The Bolivian government detained and tried to arrest Argentine deputy Federico Fagioli when he arrived at the El Alto de La Paz airport, invited by the opposition Legislative Assembly to observe the elections this Sunday. Around 60 police officers acted "on superior orders" against the deputy, who was first isolated in an airport facility and then dragged into a car that he refused to enter. The officers also verbally abused and used tear gas against the Argentine delegation of Argentine parliamentarians with whom Fagioli was traveling. She opposed the police actions to get her colleague out of the airport. An Argentine diplomat accredited to Bolivia was knocked to the ground and beaten there for trying to help his countrymen.
The Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo, rejected that the parliamentarian had been arrested and attributed this interpretation to a "current of disinformation." “Mr. Fagioli was told that he was not welcome to Bolivia and to return to his country. You could take it to the border or wait for a plane to return, "he said.
Fagioli was in Bolivia in November of last year, immediately after the overthrow of President Evo Morales, who is now in exile in Argentina. She was part of the so-called Delegation of Argentina Solidarity with Bolivia, which then came to the country to evaluate respect for human rights and issued a highly critical report regarding the repressive actions that took place during the first stage of the Government of Jeanine Añez. Murillo pointed out that Bolivia considered Fagioli "persona no grata" because the report stated that the Bolivian police had "murdered people and raped girls in El Alto." He also said that the Argentine deputy had "lied" when informing that he was coming to Bolivia for the first time and for "tourism."
Last night, when the situation of the electoral observers at the airport seemed desperate, the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, published a tweet in which he denounced that “Argentine legislators were mistreated when they arrived in La Paz to fulfill their duties as observers of the elections next Sunday ”. And in which he warned that it was "direct responsibility of the de facto government of Jeanine Añez to preserve the integrity of the Argentine delegation." Shortly after, Deputy Fagioli was released and the delegation was able to move to a hotel. According to Murillo, he was allowed to stay in the country at the request of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
What happened could be known from the videos published by Argentines who asked for help. The Bolivian Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz, demanded "respect for human rights and the framework of legality." He also asked "to identify the authority that has ordered these violations," according to the newspaper. Duty.
This has not been the only incident in which the electoral observers sent by foreign left parties to the Bolivian elections have been involved. The day before, an official from the Ministry of Government had informed the press of the arrival of four Spanish delegates who "are friendly with the Movement for Socialism," the party of Evo Morales. The official had declared that he hoped that they "do not come to convulse." Immediately afterwards, the Migration Directorate leaked to a journalist the declaration of entry into the country and the travel photographs of these four Spaniards, including the deputies of Podemos Gerardo Pisarello and Lucía Muñoz Dalda.
The actions against the observers that the Añez government does not want in the country were openly anticipated a few days ago by Murillo. He tweeted on October 15: “We warn agitators and people who seek to generate violence, they are not welcome. We put them on a plane or behind bars. Behave, we know who you are and where you are ”.
Relations between Bolivia and Argentina are in acute crisis since the election of Peronist Alberto Fernández as Argentine president and the subsequent refuge of Evo Morales in Buenos Aires. Fernández does not recognize Añez as the constitutional ruler of the country. The Bolivian Foreign Ministry has complained several times about the alleged interference of the Argentine government in Bolivian affairs, arguing that Fernández refuses to prohibit Morales from giving his opinion on Bolivian politics. In addition, the Argentine authorities have collaborated so that Bolivian immigrants can vote this Sunday with an enthusiasm that has aroused the sensitivity of the Bolivian Government.
In these elections the vote abroad, especially from Argentina, can play a key role. It represents around 3% of the electoral roll, a percentage that could define the victory of the MAS in the first round if the figures within the country were only slightly insufficient to give this result, and if the traditional inclination of emigrants to support the majority of the this game. To win in the first round, the MAS, which leads the polls, needs 40% of the votes and a 10 percentage point advantage over the second.