Arrest of Bolivian Former Interim Government Officials

03/27/2021 09:17 AM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States is deeply concerned by growing signs of anti-democratic behavior and the politicization of the legal system in Bolivia in light of the recent arrest and pre-trial imprisonment of former interim government officials.  We add our voice to the many statements by the EU, Bolivian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bolivian and international human rights organizations, and others who have publicly raised serious questions regarding the legality of these arrests, including their basis on unsubstantiated allegations, apparent violations of due process in their execution, and the highly politicized nature of the Bolivian government’s prosecution.

We celebrated the democratic success of the October elections with the Bolivian people, just as we expressed our congratulations and best wishes for a robust, mutually respectful relationship with the Arce administration.  The recent arrests of interim government officials are not in keeping with Bolivia’s democratic ideals – they discredit the extraordinary efforts of so many Bolivian voters, candidates, and public servants that enabled the October 2020 national elections, as well as the subnational vote on March 7.

We call on the Bolivian government to make clear its support for peace, democracy, and national reconciliation, including by releasing the detained former officials pending an independent and transparent inquiry into human rights and due process concerns.  We also call on all Bolivians – both authorities and protestors – to act with the same peace, restraint, and respect that they demonstrated to the world during the recent electoral process.

The United States stands with its Bolivian friends and neighbors in our shared pursuit of more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic societies.