Evo Morales Accuses Opponents of Massacre


9-15-08, 9:12 am

La Paz, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian President Evo Morales described as a massacre the murders of about 16 people in the northern department of Pando, where a state of emergency was declared.

The president said the situation in that region and its capital, Cobija, was very serious, and assured that no clashes took place there, but a massacre of farmers by Peruvian and Brazilian hired assassins.

At a press conference in Palacio Quemado, Morales pointed out that those events are crimes against humanity, and the Government had the obligation to act and have its authority be felt in that region.

Morales noted that the state of emergency is aimed at protecting the people's lives, and denied the possibility of taking a similar measure in other regions of the country if the opposition stops seizing public buildings.

If the (opposition) prefects return the institutions to the State, if they stop attacking the people's patrimony, which are gas pipes and refineries, there is no reason to consider an expansion of the state of emergency to other regions, he stressed.

The Bolivian president noted that in light of the serious developments in Pando, lawyers and experts in legal matters told him that if the state of emergency was not declared in that department he might be held responsible for the events and be tried.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Walker San Miguel explained that the decision was made as a result of the many murders committed by criminal gangs and the atmosphere of disorder and unrest in the region.

The measure bans citizens from carrying any kinds of firearms or knives, holding unauthorized meetings, taking measures of pressure and carrying out other regular activities.

From Prensa Latina