Bolivia: Governor arrested


Richard Moore

Bolivia: Pando Prefect Arrested

La Paz, Sep 16 (Prensa Latina) Opposition Pando Prefect Leopoldo Fernandez was arrested and transferred to La Paz on charges of organizing a massacre of farmers in the northern Bolivian province.

Military forces arrested Fernandez at his headquarters in the state capital of Cobija. Pando is under a state of emergency.

On Monday, the Attorney General´s Office pressed charges of genocide against the governor.

The prefect is accused of promoting violent acts in the municipality of Porvenir last Thursday. The clashes left 15 deaths, more than 70 wounded and 106 missing people, mainly farmers, according to preliminary reports.

According to General Attorney’s Office, former Cobija mayor Miguel Becerra and Senator Abraham Cuellar, of the National Unity party, will testify in the trial against the prefect.

The Public Ministry had been questioned by the Government for its passivity regarding the violent acts that took place in Pando and other regions such as Santa Cruz, Tarija and Beni. Other witnesses at the trial include farmers and their relatives, victims of the attacks, including Dionisio López and Roberto Tito.

Lopez told Prensa Latina that paramilitary groups, snipers, and Brazilian and Peruvian assassins hired by Fernandez shot selectively at farmers in Porvenir last Thursday, while they were on their way to attend a rally in support of the government of President Evo Morales.

He added that he was on the bridge (of the town of Tres Barracas) when helpless, unarmed people were shot to death.

Republished from Prensa Latina
Posted by Bolivia Rising on Wednesday, September 17, 2008