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Opposition Governor Detained by Bolivian Regime: ‘Turning Into a Dictatorship’

Gobernador opositor detenido dice que no se rendirá ante Gobierno de Bolivia, EFE

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The governor of Santa Cruz in Bolivia and opposition leader, Luis Fernando Camacho, arrested and charged with terrorism for a process related to the Bolivian crisis in 2019, said this Sunday that he will not surrender or bow to the government of President Luis Arce, which he accused of being a “dictatorship”.

Camacho’s collaborators, who have been managing his social networks since his arrest, published a handwritten letter in which he himself refers to his imprisonment, his health situation and the responsibilities in the event of any circumstance causing his death.

“Every day that passes, I am stronger than ever, and that despite my illness (…) at no time will it be a reason or excuse to sell or negotiate my principles,” he said in one of the fragments.

The governor of Santa Cruz suffers from a chronic illness which, according to one of his lawyers, “affects his blood vessels” and therefore requires medical treatment, and which, although it was a “reserved matter”, came to light due to his imprisonment.

“What I do make clear is that whether it is due to my illness or any other reason that causes my death, it will have a name and surname, Luis Arce Catacora,” he said, pointing out the responsibility of the Bolivian head of state.

He also mentioned that his stay in prison, for which he blames the government, will not make him surrender or bend and described the ruling Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) administration as a “dictatorship”.

Detention and protests

Last Wednesday, the police arrested Camacho and activated an operation to transfer him from the eastern city of Santa Cruz to La Paz, in the western part of the country, on terrorism charges.

The case was filed in late 2020 by a former MAS legislator in the face of protests in 2019 that denounced electoral fraud in the frustrated elections of that year and which resulted in the resignation of then President Evo Morales, who denounced a “coup d’état” against him.

Early Friday morning, after a hearing lasting many hours, a judge ordered Camacho to be held for four months in a maximum security prison 35 kilometers from La Paz, at an altitude of almost 4,000 meters.

This Saturday, the governor of Santa Cruz fell ill and his lawyers took steps to have him transferred to a medical center and to provide him with the necessary medication for his illness, without success.

In a press release, the General Directorate of the Penitentiary Regime stated that on Saturday a medical board assessed his health condition and concluded that his “health is stable” and that “he does not need to receive specialized treatment”.

However, the prison authorities indicated that a doctor and a nurse were authorized to attend to him at the prison at all times.

Camacho’s arrest and imprisonment have provoked several protests in Santa Cruz, in which demonstrators demanding his freedom have clashed with police who have responded with tear gas.

As a result, several public buildings have been destroyed and set on fire, for which the Government and the civic entities encouraging the protests have blamed each other for these events.