Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bolivia Weekend News: On The Rule of Law

On Sunday, two noteworthy pieces of news appeared in La Razon. The first has to do with the arrest of the ex-president of the Servicio Nacional de Caminos (National Roads Service, SNC), Jose Maria Bakovic. The second has to do with the president approval ratings.

Regarding the first, Bakovic was arrested and sent to prison without charges, other than Evo Morales saying that there was corruption in the SNC and that he hoped Bakovic was sent to prison. As we know by now, Evo Morales has the custom to speak first and think later. Two examples that come to mind are those against Banana exporters and against the US, because of the bombings.

Human Rights noticed some irregularities. First, Bakovic is old enough not to be imprisoned while being tried. Even the judge in charge recognized that Bakovic would not escape during the trial if he was not imprisoned. And second, the habeas corpus writ presented by Bakovic's lawyers was denied by the judge. This second point is an extremely rare occurrence, as I understand. Obviously, the prosecution is downplaying these occurrences.

So, why was Bakovic imprisoned? Signs point to Executive interference in the Judiciary. After all, the President of the Republic has publicly expressed his wish of Bakovic going to jail before any charges against the accused are known. The opposition is, in the meanwhile, too concerned with the constituent assembly to notice. Why is the President acting in this way? The easy answer points to shameless populism. Evo wants the people to know who is in charge, and, according to the latest polls (here comes the second story), people is reacting. Indeed, the latest polls by Apoyo, Opinion y Mercado shows that Evo's approval rate is 80% in the central axis (La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz).

Evo is deemed as a threat to democracy and the rule of law in most of the Bolivian Blogosphere. However, while most people is waiting for the Constituent Assembly to take place in order for Evo to kill democracy, few are noticing that the rule of law is weaker by the day.




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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Mr. Bakovic still in prison? I don't read Spanish so I cannot find out from latest news from Bolivia....

4:24 PM  

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