Bolivia

Bolivian, Colombian, and Brazilian prosecutors join in LaMia crash investigation

Attorney Generals from Colombia and Brazil arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on 7 December 2016 to meet with Bolivian Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero investigate the circumstances of the LaMia crash. The commission of attorneys decided to arrest the airline's General Manager, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, after raiding the company's offices (Los Tiempos). The LaMia plane crash took place on 28 November and left 71 dead near Medellín, Colombia. Among the dead were members of the Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense. In Bolivia, attorneys are investigating the crimes of breach of duty and threats against security from a means of transport. Several of the accused also include Celia C., a Bolivian aviation authority employee who noticed irregularities in the flight, but failed to report them to her superiors. In Colombia, officials have also initiated charges against airport operators for culpable homicide (La Razón).

Peru helps Bolivia improve Internet access

Bolivia will be able to access a fiber optic network from the Pacific Ocean with facilities provided from the Peruvian government's support. This was part of one of the agreements finalized on 4 November 2016 between the two nations during their Binational Cabinet (La Razon). Peru's Vice President and Minister of Transportation Martin Vizcarra said both countries will exchange regulatory experiences in terms of information and communication technologies. President Evo Morales expressed his gratitude for the access as it would help Bolivia have faster and cheaper internet for the population and also build a better communication system (Hoy Bolivia). 

Bolivian delegation finalizes agreements with Peru

Technical committees from Bolivia and Peru began meetings on 1 November 2016 in Scure to finalize the signing of various agreements, such as strengthening business and advancing the Bioceanic train project. Peruvian Ambassador to Bolivia Benjamin Chimoy emphasized the importance of the bilateral meeting, saying allows for an evaluation of the achievements from previous accords. The current Presidents of Bolivia and Peru, Evo Morales and Pablo Kuczynski, respectively, alongside their respective cabinets are scheduled to meet on 4 November 2016 (La Razon). This will be the Second Binational Peru-Bolivia Cabinet which will conclude with a signed joint declaration. Other topics on the table for discussion include security and energy (La Prensa).

Bolivia's VP highlights economic growth

Speaking at the International Congress for Latin American Economic Thought on 27 October 2016 in Cochabamba, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro García Linera stated Bolivia has the best functioning economy in Latin America, as it generates sustainable growth and has broad coverage to improve the population's quality of life (La Razón). García added the past few years have seen annual growth between 4 and 5 percent, and increases in GDP from US$9 to US$36 billion. The Vice President also said that after gas and mining, public businesses and taxes are the sectors that generate the most state resources. According to Mónica Bruckmann, an expert from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Bolivia is in transition from an economy dependent on natural resources to a more industrialized economy (La Prensa).

Bolivian Prosecutors demand Doria Medina's arrest

Bolivia’s Public Minister has requested the detention of businessman and National Unity Party (UN) Leader Samuel Doria Medina. The charges are for breach of duties with Focas, to be explained in a public hearing on 3 November 2016. Focas, a loan system from the U.S. to Bolivia, was canceled and became a private foundation per request of the U.S. (La Prensa). Medina, along with nine other former politicians, diverted public funds from Focas for unauthorized use. The Prosecutor General presented a formal charge against the accused on 13 October 2016 (La Razon).

Bolivia and Peru to discuss construction of Bioceanic Train

President Evo Morales confirmed Bolivia and Peru will construct the Central Bioceanic Train, which will connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Morales said it will be discussed in a meeting with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on 4 November 2016. The train is expected to pass through the Bolivian cities of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Oruro, La Paz, and Ilo (Los Tiempos). Bolivian Finance Minister Luis Arce traveled to Lima to meet with Peru’s Transportation Minister Martin Vizcarra to discuss the project in detail. The project will connect the Atlantic by starting in Puerto Santos, Brazil before hitting Bolivia and finally Peru to unite with the Pacific (La Razon).

“Gas war” protest victims’ hopeful to bring former Bolivian president to trial

Victims of Bolivia’s gas war protests are calling on the international community to demand the extradition of former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozado who currently resides in the U.S. Sanchez de Lozado has been accused of genocide for death of more than 40 people during the October 2003 protests in the city of El Alto. He promptly resigned and fled the country. The gas wars protested gas exports through Chilean ports, resulting in two weeks of intense protests with over 400 injured by military and police (La Razon). Though unsuccessful in their extradition attempts for the past 13 years, Rogelio Mayta, a lawyer representing eight of the victims’ families, has filed lawsuit against Sanchez de Lozado with a hearing set for 2018. In June 2016, a U.S. federal appeals court rejected attempts to block the suit against the former President, explaining that the 1992 Torture Victim Protection Act allows victims’ families to file civil suits. (La Prensa).