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Appeal in Bolivia against acquittal of accused racist in Bolivia

La Paz, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian lawyer Marcelo Aliaga confirmed today that he will appeal the decision of a judge, who acquitted the former Santa Cruz civic officer Rómulo Calvo of the crime of incitement to racism, in the case known as Wiphala.

“The legislators I represent (of the Movement Towards Socialism) have already ordered me to appeal this sentence, because they were not satisfied,” said the lawyer in an interview to the state channel Bolivia TV.

Calvo was sentenced to two years for affronting the Wiphala, a patriotic symbol, but was acquitted of the charge of incitement to racism and discrimination.

According to the jurist, during last Tuesday’s hearing, the jurisdictional authority analyzed the evidence and gave its conclusions to issue its sentence, but the verdict has yet to be read in its entirety, after which the parties may present their appeals.

The complainants demanded that the ex-civic be sentenced to five years in prison, and on that basis they will appeal in the hope that the extremist from Santa Cruz will also be tried for the crime of incitement to racism for acts committed in September 2021.

Aliaga recognized that the sentence for the insult to the patriotic symbols is “exemplary”, although the accused could submit to a judicial pardon or receive another penitentiary benefit.

However, he reiterated that the claim concerning incitement to racism will be established.

The Ministry of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization informed that it will also appeal the judicial ruling against Calvo so that a higher sentence is imposed, according to its general director of the Fight Against Racism, Ivar Villarroel. “It has been demonstrated, it has been proven that the Wiphala has been vexed, outraged, there are images of the actions promoted by that authority”, said Villarroel in an interview with Radio Panamericana.

During the ceremonial acts for the Santa Cruz anniversary in 2021, the now imprisoned governor, Luis Fernando Camacho, abruptly suspended the central act minutes before it was the turn of the vice-president, David Choquehuanca, who was then acting head of state, to intervene.

Camacho responded to Choquehuanca’s initiative to have the Wiphala hoisted on one of the masts, and after the suspension of the act, Camacho’s followers and civic supporters lowered it amid incidents.

Calvo, on the other hand, described the patriotic symbol as “a rag” and discarded that it represents Santa Cruz, for which the Santa Cruz Prosecutor’s Office presented in April 2022 the formal accusation against the ex-civic for the crimes of incitement to racism, discrimination and insult to the Wiphala.


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