Jair Bolsonaro with Covid and Evo Morales accused of terrorism

Two opposing Latin American political leaders make headlines for the day.

Jair Bolsonaro and Evo Morales

Two political leaders star in today’s news. / Photos: Reuters, EFE

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: Jair Bolsonaro con Coronavirus y Evo Morales acusado de terrorismo

Bolsonaro with COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced that in the last test that was carried out he tested positive for Coronavirus, after previously there had already been suspicions that he had, despite the previous 3 tests being negative.

Bolsonaro announced at a press conference that he started presenting symptoms on Sunday but stated that he is currently in good health. "You can see my face, I'm fine, calm down. Thank you to everyone who prayed for me and gave me strength. Those who criticized have no problem, they can continue to do so with ease," the president told reporters.

During the announcement, the Brazilian president took off his mask, ignoring the most important biosafety protocol to avoid exposing others, being less than two meters away from journalists at the press conference.

The news of the contagion comes when Brazil is in second place in number of infections (with 1,623,284 confirmed up to the moment of publication) and deaths (65,487), in both cases after the United States. It also comes after Bolsonaro has consistently challenged WHO guidelines to prevent contagion and to be one of the most skeptical political leaders in the face of the current pandemic. During the months that the world has been in this situation, Bolsonaro has cataloged the virus as a simple "flu", has ignored the use of the mask, has called for demonstrations and has been part of them, has approached and hugged citizens without the slightest care, and he has even gone through the dismissal and resignation of two Health ministers due to their differences in management.

Also read: Dominican Republic: new President in the midst of the pandemic

In fact, at the press conference, he stated: "I confess that I thought I had contracted it a few months ago", but "I did not expect this to have happened to me." Currently, he claimed to be treating himself with chloroquine, a drug that has not yet been proven to work and that he has defended by ordering it to be used in all patients in Brazil.

Bolsonaro will be quarantined for the next few days, while other officials such as Todd Chapman, the US ambassador to Brazil, also had to undergo the test after being with him over the weekend.

Evo Morales before the Prosecutor's Office

The Bolivian Prosecutor's Office accused former President Evo Morales of terrorism and terrorist financing and requested that there be preventive detention. The alleged cases of terrorism have to do with the fact that the ex-president, according to the Prosecutor's Office, would have incited the protests and ordered to block cities while he was in exile in Mexico.

According to what is known as the 'Audio Case', a phone call would be the proof that Morales urged that La Paz be fenced off and roads were blocked amid the political crisis that the country experienced in November 2019. It is heard what the Prosecutor General's Office verified to be the voice of Evo Morales speaking with the coca grower leader Faustino Yucra Yarwui and ordering him to block cities like La Paz and Cochabamba. “Brother, do not let food enter the cities. We are going to block, a real fence … They blocked and now they expel me from Bolivia and there will be a blockade until I win,” is heard in the audio.

The former Bolivian president resigned from the presidency after elections that the opposition claimed it had been fraudulent, so it led to protests in the country, which ended in what he called a coup d'état. After this resignation, Morales had to leave the country and take refuge as a political asylee to Mexico and then to Argentina, where he remains until now.

While this was happening, Jeanine Áñez, a conservative leader who proclaimed herself president while they could offer an election without fraud after changing to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), came to power. However, Morales' supporters cataloged this as a coup d'etat and a dictatorial rise to power, which was the reason why many people took to the streets to demonstrate and demand justice for Evo Morales. During this political crisis, while Morales' opposition asked for justice to be done by clarifying the electoral fraud, the alleged audio where the former president ordered to block the cities took place.

With the allegation that in this audio it was shown that Morales was committing crimes against humanity and terrorism, the interim government of Jeanine Áñez had requested a lawsuit against the former president since November. In December, he had already issued a preventive arrest warrant but he was already in asylum status in Argentina and it didn't evolve. On this occasion, the Prosecutor's Office has issued a formal accusation.

For his part, Evo Morales has in the past cataloged the audio as a montage with the intention of giving him an international political judgment.

Via Twitter, he said it was illegal and unconstitutional to accuse him of terrorism since he wasn't even notified, proving that it is political prosecution. 

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