Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development, Edwin Characayo, has been arrested after a sting operation caught him accepting a $20,000 bribe. President Luis Arce has hailed the arrest as an important victory in the fight against corruption, stating that there will be zero tolerance for such acts within his government.
“Mr. Characayo will be brought to justice to answer for these acts committed. This man was found using the position he held to benefit certain people in the acquisition and distribution of lands, in short, these types of acts have no place in our government,” said Eduardo del Castillo, Bolivia’s Interior Minister.
Responding to the arrest, President Luis Arce stated, “We have complied with the mandate of the people. Our government will not cover up corruption, wherever it emerges. Mr. Edwin Characayo was apprehended and will be brought to justice accordingly.”
This is the second Minister to be expelled from the current government for such behavior. Both removals took place in the Ministry of Rural Development. The last Minister, Wilson Cáceres, was fired by President Luis Arce in November after it emerged that the official had hired his wife as his Chief of Staff.
Even right-wing journalists have praised the arrest. Santa Cruz-based presenter Tuffi Are commented, “Second Minister of Rural Development who is leaving in five months. The first was accused of nepotism. Edwin Characayo is not just leaving. He is arrested for corruption. They accuse him of receiving $ 20,000 to favor someone. A good sign in the fight against corruption.”
The ruling MAS government has moved fast against cases of corruption, in contrast to the former coup regime which was deeply damaged by scandals and its failure to act against key Ministers after incidents of price gouging emerged in the purchase of tear gas and of COVID-19 ventilators.