Former military general Iván Patricio Inchauste Rioja has been arrested for his role in the massacre of protesters in Senkata, carried out on orders of the Añez regime, just days after the coup against Evo Morales in November 2019.
Incahuaste Rioja was promoted to Brigadier General by Jeanine Añez on November 13th, three days after the coup. On November 15th, ten anti-coup protesters in Sacaba, Cochabamba, were killed by security forces. Four days later on November 19th, those same forces killed another ten anti-coup protesters in the district of Senkata, El Alto. It’s in that second massacre that the now arrested General was directly involved.
The news was confirmed on Thursday, June 22nd by Rolando Rojas, Director of the Police Anti-Crime unit in Cochabamba, where the former General was residing at the time of the arrest.
The Bolivian government has vowed to secure justice for all victims of the coup regime. Among those already arrested for the Senkata massacre are; Franko Suárez Gonzales, former Commander of the Mechanized Division, Luis Fernando Valverde Ferrufino, then Director of the Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) for his role planning the joint operation under the pretenses of defending the gas plant that was under his purview. Jeanie Añez has also been jailed, along with her Energy Minister, Rodrigo Guzman, who coordinated the operation with the former Director of the ANH.
David Inca, of the Human Rights Assembly of El Alto, says that the arrest of Añez represents ‘hope’ for the victims of Senkata. Residents of Senkata representatives of Senkata spoke to the media, stating,
“Sooner or later justice will come, Añez should already be in jail, Arturo Murillo, Fernando Lopez, Pumari, Camacho, all of them. Aside from that, the Commander of the Police, Colonel Rojas, who has escaped, should be in jail. General Orellana, General Kaliman. I think that now the Interior Minister is doing something good, because we had our doubts about him before, the killings in Senkata and Sacaba were not being clarified, nor in the Zona Sur of La Paz, nor the arbitrary arrests. During that time, the police used violence, beatings, punches, kicks, kidnappings, illegal arrests, gunshots.”
Despite the calls for justice by victims of human rights abuses, the United States government has condemned the arrest of their ally, Jeanine Añez. President Biden’s Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has demanded the release of Añez and all coup officials.