Jeanine Anez, who succeeded Evo Morales as interim president for a year in 2019, has denounced the move as “political persecution.”
Bolivian police have arrested former interim President Jeanine Anez on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy, a government minister said Saturday.
Anez replaced ex-President Evo Morales in November 2019 when he fled the country amid widespread protests against his reelection to an unconstitutional fourth term.
Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, which is now back in power, has claimed that Anez and her allies promoted his ouster after almost 14 years in power.
“I inform the Bolivian people that Mrs. Jeanine Anez has already been apprehended and is currently in the hands of the police,” said Interior Minister Carlos Eduardo del Castillo in Twitter and Facebook statements.
The opposition has slammed the actions of the government, with one deputy, Edwin Bazan, saying the MAS party had “mounted a judicial operation to implant the lie that there was a coup d’etat when what there was an [electoral] fraud.”
Anez herself wrote in a Twitter posting before the arrest that the “political persecution has begun.”
Media reports said two former ministers who backed Anez’ one-year caretaker government were also in police detention.
At the time she took over the presidential post, Anez was the most senior Senate official available, with several of Morales’ allies in senior posts having fled amid the violent protests, which left 36 people dead.
The leftist Morales himself at the time called her “a coup-mongering right-wing senator” who had declared herself interim president “without a legislative quorum.”
The interim authorities tried to take legal action against Morales and some members of his government, accusing them of rigging an election and suppressing dissent.
But Bolivia is now again ruled by the MAS after it won an easy victory in a general election in October 2020. Luis Arce, Morales’ chosen successor, is now president, and Morales himself has returned home and taken over leadership of the ruling party, which he founded.