The NLG International Committee (NLG IC), International Association of Democratic Jurists (IADL), and Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ) are sponsoring a joint delegation to Bolivia to investigate the conditions leading up to the May 3 presidential and legislative elections and to assist in the evaluation of whether the elections are transparent and fair. Members of the delegation will serve as accredited election observers and will participate in putting out a report on its findings.
Bolivia suffered a coup d’etat after its October 21, 2019 elections were declared fraudulent by opponents of Morales and his party, the MAS, and Morales was forced out of office.
Conservative opposition leader and second vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, appointed herself as interim president and has since declared herself a presidential candidate. Her supposed “transition” government has vastly overstepped its mandate, unleashing the military on unarmed civilians, attacking the press, arresting MAS government functionaries, and announcing plans to privatize publicly owned companies.
Bolivians on the left, as well as many in the political center, worry that these elections will not be transparent and that the country will face another more permanent coup. They are asking for as many international election observers as possible to participate.
Delegation Dates: Sunday, April 26 to Tuesday, May 5, 2020
- In-Country Costs: $1,500
- Price does not include airfare to/from Bolivia.
- There is also a shorter trip option, from Wednesday, April 29 to Monday, May 4; however, this will not allow for acclimatization in Cochabamba, nor participation in post-election press work. The cost for this is $700.
- Delegation applications should be submitted ASAP and will be reviewed upon submission.
- A $250 deposit will be due one week after applications are accepted and approved.
THE PLAN: After arrival at either El Alto International Airport (elevation 13,000’) near La Paz or Santa Cruz (elevation 1,365’), the delegation will immediately fly to Cochabamba (elevation 8,850’) to acclimatize and explore this city in central Bolivia. Cochabamba is the location of the Water War of 2000, and home to many of Bolivia’s powerful social movements. It is also the site of a police/military massacre of 10 unarmed protestors in November 2019. We will meet with organizations representing and defending human rights in Cochabamba. We will then fly to La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, where we will meet with additional representatives from legal associations, indigenous groups, NGOs including human rights groups, representatives of various political parties, and government representatives to discuss the current political situation and the challenges to a free and fair electoral process. We will then train for and monitor the Bolivian elections, to be held on Sunday, May 3, to the extent allowed by the
Bolivian electoral tribunal. Participants will be expected to take part in media work on Monday, May 4, and take part in preparing a report in the weeks after the trip.
FLIGHTS: Once applications are approved and the trip is confirmed, delegates will arrange to arrive in La Paz or Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Sunday, April 26 and depart from La Paz on Tuesday, May 5. Before purchasing their tickets, delegates must confirm their proposed flight itinerary with the delegation coordinators, who will be purchasing the connecting flights to Cochabamba and need to coordinate arrival times. Participants coming for the shorter delegation also need to coordinate their proposed flight itineraries with the delegation coordinators.
TRIP CONSULTANT: Linda Farthing is a journalist, editor and solidarity activist with 25 years’ experience in Latin America. She covered the 2019 elections and their aftermath for the Guardian, Al Jazeera, Americas Quarterly and NACLA, and has been engaged in human rights work as well. She is author of three books on Bolivia including Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change and is a founder of the Andean Information Network. She has field produced films in Colombia and Bolivia and taught and administered college semester-abroad programs throughout the Americas.
COST: $1,500 ($700 for shorter option). Costs are inclusive of hotels, 3 meals a day, in- country transportation, guiding, translation and honorariums. Prices do not include alcoholic beverages and tips.