March 22, 2021

Risch, Menendez, Rubio, Durbin Call on Bolivian Government to Recommit to Democracy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today released the following statement after the arrest of former Interim President Jeanine Áñez and other former officials in Bolivia:

“We are concerned about the recent detentions of former senior officials in Bolivia. In 2019, the United States Senate adopted two resolutions in support of democratic elections and a peaceful transition of power in Bolivia, and expressing serious concerns about widespread irregularities in the October 2019 elections. The bipartisan messages called on the Government of Bolivia to respect established democratic norms that are threatened by new efforts to politicize the judiciary and target former government officials. We reaffirm our support for the work of the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States that observed the elections in Bolivia in October 2019, and the mission that carried out the comprehensive audit of said electoral process.

“The November 2020 presidential election gave Bolivian political parties an opportunity to renew their commitment to democracy and tolerance. However, recent events appear to signal a return to the politics of the past. We therefore urge Bolivian authorities to uphold their country's national and international human rights laws and commitments. Additionally, we encourage the Biden Administration to use diplomatic channels and send a clear message to the Bolivian government on the need to preserve democratic order for the future of the Bolivian people and the stability of the Americas.”