Protests Escalate The Week Before Bolivia’s Presidential Election

Activists call for the attorney general´s resignation amid claims of corruption

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Autumn Spredemann
Autumn Spredemann
I´ve traveled the world working as a freelance journalist, blogger, and English teacher. I specialize in remote travel, obscure cultures, and politics.

BOLIVIA. Sucre. Black smoke permeates the air just one block away from 25 de Mayo Square in the nation´s historic capital. The smell of burning rubber and chemicals is thick while protesters outside Fiscal General (Attorney General) Juan Lanchipa´s office demand his resignation. 

“Pedophile resignation” is what the demonstrators want 

Since August, protesters have gathered peacefully outside the office of the Fiscalia insisting that Lanchipa move forward with legal proceedings against former president Evo Morales. On 25 Aug. it was announced by the ministerio publico that the birth certificate naming Morales as the father of a minor girl´s child was authentic. This announcement came as another blow to the already tarnished reputation of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party, of which Morales was president for almost 15 years.

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Lanchipa was appointed by congress under the administration of Morales. Numerous accusations have been made claiming the attorney general refuses to move forward with the charges of rape and pedophilia because the MAS party may return to power after next week´s presidential election.

Police controlling the perimeter as protest fires burn.
Photo credit: Autumn Spredemann

Also read: New Evidence Links Former Bolivian President To Underage Sex Scandal

La Resistencia is responsible for ruinous demonstrations

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Protesters from the activist group La Resistencia arrived from Cochabamba and Santa Cruz this week to increase the pressure on Lanchipa to resign. The group was formed during last year´s revolution, in which they gained notoriety for an armed counter-assault against cocaleros from Chapare who attacked Cochabamba.

Since then, La Resistencia has remained active in protesting government officials who have been involved with corruption under the Morales administration. Their tactics are considered too aggressive, even destruction, by some.

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The MAS has accused the activist organization of being a para-militaries. However, the group claims no formal training or radical agenda beyond wanting corrupt politicians brought to justice.

Protester standing on one of several graffiti messages demanding “pedophile Lanchipa resign.”
Photo credit: Autumn Spredemann

Lanchipa refuses to step down

Many residents in Sucre have expressed anger through social media at the defacing of a historic colonial building during the protest yesterday.

Secretary-General Edwin Quispe issued a statement that Lanchipa has no intention of resigning from office. On the contrary, the scrutinized attorney general announced his intention to press charges against the members of La Resistencia involved with the vandalism and destruction of historic property. Lanchipa also intends to press charges for harassment. To date, the attorney general has not issued a statement addressing the accusations leveled against him.

Police outside the Fiscalia building. Photo credit: Autumn Spredemann

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