HomeNewsBriefBolivia Claims Police Riots Are Conspiracy, Ignoring Corruption Issue
BRIEF

Bolivia Claims Police Riots Are Conspiracy, Ignoring Corruption Issue

BOLIVIA / 19 JUL 2012 BY MICHAEL KANE EN

The Bolivian government has claimed that police protests over salaries are aimed at fomenting political unrest, ignoring the larger issue that better paid officers are less likely to be corrupted by organized crime.

On Sunday morning at 5 a.m., the government and representatives of national police body Anssclapol signed a deal after eight hours of negotiations. At the center of the police’s demands is higher pay -- on average, a member of the force makes $194 a month, compared to $300 a month for army sergeants. The agreement gave them an extra 220 bolivianos ($30), a little higher than the offer of 200 bolivianos they rejected last week

Police officers in eight cities across the country have ignored the agreement and continued protests, defying the order of police commander Victor Santos Maldonado. Demonstrators were seen burning copies of the agreement, and the protesters have increased the number of demands from four to 21.

The government of Evo Morales has accused political opponents of using the protests to foment a coup. Interior Minister Carlos Romero claimed that the protesters received a message to “clean out” the current government. The intelligence services warned of a plan to force members of the police to reject the agreement, in the hopes that the police movement would unite with indigenous groups protesting against the construction of a road through their Amazonian homeland.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Morales administration's attempts to link the protests to a supposed conspiracy against the government ignore the larger, institutional issues facing Bolivia’s police.

In early 2011, the country’s former top anti-drug official was arrested in Panama and extradited to the United States on charges of drug trafficking. Other members of Bolivia’s Special Force Against Narcotics have also been accused of being involved in the scheme. The head of the national police was fired in the fallout, while his two successors also fell amid corruption allegations The new police chief is the seventh in the past six years.

Despite attempts to purge the force, such scandals have undermined the police’s credibility. A recent report indicated that 85 percent of crime in cities goes unreported, likely due to a lack of faith in the local police. Vigilante justice, including lynchings of suspected criminals by ordinary citizens, has taken hold throughout the country.

Increased pay for these striking police officers could help alleviate corruption. As Bolivia plays an increasing role in the transcontinental drug trade, public confidence in the police is important for combating organized crime.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 19 MAR 2015

An investigation into Brazil's massive contraband trade highlights the scope of the problem and the modus operandi of smuggling networks…

BOLIVIA / 16 NOV 2012

Bolivia, Peru and Brazil declared that they will create a joint fund using money seized from criminal groups to help…

ARGENTINA / 20 FEB 2019

Since beginning in Brazil with the “Operation Car Wash” (“Operação Lava Jato”) investigation in 2014, the Odebrecht corruption scandal has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…