Evo Morales and the Kidnapping of a Senator
By Pedro Corzo
Evo Morales has joined the long list of despots in the hemisphere who deny safe passage to refugees so they cannot leave the country, which in returns makes it seem that the government therefore boards a hostage.
Opposition Senator Roger Pinto has been sequestered at the Brazilian embassy in Bolivia for a year now because the Bolivian government will not grant him the necessary authorization to leave the country.
The Bolivian opposition accused the Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota for the situation facing the Senator. Many analysts believe that the Brazilian government has not exerted enough pressure to La Paz in order to grant safe passage to Pinto, which indicates that, mutual protection, an accomplice silence, or a “let it be”, continue to be, apparently, remaining practices among the governments of our continent.
Latin American leaders continue to hide their heads unashamedly -ostriches at least do so in the ground- when their colleagues act against the rights of their own citizens.
There are few exceptions where a Latin American president in office questions or criticizes a counterpart. The double standard, in this case called diplomacy or no intervention, goes above the rule of law, and disregarding the fundamental element of justice, values that should not recognize borders, political alliances or economic elements.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a woman who was persecuted by the military junta in Brazil, should be particularly sensitive to these situations: she has not acted strongly in the defense of political persecution, an attitude somewhat contrary to the Brazilian Constitution which provides the right of asylum in all four articles.
Senator Pinto filed a writ of habeas corpus before the Brazilian Supreme Court so that Rousseff's government guarantee his political asylum which was granted in May of last year.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Senator Álvaro Días denounced Bolivia before the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States, claiming that the Senator, who can only receive family visits, close friends, lawyers and a doctor, may travel to Brazil.
In his statement, Días highlights the criminalization of justice in Bolivia and its dependence on the executive, a regular practice in all countries of the so-called Socialism of the XXI Century.
He also accused President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro García Linera, for Senator Pinto’s situation, who once denounced the government of nepotism, possible involvement of government agencies in drug trafficking, police brutality and of the control exercised by the executive over the Judicial System.
Senator Días accused the Bolivian government of arresting 12 fans of the Corinthians Brazilian football team in retaliation of Brazil guaranteeing the Senators asylum.
The 12 Brazilian fans are detained in Oruro, Bolivia, for their alleged involvement in the death of teenager Kevin Beltran Sword, who was hit by a flare that caused his death, even though another team fan pleaded guilty to the incident.
Several Brazilian lawmakers have expressed concern and interest in the situation of their fellow compatriots who are prisoners in Bolivia. The Foreign Ministers of La Paz and Brasil met in Cochabamba, and agreed to establish a bi-national commission in order to find a solution to the Pinto case. However, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, confirmed the position of his government and said it was not feasible to grant safe passage to a refugee.
Concurrently, President Morales said that the process is in the hands of the courts,
and these are independent, and furthermore; that this case, has “not affected” Bolivia’s relationship with Brazil and relations continue to be “very fluid”.
Collusion between governments is a reality. Let us recall the close collaboration between the military dictatorships in Argentina with the Castro totalitarian regime at the United Nations Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva: The two dictatorships partnered to avoid being convicted of the heinous crimes that they were committing on their people. Two regimes with absolutely antagonistic policies and ideologies were able to support each other in order to survive. The Soviet Union played an important role in this dirty compromise.
Not few rulers consider it important to ignore the abuses and errors of their colleagues, expecting their counterparts to have an equal level of understanding if they saw it compelled to act outside the framework of civil rights. Opportunism has affected the foundations of hemispheric solidarity, and therefore the credibility of politicians and citizens' trust in democracy.