authorities had any legal proceedings or warrants for their arrest against them. As the days passed, politically motivated accusations were laid against them using false evidence as part of the “Lawfare” in Bolivia.
Their daily lives have been marred with threats and attempts to invade the Mexican Embassy by the de-facto regime which created major diplomatic incidents with the governments of Mexico and Spain. These have been extensively reported by international media.
In addition, the seven former authorities live with constant intimidation, harassment and threats not only from the police but also by drones, interference of communications and by extremely violent vigilante groups camped outside the Embassy, laying siege, even during the quarantine period due to Covid-19.
The Bolivian dictatorship holds the former officials hostage and openly violates International Law. Bolivia and Mexico are part of the American Convention of Human Rights (CADH) which in its Article 22.7 ‘Right of Movement and Residence’ establishes that, everyone has the right to seek and receive asylum in foreign territory.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Bolivia on 12/10/20 and in its ‘Preliminary Observations’ put on record the following: “Deliver safe passage to people who are asylum seekers in the Embassies of Mexico and Argentina or in other diplomatic headquarters, so that they can exercise their Human Right to obtain asylum and refuge, in such a way that they do not break up family units.” Jeanine Añez has ignored this recommendation.
We are extremely concerned that the de-facto regime disguised behind religion and false democracy, acts with extreme violence and racismagainst Bolivian people like it happened in the Massacres of Sacaba and Senkata in November 2019, where mainly indigenous people were killed.
The coup plotters have transformed Bolivia into a ‘Lawless’ State where corruption, abuse of power, political persecution, torture, imprisonments, attacks on freedom of expression, nepotism and many more are at the forefront of their agenda and hate speech from the regime increased.
The UN has also expressed concern about the political persecution against former MAS officials and supporters.
We denounce to the world the flagrant violation of The Seven former government officials’ human rights and demand that the Jeanine Añez de-facto regime respect the Geneva Convention and immediately grant to them safe passage to Mexico.