Bolivian Coup Leader Jailed For Racism

Romulo Calvo, ex-leader of the far-right Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee has been sentence to two years in jail, by Judge Carlos Moreira, for the crimes of racism, discrimination, and damage to national symbols.

The case against him was brought in 2021 by lawmakers of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) from the Department of Santa Cruz, following an incident on September 24th of that year, the anniversary of Santa Cruz, in which Calvo tore down the wiphala flag which had been raised in the city’s central plaza as part of official protocol.

The wiphala flag and the tricolor Bolivian national flag, are the two official flags of Bolivia and therefore must be displayed at official events by law. Failure to do so, or the tearing down one of the flags after it has been raised, is considered damage to a national symbol and is considered a criminal offense.

Lawyers for the Movement Towards Socialism argued that Calvo was also guilty of racism and discrimination because he targeted the whipala due to its association with indigenous culture. The judge agreed and took it into consideration when sentencing the guilty party.

Attacking the whipala flag has been a hallmark of the Bolivian right-wing opposition. During the 2019 coup far-right protesters across the country burnt the wiphala flags in the street to celebrate the resignation of Evo Morales.

By Kawsachun News

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