Bolivia: terrorism charges for autonomy leader?

Bolivia's government said Nov. 30 it is preparing "terrorism" charges against Branko Marinkovic, a leader of the autonomy movement in the country's four hydrocarbon-rich eastern departments, in connection with a wave of strikes and protests earlier this year in which at least 17 people were killed. "We have enough evidence in this investigation to allow us to link Mr. Marinkovic with the acts of terrorism that occurred in several parts of the country in September," government minister Alfredo Rada told state radio. "What Mr. Marinkovic has to do is prepare his defence and not try to run."

Twenty people, including a governor (Leopoldo Fernández of Pando department), are already behind bars for the violence in the four opposition-controlled departments. Marinkovic and Santa Cruz governor Ruben Costas led the so-called Half Moon group of eastern departments, also including Tarija, Beni and Pando, seeking autonomy from the central government and greater control over gas, oil and agricultural resources. (Reuters, Nov. 30)

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