Tags: Bolivia | Politics

Bolivia Detains, Frees Asylum-bound Allies of Ousted Leader

Saturday, 01 February 2020 12:38 PM

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Two former Bolivian officials headed to asylum abroad with a government guarantee of safe conduct were briefly detained at the airport on Saturday, but were finally allowed to go free.

The detention of former Mining Minister César Navarro and the former deputy minister of rural development, Pedro Damián Dorado, momentarily inflamed the conflict between partisans of ousted leftist President Evo Morales and the conservative interim government that replaced him.

The two had taken refuge at the Mexican ambassador's residence in La Paz after Morales resigned under pressure in November, and the new government finally agreed to grant them safe passage to fly to Mexico.

But police detained them at the airport before dawn Saturday. Navarro is accused of electoral fraud in the disputed October presidential vote in which Morales claimed to have won reelection, while Dorado was wanted on charges of influence peddling and misuse of public goods.

Morales, exiled in neighboring Argentina, quickly shot off a tweet saying that even in the worst dictatorships, safe conduct passes were respected." Even Morales' election rival, former President Carlos Mesa, urged the government to reverse course. Argentina's government also condemned the detention.

The Foreign and Interior Ministries soon reiterated their pledge of safe conduct and the two men were released.

Morales, who governed Bolivia for nearly 14 years, resigned the presidency in November when the police and army withdrew support after several weeks of protests over allegations of fraud in the Oct. 20 presidential election.

The new government led by Jeanine Áñez has moved to prosecute several of Morales' associates and has reversed many of his policies ahead of scheduled elections on May 3. Morales is barred from that election.

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Two former Bolivian officials headed to asylum abroad with a government guarantee of safe conduct were briefly detained at the airport on Saturday, but were finally allowed to go free.The detention of former Mining Minister César Navarro and the former deputy minister of...
Bolivia,Politics
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2020-38-01
Saturday, 01 February 2020 12:38 PM
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