Bolivian Opposition Arrives in Washington on ‘Human Rights’ Trip

Lawmakers from Bolivia’s right-wing opposition arrived in Washington in the early hours of April 20th, to meet with the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Human Rights Watch and ‘other international bodies’ headquartered in Washington, in order to make claims of ‘human rights violations’ by the government of Luis Arce.

The group is a cross-parliamentary commission of Senators and Lower House members from the fascist Creemos party led by Fernando Camacho, as well as the liberal Comunidad Ciudadana party led by Carlos Mesa. 

“We will denounce the illegal and arbitrary actions of political persecution of opposition leaders, police, military and other civil society persons, by the Government of Luis Arce, which violates fundamental human rights and has led to preventive arrests,” stated Camacho’s group during a pre-departure press conference, in reference to the arrest of former dictator Jeanine Añez and two other Ministers involved in corruption and human rights violations under the unelected coup regime last year.

Henry Montero of Creemos, opened a press conference at the University of Virginia upon their arrival, stating their purpose: “We have an agenda with different organizations. Why in the United States? Because these international organizations which (work on) human rights have headquarters in Washington.”

Circulating reports suggest the opposition lawmakers will be meeting with the U.S. State Department, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, U.S. lawmakers, José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch, among other meetings and events.

Creemos lawmakers announce the purpose of their trip to Washington in a recorded video posted on Facebook. April 19, 2021.

Juan Ramon Quintana, former Minister under Evo Morales, responded to the trip in a recent interview with Bolivia TV, commenting;

“It’s no wonder that this anti-patriotic right has to take refuge in the arms of its bosses. The bosses of Luis Fernando Camacho, Carlos Mesa, Doria Medina, Tuto Quiroga, are in Washington. That’s where they go to to consult, to ask for support, to bow down and to seek advice and resources.”

The OAS and Bolivia’s opposition have a history of cooperation. Luis Almagro met with Fernando Camacho shortly after the 2019 coup. Months later, Camacho wrote a letter to Almagro requesting help in banning the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) from running in the election. In the letter, he stated that Almagro’s OAS electoral observation mission report on the 2019 elections was crucial in executing the coup against the elected government of Evo Morales.

Two fugitives of Bolivian justice, Arturo Murillo and Fernando Lopez, both senior figures of the Añez former regime, are also in the United States having fled the country as President Arce took office. The former Interior and Defense Ministers are widely understood as responsible for the ordering of the killings in Senkata and Sacaba, during which the coup regime massacred protesters who called for the return of democracy in November 2019.

Manufactured claims of human rights abuses have long been used by the far-right in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to justify and coordinate foreign intervention in internal matters and to attack leftist governments.