The return of an opponent evidences the political and judicial struggle in Bolivia

The return this Friday of José María Leyes to the City Hall of Cochabamba, one of the main cities of Bolivia, marks a milestone in the processes that intermingle legal cases with the political struggle in the country between supporters and detractors of former President Evo Morales.

The case of José María Leyes, not yet closed, is denounced by the like-minded Morales as an example of corruption from other parties, while those opposed to the former president put it as a sign of political persecution during the Morales era.


“I am very excited and grateful to God that he gives me the opportunity to regain my freedom,” Laws told the media before entering the municipal building surrounded by his followers, whom he constantly greeted and thanked.

A judge ordered the suspension of his house arrest on the eve of two cases related to the purchase of school bags, for which in 2018 laws he had to leave the post and face periods of detention in a prison and also at his home.

Although the judicial process is maintained, Laws has the possibility of facing it in freedom, although with preventive measures such as rooting and the prohibition of contacting others involved in the investigation.

Before entering his office a white helmet was placed on his head, which symbolizes the administrative or specialists who are in charge of a work.

“We are going to recover all this time,” Laws said in another contact with journalists inside the municipal building, where he pointed to Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) for stealing the possibility for Cochabamba to have his mayor work for the city.

The reinstated mayor mentioned that “there is no legal impediment” to resume his position, since the country’s Constitutional Court has ruled on an appeal for annulment that was favorable and dilutes the suspensions to exercise as mayor.


Laws was part of the Democratic and Social Movement (MDS), the party of the interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, until in October last year, ten days before the national elections then canceled, he was suspended from office.

At that time it was justified that the measure corresponded to a separation of laws as a leader and party militant, for his judicial problems and for the behaviors he had with his political training, which then encouraged the presidential candidacy of Senator Oscar Ortiz.

The Cochabamba mayor joins an appreciable list of Bolivian ex-authorities and opponents of Morales who have returned to public life, many when returning to the country after being exiled for criminal reasons that the previous Government had opened against him.

Among them are the former governors Manfred Reyes Villa, José Luis Paredes, Mario Cossío and the prefect Leopoldo Fernández, who recently recovered his freedom after eleven years of preventive and domiciliary seclusion.


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