Bolivia: Trial against Jeanine Áñez to Begin Soon

Peoples Dispatch
Former de-facto president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez. Photo: Archives

Jeanine Áñez faces charges of “breach of duties” and “resolutions contrary to the Constitution and the Law” for her illegal self-proclamation as “interim president of Bolivia” during the US-backed coup d’état against former president Evo Morales in November 2019

Bolivian government minister Eduardo del Castillo, on January 12, reported that the first ordinary trial against former coup-installed president Jeanine Áñez and the former police and military chiefs in the case ‘coup d’état II’ will begin in the next few days.

“Based on the investigations carried out, and also due to the request for justice from the Bolivian people, we inform public opinion that Mrs. Jeanine Áñez Chávez, the former military high command (Jorge Mendieta) and the former commander of the Bolivian police (Rodolfo Montero) will enter the ordinary trial stage in the case ‘coup d’état II’ in the following days,” said Del Castillo in a Facebook post.

The government minister recalled that the legal process against Áñez is “for having acted against the political Constitution of the State on November 10, 11 and 12, 2019, within the illegal self-proclamation in the presidency of Bolivia, without previously considering the resignations of the authorities elected in line of succession, before an empty Senate and Legislative Assemblies and without a quorum.”

Del Castillo added that “what the former senator Áñez did was proclaim herself in the presence of the media and diplomatic representatives, without complying with the formalities established in the Constitution and the Law.”

Áñez has been in preventive detention since March 2021. She was arrested on March 13 last year for her involvement in the US-backed coup d’état against former president Evo Morales in November 2019. She was charged with crimes of terrorism, sedition, and conspiracy in the case, also known as the ‘coup d’état I’ case. Initially, judges ordered a four-month preventive detention, but later it was extended to six months. Subsequently, Bolivian justice began another criminal process (coup d’état II), in which Áñez was charged with “breach of duties” and “resolutions contrary to the Constitution and the Law.” This process extended her preventive incarceration for an additional six months.

According to the Penal Code, the defendants Áñez and former military and police commanders could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. In addition to Áñez, Mendieta and Montero, seven other members of the Bolivian Armed Forces and Police are accused of breaching their duties and violating the Constitution.

Meanwhile, on January 12, new evidence of the US’ participation in the November 2019 coup surfaced. The head of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, Evo Morales, on his Twitter account, shared a photo of the former US Chargé d’Affaires, attending Áñez’s self-proclamation at the headquarters of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly.

“We demand that the US embassy confirm or deny that the photo in which the former Chargé d’Affaires, Bruce Williamson, and the former deputy minister of communications management of the de-facto government, Marco Aurelio Julio, can be seen, was taken during Áñez’s self-proclamation in the legislature,” tweeted Morales along with a photo.

In another tweet, he stressed that this evidence ratifies “the participation of the United States in the coup that caused 38 deaths of indigenous brothers, persecution, torture and extrajudicial executions.” He also emphasized that “the Bolivian people will never give up their demand for Memory, Truth and Justice.”