Morales adviser faces right-wing attacks

Federico Fuentes, Green Left Weekly

Walter Chavez, an adviser to Bolivian president Evo Morales, has found himself in the centre of a well-orchestrated corporate media campaign aimed at delegitimising the Morales government internationally by linking it to "terrorist" groups. This accusation comes only a week after attempts by the Spanish media to link Morales's party – the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) - with the Basque separatist group ETA.

The campaign was initiated by the right-wing parties in Bolivia, which first raised concerns of Chavez's supposed links to a guerrilla group in Peru. This attack was echoed across the globe as Bolivian and international media outlets spread the false allegation. Within a day, the Peruvian government came out publicly to demand Chavez's extradition on charges of terrorism, and issued an international arrest warrant.

The timing of the charges has exposed the real intent of this campaign. None of the corporate press has asked why the Peruvian government took 15 years to act. Chavez himself has lived in Bolivia since 1992. In 1990 Chavez was arrested on suspicion of being involved with the Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru (MRTA). He was detained for 30 days where he was tortured, then released without charge, because there was no evidence against him.

He fled Peru following the 1992 coup carried out by Alberto Fujimori. In Bolivia, Chavez sought and gained refugee status after presenting his case to the Bolivian government and the United Nations. For 15 years, Chavez made a name for himself in public life as a journalist for numerous newspapers, including La Razon – perhaps Bolivia's most important daily newspaper.

Chavez was also the editor of the Bolivian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, and founded El Juguete Rabioso, an important fortnightly leftist newspaper with wide circulation among the progressive middle classes.

In 2002, Morales asked Chavez to help with his election campaign, a role Chavez played again in the successful 2005 elections in the face of a dirty war waged by all the corporate media against Morales's candidature.

Last March, Chavez was hired under contract by the government as a communications adviser.

During all this time in public life, not once has any of the seven consecutive neoliberal Bolivian governments, nor Peruvian governments, questioned Chavez's status in Bolivia. On January 31, Chavez requested that Morales grant him "indefinite leave" so he could return to Peru to fight the charges, and "clarify and guide through proper legal channels the unjust and slanderous process against me".

A letter of solidarity with Chavez has been launched to defend him and the Morales government against this right-wing campaign.

Letter of Solidarity with Walter Chavez

In the last few days, some media outlets in this country and abroad have lent themselves in order to launch an unusual and virulent campaign to discredit the Peruvian journalist and intellectual Walter Chavez, where adjectives have taken primacy over argument.

We the undersigned want to:

1) Demonstrate our total and open support for the journalist Walter Chavez, victim of a shameful media lynching carried out by right wing sectors.

2) Denounce the fact that this campaign, as well as attempting to damage the stature of Chavez, is part of a bigger action aimed at delegitimising the current government, questioning the people who are in solidarity with it and working in favor of the social transformations.

3) Record that Walter entered the country legally in 1992 and was received as a political refugee in line with international conventions signed by Bolivia in front of the United Nations. The United Nations Agency for Refugees evaluated that Chavez was being politically persecuted in his country (they jailed him and had to free him a month later due to the lack of evidence against him), and gave him asylum, just like 100s of citizens from other countries.

Those who accuse Chavez of being responsible for the acts of violence that shook the country in the last few weeks as throwing smoke over those who are truly responsible for the violence and social destabilization.

Walter Chavez, founder of El Juguete Rabioso and director of the Bolivian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, is a valuable figure amongst intellectuals and has proved through his actions his total devotion in favor of the construction of a better future for Bolivia. For all this he counts with our absolute solidarity.

Translated from Bolpress.

Those who would like to sign onto this letter can write to or, mentioning your full name and current occupation


Bolivia Rising said...

list of signatures to letter of solidarity published in La Epoca

Ramón Rocha
Gastón Ugalde
Andrés Gómez
Miguel Lora
Ricardo Bajo
Wilson García Mérida
Osvaldo Calle
Luis A. Gómez
Amalia Pando
Rafael Archondo
Carlos Federico Valverde Bravo
Milton Martínez Costas
César Zelada
Jaime Quiroga Carvajal (abogado)
Mireya Sánchez
Pablo Cingolani
Crhistian Sotelo Sueldo (estudiante UNMSM)
Hugo Moldiz
Ernesto Joaniquina Hidalgo, comunicador social
Edgar Ramos Andrade, comunicador, investigador y activista social.
Zulema Espejo Candia, abogada independiente.
Luis Basauri Ponce
Delfín Arias Vargas, periodista de ABI
Ramiro Ramírez Simona, periodista de ABI
Pablo Regalsky CENDA
Jhonny Jaldín
Pedro Susz
Michel Zelada Cabrera, editor de Cultura de Los Tiempos (Cochabamba)
Ruth Eliana Chuquimia, periodista socia de Pulso
Sylvia Carvajal, "Patriotas Unidos"
Willy Bustos Terrazas
Wilbert Villca López
Gonzalo Ordóñez
Gonzalo Gozálvez, Economista
Rosa Elena Gonzales S.
Rolando Tellería Arébalo, Economista, Docente Universitario UMSS
Mauricio Ochoa Urioste, abogado
Raúl Alvarez Ortega, profesor universitario de la UMSS
Soledad Delgadillo A, directora de INCCA
Samuel Jaime Bustillos Vergara, abogado
Luis Fernando Vincenti, Director YPFB
Red Tinku de Cochabamba
Álvaro Rodríguez, Economista
Gabriela Montaño, Doctora
Pablo Stefanoni, Periodista
Hervé Do Alto, Investigador

Del exterior:
Hugo Rodas Morales, profesor universitario en México
Raúl Wiener, Periodista
Sergio Cáceres, periodista
Carlos Gutiérrez (Le Monde Diplomatique Colombia)
Carlos Gonzales Solís, periodista de Perú
Marcelo Saavedra Vargas Group of Support for the Peoples of the Americas
Aurora Tumanischwili Penelón y Guillermo López (CTA Flores, Central de
trabajadores de la Argentina)
Teófilo Ballvé, Editor, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
New York, NY
Adriana Paz, Comite de Solidaridad con Bolivia, Vancouver, Canada
Yásser Gómez. Periodista y editor de la revista Mariategui (Perú)
Federico Fuentes, periodista Green Left Weekly,
Tulio Belzu, Movimiento Patria Libre de Perú
Martín Sivak

Anonymous said...

Get it right!!! You did not even mention the Cuban guy that was sent out of Bolivia a few weeks earlier. He was also in Bolivia for quite a few years and married to a Bolivian and had a child. A list that supported the Cuban from both in and out of Bolivia was 10 times longer then the one I see here.
The diffrence between the Preuvian and the Cuban was that one (Cuban) was against "Evo" and MAS and of course he was not appreciated, so he was shipped to Colombia as fast as they could. It was even declared unconstitutional by the Bolivian court, but since it wasn't in Evo's favor, Evo made fun of what the court said and even the Vice-Pre. said "the Cuban would not return to Bolivia under any circumstance". Don't say that our court is managed by the press.

The Preuvian, just as you have said helped the Gov. out so ofcourse they will pretect him, even though he is wanted by his country. The Cuban apparently has no charge in Cuba, but does owe money. The Cuban Ambassador to Bolivia mentioned that. Tell it right!!!! BOTH SIDES of the coin. You may be left. I like to see you get signatures for the Cuban guy. But ofcourse that would never happen, at lest not from you. Stop attacking the press as you are just as one sided or more so.

The violance that shook the country last month in my city was provocated by MAS followers brought in by "force" and "threats" by syndicate leaders of the Chapare area who are managed by the MAS. The city people were sick of being shoved around, so the reaction started agaist them, which is natrual. If anyone invaded your house and burnt your place, NO matter what your political thinking is, you would throw out the one who is doing harm to you and your house.

Maybe the Cochabamba Governor picked the wrong time and topic to speak about... I think he shouldn't have done so, but... he had every right to do so, even though it pissed of "EVO" Come on BOTH side were wrong to have violence, but the ones who started it was MAS and anyone who has a brain in their heads and saw what was happening here, knows that this is true. No matter how much MAS deny's it and blames Manfred and ofcourse the Press, for everything.
Nice to blame someone or something for your own mistakes, which are many.
As a true >Bolivian< like myself. I am not a right winger, only wants the best for my country Who wants ??? Cubans no matter whom, Peruvians, Venezuelens, North Americans or any one else in our Politics?. If Evo is Nationalistic like he says he is, and we voted for him, let him be so with out intervention of outsiders. We certainly do not need people like you from the left or right to mess with us. We are free.... as a nation and people to think, to act and to live and bring ourselves and our country up...Viva BOLIVIA

Anonymous said...

If you are complaining about the article for not having the facts right you must start by geting your facts rigth in the first place. Did you know that Amauri Sanmartino was not a refugee? He simply got a visa to stay in Bolivia, as many other foreigners do, and he felt confident enough to attack the country that was his host country. Try to that in the US and you will see how quickly you will be kicked out. In the case of Walter Chavez the situation is totally different, he is not an obnoxious character as Amauri, who in the name of freedom wants to oppresse people.

Ama llulla, ama sua, ama kella and the new one ama llunku and for your information we as workers we feel broters and sisters of the working people of the world! So, if the US helps and supports PODEMOS, we will make sure that the European, Northamerican and Latinamerican unions support the government of the peoople.
Jallalla Bolivia!

Bolivia Rising