Evo Accuses US of Conspiracy in Bolivia in the Ostreicher Case

The president says that Washington is not only trying to obstruct the change process, but it also aims to stop the terrorism case, which continues after a separatist attempt

President Evo Morales accused the U.S. Embassy yesterday of using the extortion case and U.S. citizen Jacob Ostreicher to obstruct the process of change in Bolivia, as well as ending the terrorism proceedings that are continuing over an alleged attempt at separatism. During his speech at the inaugural ceremony for the 2013 judicial year at the Supreme Court of Justice, the head of state referred to the extortion network that was broken up in November.

The extortion network, according to the interior minister, was embedded within that office and the office of the presidency. It would pressure those who were involved in certain judicial proceedings. The case of Ostreicher — accused of armed uprising —was denounced because $50,000 was requested to obtain his freedom.

Morales declared that the U.S. Embassy is “cowardly” for using a U.S. citizen to try to curb the process of change that Bolivia is going through. He added that they will not be able to because the Bolivian people know exactly what the issues are.

Legacy: Morales maintains that the topic of extortion, which has always existed in the country, along with delays of justice, is a topic of discussion these days because it is a legacy of the colonial system. “The problem is that no government has been able to expose these investigations and deliver them to the state prosecutor,” he indicated, adding that it is the obligation of the government to end the wrongdoing.

“There are internal and external enemies here using extortion to politically assault the process. It is not that we are asleep, we will not fall asleep — the legal battle for justice is your duty, the political battle is my duty, and we will meet head-on anyone who attempts to damage the process of change from inside the country or outside,” expressed the head of state in the presence of top governmental and judicial authorities.

The president also lamented that some who are resentful of the process are the empire’s best tool. “That is why I would say that we are not sleeping and why I agreed to become president, to enter into politics, to go from a social struggle to an electoral struggle, convinced that the ideological, social and cultural battle, and the battle over policy is permanent.”

The leader pointed out that the U.S. diplomatic mission aims to use the extortion case to end the trial against more than 30 individuals in the terrorism case, also known as the Rozsa case.

“Right now the justice system must execute justice against those who attempted to divide Bolivia, and certain agents of the empire are using the topic of extortion to suppress, silence or end these proceedings on the division, the splitting up of Bolivia,” he affirmed.

In 2009, an elite group of police carried out an operation at the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz, taking the lives of Eduardo Rózsa, Árpad Magyarosi and Michael Dwyer, while Mario Tádic y Elöt Tóásó escaped unharmed and were preventively incarcerated while facing trial. The prosecution’s investigation established that this was a terrorist cell whose purpose was to divide Bolivia. More than 30 people, including leaders from Santa Cruz, were detained and are currently facing criminal charges.

Changes in the Justice System

Structure: “At this point, it is not like before. It has changed its form with a new peasant, indigenous core: ponchos and petticoats, but also, in this multicultural state, coats and ties — and everyone is knowledgeable about justice,” said the head of state.

Morales Calls for the Justice System to Make the Changes Felt

President Evo Morales asserted that the government and the judicial authorities must contribute to the profound transformation in the justice system that is being felt by the Bolivian people. “The most important task doesn’t have to do with how this change is seen, but how it is felt by the Bolivian people. That is the enormous responsibility that we have right now,” said the highest leader during his speech at the inaugural ceremony of judicial year 2013.

Yesterday, for the first time, the reports on the management of the Judiciary Council, the Agrarian Environmental Tribunal and the Supreme Court of Justice were presented jointly. Each president of these three judicial bodies highlighted their achievements their first year after being elected judicial leaders by a popular vote in 2011.

At the end of the formal ceremony, President Morales and the other magistrates and presidents of the judiciary danced in the Tribunal’s hall to the rhythm of the tarqueada, interpreted by an indigenous group. Minister of Institutional Transparency and the Fight against Corruption Nardi Suxo also joined the impromptu party, although she declined to make any statements.

Guerrero Proposes Restructuring the Office of the Prosecutor

State Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero discarded the work of his predecessor, Mario Uribe, after denouncing him as a corrupt extortionist who received a public prosecutor without authorization. Guerrero proposed a new institutional structure to clean up the image of the prosecutor’s office. Guerrero made the statements during the inaugural ceremony of the prosecutorial year in the presence of local authorities and Minister of Justice Cecilia Ayllón. This publication was unable to locate Uribe for his version.

“The State Prosecutor’s office, which has gone through a process of de-institutionalization, has become weakened. It is an entity with a lack of authority that does not have the minimal procedures and administrative regulations for fiscal management or control within this long-standing institution,” he expressed.

During his informational speech about the period between Oct. 23 and Dec. 31, Guerrero made a diagnosis of the institutional economic situation and infrastructure of the State Prosecutor’s office. “We found the State Prosecutor’s office to be weak and without the institutional capacity to respond to criminal prosecution or implement criminal policies in the country. It is stigmatized by corruption, extortion and the delay of justice,” added the leader.

Faced with this diagnosis, the State Attorney General announced that this month hearings on all the cases that were rejected or dismissed will begin. A team of attorneys will review each case to see if the prosecutors acted within the law or if they were partial to individual or collective interests. He also identified as a challenge the implementation of a new prosecutorial career track to train professionals.

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