Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Latin American Despots


The reality behind the Che Guevara T-shirt fantasy is usually a nasty, intolerant regime. Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia have all caught the sickness. This news item is about one of my former colleagues who is set to be imprisoned... for being rude about the state-run bank.

Bolivia: Evo Morales using the judiciary to silence critics

Former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga has been handed a two-year, eight-month sentence in prison for "defamation and slander" against a state-run Bolivian bank.

Mr Quiroga, formerly president also of IDU’s regional organisation in the hemisphere, the Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA), was sued by the state entity in 2009. The lawsuit against him was brought forward upon his alleging that the bank had become corrupted after being seized by the state and that it was being used to launder Venezuelan funds for leftwing political causes.

The lawyer for the Morales controlled bank has stated that they will seek an even harsher judgement. If the current jail time is ratified, Quiroga would be eligible for a "conditional suspended" sentence and may not be required to serve the time in prison. But if the judge upon the state bank’s appeal boosts the sentence to at least three years and one day, former president Quiroga, Bolivia’s leader from 2001-2002, could be required to serve the sentence in the main La Paz prison.

The ruling by the Morales loyalists in the Bolivian courts also has an impact on the former president’s civic rights. After the sentencing, Quiroga is disqualified from running for the presidency again, unless enabled to do so by the national Senate.

This clearly is a state-sponsored vendetta against a political opponent, aimed at silencing critics and limiting the opposition against the increasingly autocratic regime of Evo Morales.

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