Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bolivia military ‘outraged’ over militia claim




Bolivia military ‘outraged’ over militia claim

Bolivia military ‘outraged’ over militia claim

Bolivia's armed forces hit out at exiled former President Evo Morales on Monday after he said he would introduce armed local militias similar to those in Venezuela if he returns home.

“Bolivia’s people are hurt and our armed forces outraged,” said Defence Minister Luis Fernando Lopez in a press conference.

He said the military rejected “an absolutely terrorist and seditious logic”.

Morales has been accused of terrorism and sedition by the interim government and an arrest warrant has been issued against him.

Morales fled Bolivia – initially to Mexico before settling in Argentina – on November 10 after three weeks of protests against his controversial re-election in a poll widely denounced as rigged.

The interim government of right-wing President Jeanine Anez has banned him from standing in new elections to be held on May 3, but Morales has been angling for a return to political life in Bolivia.

In a recording played on Sunday on Bolivia’s Radio Kawsachum Coca (RKC) – owned by the coca planters union to which he belongs – Morales repeated his belief that he had been the victim of “a coup”.

Morales said it had been a “colossal mistake” for his government not to have a “plan B” that would have allowed his Movement for Socialism party to hold on to power in the face of mounting pressure from opposition demonstrators.

He said he intends to return to Bolivia when campaigning for the elections starts, despite the risk of arrest.

“Before long, if I return to Bolivia, we will have to organise popular armed militias, as Venezuela has done,” Morales said.

He confirmed to Reuters that the recording was genuine, but added that he did not want people to arm themselves with guns.

Lopez, who was previously in the military, insisted: “We’re not going to allow anything.”

Anez said on Twitter that Morales’ statements showed that “peace, reconciliation and democracy were never options for him”.

Morales tweeted that indigenous peasant movements had defended themselves in the past.

“In some regions, it was called a communal guard; In other times: militias. Now, union police or union security. All within the framework of our uses and customs, and respecting the Constitution,” he tweeted.

In Venezuela, about 3.2 million civilians belong to a militia created by former president Hugo Chavez, an ally of Morales and mentor of the country’s current socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Those militias – known as “colectivos” in Venezuela – have been accused by NGOs of carrying out violent oppression against opposition protesters.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last