A Bolivian university student named María Alejandra Salinas has been arrested based on charges of diffusing critiques against Bolivia’s interim government.
In November, Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned with the explanation that he did so after learning police were ordered to arrest him illegally. He, along with supporters, dubbed it “a coup.” A time of uncertainty and turmoil for the Bolivian people ensued. In addition, there is also confusion online as discourse surrounding the event has been centered on whether the regime change even was a coup and if it was backed by the United States government.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented a massive bot campaign to support the far-right military coup in Bolivia— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) December 30, 2019
At least 68,000 fake accounts were created, posting over 1 million tweets from Nov. 9-17 – before, during, and after the couphttps://t.co/wFxHNJMlwL
To counter the possibility of state media, Salinas operated as an administrator of a leftist meme account on Facebook known as Suchel. The page quickly gained over 10,000 followers after conservative Senator Jeanine Añez Chavez became Bolivia’s interim president.
On Dec. 28, Salinas announced through social media she had decided to terminate Suchel out of fear for her safety and the safety of her family after receiving multiple death and rape threats.
With traditional media immediately controlled by the "sellout press," Bolivians were forced to turn to social media for real news. 1 info/humor account–Suchel–quickly gained ~10k followers— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) December 28, 2019
But now its owner has to close it to stop the rape/death threats against her & her family. pic.twitter.com/bvnvxrFfIh
Student and leftist feminist blogger Alejandra Salinas has been detained with baseless claims of inciting.— DMV Bolivia Solidarity Network (@dmvBolivia) January 2, 2020
Her blog Suchel had been critical of the post-coup government. Repression and silencing at its finest. #TodosSomosAleSalinas#BoliviaEnDictadura https://t.co/fmgRFC8q2N
Salinas was accused of instigating violence through content on Suchel. “They say that I promote hate, indoctrinate people. This is just a page that doesn’t even reach 10% of the population in Bolivia I have no power over people,” Salinas said in response to the accusations.
Since her arrest on Dec. 31, La Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in Bolivia publicly condemned Salinas’s detention as a major blow to free speech in the country.
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H/T Página Siete