Bolivia: activists disrupt Human Rights Day confab

A group of Bolivian activists, led by human rights campaigner Olga Flores, disrupted the proceedings at the Central Bank auditorium in La Paz Dec. 10, where official commemorations were underway for International Human Rights Day. Protesters shouted out demands that Sacha Llorenti step down as Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, accusing him of having ordered repression of indigenous protesters at the town of Chaparina when he was interior minister in September 2011. The protesters at Chaparina were holding a cross-country march in defense of the TIPNIS, a national park and indigenous reserve that the government of President Evo Morales sought to build a highway through. "This act is a farse," Flores said at the ceremony. "In Bolivia, human rights are not respected." Teresa Zubieta, president of La Paz section of the official Permanent Assembly of Human Rigths, who had been presiding at the event, responded by accusing Flores of being in league with the Movimiento Sin Miedo, a right-wing opposition group. (Erbol, Eju!, Dec. 11; ANF, Dec. 10)

Also on Dec. 10, the dissident Aymara organization CONAMAQ reported once again that the group's office in La Paz had been attacked by Morales supporters. CONAMAQ charges that the Morales government has divided their organization by setting up a parallel group of the same name, but controlled by the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). According to the report, a group of some 100, many inebriated, pushed against the office's door, demanding entry, and then began throwing rocks and beating the door with clubs. A group of the special National Police riot squad, UTOP, reportedly stood by and did not interfere. A similar attack on the office was reported in September. The original CONAMAQ leaders now call their organization "organic CONAMAQ," and deny that the pro-government faction is made up of legitimate indigenous leaders. (CONAMAQ statement, Dec. 11 via