Followers of Luis Camacho lifted the blockades in Santa Cruz and will hold a meeting in defense of the Bolivian governor

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Peaceful vigils will continue in public institutions until the conclave is held in which it will be resolved what measures to take in favor of the opposition leader, who is detained

Followers of Luis Camacho lifted the blockades in Santa Cruz and will hold a meeting in defense of the Bolivian governor

Followers of the governor of Santa Cruz Luis Fernando Camacho kneels during a protest at a barricade in Santa Cruz (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

The blockades that kept the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz isolated for more than 15 days were lifted this Wednesday while awaiting the measures to be taken by a national council convened in defense of the governor and opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, preventively detained on terrorism charges.

“It has been decided to lift the blockades as of 00:00 on Wednesday… We do not rule out returning with our measures”, reported the president of the rural areas of Santa Cruz, Ernesto Serrate, to The Associated Press. The civic movement reported that they lifted five blockade points.

It also assured thatPeaceful vigils continue in public institutions until the January 25 town hall determines what measures it will take in favor of Camacho, who has been held in preventive custody for four months. Stranded truckers thanked the reopening of the roads.

The state television station Bolivia TV reported that small roadblocks were still in place but that the main ones have already been lifted by so the buses left normally from the Santa Cruz terminal.

The protests began on December 28 after Camacho's arrest with the burning of more than 20 institutions, including the Prosecutor's Office, which left several injured. Authorities are investigating the death of one of the injured who lost an eye on January 1 and died 14 days after a cardiac arrest.

Followers of Luis Camacho lifted the blockades in Santa Cruz and will hold a meeting in defense of the Bolivian governor

Demonstrators demand the release of the governor Luis Camacho, in La Paz (AIZAR RALDES/AFP)

In Santa Cruz, an opponent stronghold of President Luis Arce, they consider that the government “has established in Bolivia a regime of State terrorism, legal uncertainty”, according to a public statement. The opposition assures that in the country there is a political persecution of opponents.

For its part, the government maintains that it is not a matter of revenge and the Minister of Government, Eduardo del Castillo , recently assured that his rights were respected in the governor's detention.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that it is closely following the protests in Santa Cruz and condemned “all kinds of of violence”

“The IACHR emphatically rejects both the complaints of excessive use of force by the security forces as well as the violent acts committed by organized groups in the context of the protests in recent days,” the agency reported. and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE) in a press release.

The IACHR assured in the statement that it will “closely monitor the judicial processes in which the arrests made are framed with the objective of monitoring unrestricted respect for judicial guarantees, due process, judicial protection, and access to information.” justice, in accordance with inter-American standards.”

Justice Minister Iván Lima responded on his Twitter account that the Arce government “is respectful of human rights and open to international observation.”

Followers of Luis Camacho lifted the blockades in Santa Cruz and will hold a meeting in defense of the Bolivian governor

Demonstrators on top of a truck wave flags during a protest following the arrest of Santa Cruz governor and opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)

As an opposition leader, Camacho took center stage in the 2019 political and social crisis that ensued from the failed elections in which then-President Evo Morales was seeking his fourth consecutive term. The elections were annulled due to allegations of fraud and Morales resigned shortly thereafter and interim president Jeanine Áñez took office. The conflict left 37 dead.

Due to the mobilizations of that time, Camacho was linked to charges of alleged terrorism.

Áñez, for his part, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegally holding office. More than fifty opposition and military leaders are in prison and on trial for alleged conspiracy and terrorism.

The Minister of Justice announced that a delegation from the IACHR will arrive next week to verify the progress on recommendations he made in a report on the 2019 protests.

With information from AP

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