WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), and U.S. Representatives Carlos Giménez (R-FL-28), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), and Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL-26) urged President Biden to impose targeted sanctions on human rights violators and promote the rule of law in Bolivia following the recent arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders in Bolivia, including former president Jeanine Anez and former presidential candidates Luis Camacho and Marco Pumari.
“It is in the national interest of the United States to ensure Bolivia respects the rule of law and upholds the human rights of its own people. Therefore, we request the timely imposition of sanctions, as authorized by Section 7031(c) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 against all Bolivian nationals responsible for these gross violations of human rights,” wrote the members.
Read the full letter here or below:
Dear Mr. President,
We write to express grave concern about actions taken by the Government of Bolivia that has targeted political opponents and undermines the rule of law. Multiple recent administrations, under the pretense of upholding justice, have disregarded the right to due process of their political opponents by prosecuting them on unsubstantiated charges of terrorism. It is in the national interest of the United States to ensure Bolivia respects the rule of law and upholds the human rights of its own people. Therefore, we request the timely imposition of sanctions, as authorized by Section 7031(c) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 against all Bolivian nationals responsible for these gross violations of human rights.
On June 10, 2022, a Bolivian court sentenced former Bolivian President Jeanine An~ez to ten years in prison for “resolutions against the constitution” and “breach of duties” related to her assumption of the presidency in 2019, despite the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling endorsing her assumption of the Presidency. More recently, on December 30, 2022, the Bolivian government ordered the detention of Luis Camacho, the governor of Santa Cruz province and former presidential candidate, under terrorism charges for his role in leading protests against Evo Morales’ fraudulent victory in Bolivia’s 2019 elections. Luis Camacho’s running mate in the 2020 elections, Marco Pumari, is also in detention on similar charges.
In response to these arrests, both the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released statements stressing the importance of adhering to the rule of law and assuring due process and transparency in all legal proceedings and condemning this “intense use of the judiciary to persecute free expression of thought and the arbitrary deprivation of people’s liberty for political reasons in the region.”
The absence of a robust opposition, civil society and independent media in Bolivia provides an open door for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and other authoritarian regimes to further impose their strategic interests on the South American country and the region. The Bolivian people should have the ability to rigorously evaluate and debate the merits of investment proposals that the CCP would rather negotiate behind closed doors. As such, it is imperative that the United States hold accountable those Bolivian human rights abusers that violate the fundamental freedoms of Bolivia’s opposition candidates, and their supporters.
We thank you for your attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.