In Bolivia, at least 23 people have died amid escalating violence since President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, resigned at the demand of the military last week.
Growing unrest quickly turned to violent chaos on Friday outside Cochabamba when military forces opened fire on indigenous pro-Morales demonstrators, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100.
The violence began soon after thousands of protesters — many indigenous coca leaf growers — gathered for a peaceful march in the town of Sacaba and then attempted to cross a military checkpoint into Cochabamba.
Amid this escalating violence and reports of widespread anti-indigenous racism, protesters are demanding self-declared interim President Jeanine Áñez step down.
Áñez is a right-wing Bolivian legislator who named herself president at a legislative session without quorum last week.
She said that exiled socialist President Morales, who fled to Mexico after he was deposed by the military on November 10, would not be allowed to compete in a new round of elections and would face prosecution if he returned to Bolivia, which has a majority indigenous population.
U.N. special envoy Jean Arnault on Sunday called for talks between Jeanine Áñez and leaders of Morales’s political party Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, though a date has not been set.
From Cochabamba, Democracy Now! speaks with Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network and a researcher, activist and analyst with over two decades of experience in Bolivia.
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