Right-wing Bolivian governor Camacho charged with 'terrorism'
Bolivian Interior Minister announces that Santa Cruz governor Camacho was arrested and flown to La Paz for questioning.
Bolivian police arrested on Wednesday Luis Fernando Camacho, governor of the economic powerhouse Santa Cruz region, on "terrorism" charges, which led to street clashes between his supporters and security forces.
"We inform the Bolivian people that the Bolivian police executed an arrest warrant against Luis Fernando Camacho," Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said, adding that Camacho was flown to La Paz, the administrative capital, for questioning.
⚠️ #AHORA ⚠️ Así ingresó el terrorista Luis Fernando Camacho a las celdas de la Policía Nacional en La Paz, se enfrentará a juicio por múltiples delitos cometidos durante el sangriento golpe de Estado en 2019, hay un cordón de seguridad para evitar fuga #Noticias #28Diciembre pic.twitter.com/Zy1nAzzhbB— 🦋 Mყ Boᥣιvιᥲ 🇧🇴 (@MyBolivia) December 28, 2022
Camacho, a former right-wing presidential candidate, was under investigation on several charges, including for an alleged role in the resignation of leftist president Evo Morales in 2019 and for allegedly stirring up protests in Santa Cruz this year.
The public prosecutor's office said Camacho was accused of "terrorism" in relation to efforts to oust Morales, without providing further details.
The charge echoed the arrest and trial of former President Jeanine Anez, who was detained in 2021 and given a 10-year prison term in June for allegedly plotting the toppling of Morales.
The governor's office, meanwhile, claimed that Camacho had been "kidnapped in a completely irregular police operation."
After learning of Camacho's arrest, his supporters barricaded streets in Santa Cruz with paving stones, tree branches, and vehicles to demand his release. They also torched the regional prosecutor's office. No injuries were reported.
Dozens of Camacho's supporters demanding his release flocked to Santa Cruz's two airports in a failed bid to block his transfer to La Paz, prompting the suspension of flights at both airports.
BOLIVIA- URGENTE. seguidores del gobernador secuestrado de Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, toman varios aeropuertos. Se concentraron en el Trompillo y ViruViru, donde revisaron las aeronaves para ver si en ellas se llevaban al gobernador. pic.twitter.com/Ot4PP3f4hF— Liliana Franco (@lilianaf523) December 28, 2022
Camacho leads the second-largest opposition bloc in the legislative assembly. He had led demonstrations that turned violent against Morales' election to a fourth term. Morales left office after a coup led by the right-wing opposition.
Camacho came third in the presidential elections in October 2020, which were won by leftist Luis Arce.