The Bolivian police have declared themselves in a “state of emergency” to express their rejection of a draft law that gives the government minister, currently Eduardo del Castillo, of Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) command of the institution.
The Sector believes that the Law on the Careers of Generals and the Promotion of Police Officers, which will be debated this Tuesday in the Plurinational Assembly of Bolivia, concerns the Organic Law of the Police. Specifically, Article 11 states: “The police shall report to the President through the Government Minister under Article 252 of the Constitution.”
The chain of command thus forms a scale with four levels: government minister, general commander, deputy commander and non-commissioned officer of the general staff.
According to information gathered by the newspaper ‘Los Tiempos’, the leaders of the National Association of Passive Police Service (Ansppol) made ten comments on the bill, believing that it “pierced” the police organic law dating from 1985 With regard to the government minister and other remarks, they reprimanded the institution’s instructions on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional”.
The representative of Ansppol, Guido Omonte, has announced that the police will mobilize at national level and present their observations to the Chamber of Deputies. Omonte believes the proposal is a response by the MAS to the political crisis of 2019 when the police withdrew from the conflict that led to the resignation of Evo Morales. “This government is very hurt because we turned our back on it in 2019,” he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition criticizes the law as a “patch”. MEP Saúl Lara from the Civic Community (CC) – which is part of the Commission for Security, Armed Forces and Police – has stated that the formation considers it “serious” that the government minister is controlling the police because “this would imply that an instrumentalization “of the body and” would take control.
“It seems to us to be deinstitutionalization and it is very delicate for a civilian to take over the commanding officer,” he added, before stressing that the law “smells of revenge and is humiliation”.
For its part, the MAS legislator Juanito Angulo has stated in statements to Erbol that the initiative aims to ensure and strengthen the institutionalization of the police.