Disgraced Bolivian Police Chief Bemoans New Life of Penury

Ivan Rojas, former Bolivian Police Chief in charge of jailing supporters of the Movement Towards Socialism, has spoken to the Santa Cruz-based El Deber newspaper about his new life in exile, bemoaning his newfound poverty since fleeing Bolivia to escape charges for the human rights abuses and numerous acts of corruption he committed during the Añez dictatorship. 

A once-feared witchfinder general, he would parade political prisoners before the cameras and claim credit for the arrests. Many would go on to be tortured. Rojas was also part of the joint police-military operation in Senkata, El Alto, in which security forces killed 10 unarmed anti-coup protesters. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights labeled the events a ‘massacre’. 

Speaking from his exile in Chile. Rojas told El Deber, “I work for Uber making deliveries, and lately, I have been able to access delivery work for a supermarket chain”. He went on to boast about the number of degrees he has, but complained that he cannot find work that is more befitting of his perceived station in life, saying,

“I have been given a civil death, because there is no company that wants to have a person, who, despite his resume, currently has ten criminal charges and 12 administrative charges against them in Bolivia”. 

He also admitted to taking part in the joint-operation that ended in protesters being massacred in Senkata, however, he refused to comment when asked for details about what happened that day, stating, “The investigative process of the Senkata case is being carried out at this time, issuing an opinion at this time may hinder that investigation.”

Rojas has applied for political asylum in Chile but says that it has not yet been granted. He is currently on a temporary visa while his application is being processed. 

Bolivia’s Interior Minister, Eduardo Del Castillo, hit back at the disgraced Police Chief saying, “The former Director of the FELCC under [Arturo] Murillo’s management, Iván Rojas, admitted in November 2020 to have a fortune that exceeds Bs 4 million and a separate account with from $235,000 USD. Today, he says that he has no resources to live and that he works “delivery to survive”. No job is shameful, nor should it be disparaged (as he tries to do in his statements). Shameful is escaping from Bolivian justice, from a case of illicit enrichment after having co-governed with Murillo and Añez, both of whom are currently imprisoned for their debts with justice.”

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