On 24 October, Edgar Villegas, systems engineer and analyst, denounced irregularities in Bolivia’s general elections of 20 October on public TV. His study done with other academics pointed to large discrepancies between the preliminary count and the final electoral results that gave victory to incumbent president Evo Morales. Following the TV interview Villegas, his family, and Mónica Ximena Galarza, the journalist who interviewed him, were intimidated. These incidents happened in a wider context of repression by the authorities in response to social protests following the election results.
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Ambassador Pablo Canedo Dorca
Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
3014 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 483-4410
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Minister Romero,
On 24 October, journalist Mónica Ximena Galarza Lorca interviewed analyst Edgar Villegas on TVU (University Television). Edgar Villegas made public data that pointed to irregularities in the counting of the electoral results of the presidential election of 20 October.
Following the interview, Mónica Ximena Galarza Lorca received hundreds of messages on her cell phone from unknown numbers, some threatening to act against her. Edgar Villegas, his family, and Mónica Ximena Galarza told Amnesty International that they were followed by a series of vehicles – both taxis and dark vehicles with tinted windows upon leaving the television studio. Villegas told Amnesty International that during recent days his friends have received phone calls from his cell phone number, even though his telephone has been off since the interview. Strange vehicles and persons have been spotted outside their homes at various times. On 25 October, the website of University Television (TVU) went down for several hours without any explanation, and according to the television station, an alternative website for their channel appeared during this time.
I urge you to guarantee the safety of Edgar Villegas and Mónica Ximena Galarza Lora, as well as that of their families.