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Home Letters Letter demanding the freedom of Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores

Letter demanding the freedom of Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dear Editor,
Would Amandala be willing to publish this letter calling for the release of the political prisoner and Afro-Bolivian cocalera union leader, Elena Flores? She has been imprisoned by the coup regime for over a month.

The letter, made public on the 10th of April, was signed by 35 organisations and some 130 people. Those who signed come from Black, African diaspora, Latino and Indigenous organisations, from trade unions, and from grassroots collectives. A number of teachers and students also signed.

They live in Haiti, Belize, Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras, Ghana, the United States, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Kenya, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the United Kingdom, Mexico, El Salvador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brasil and Sri Lanka.

The letter denounces the unjust incarceration of Elena Flores, who is the first woman and first Afro-Bolivian to be elected president of the cocaleros’ union in the Yungas, near La Paz.

She was arrested on March 4 by the Jeanine Añez coup regime that stole elections in October with support from the US, racist oligarchs and Almagro´s OAS. Añez has criminalized leaders of the social movements and the former governing party of Evo Morales, MAS. Añez has ordered paramilitary violence and massacres against Indigenous and Afro-Bolivian campesinos as well as urban workers.

Elena Flores is described as a beloved older sister and long-time union organizer. Since being elected president of the cocalero union in August of last year, “she has been at the forefront of denouncing the Añez regime’s militarization, harsh repression and disregard for democracy. She vows to protect and unify her unionized campesino, Indigenous and Afrobolivian region.”

Along with Elena Flores, signatories also call for the release of María Eugenia Choque Quispe, the 60-year-old president of the Supreme Electoral Board who was falsely accused by the coup regime of committing fraud, as well as Patricia Hermosa, an Indigenous woman, who is the lawyer and notary for Evo Morales. “Hermosa has been imprisoned ever since she tried to file the formal papers for Evo’s candidacy for the Senate. His candidacy is entirely legal but has been blocked by the de facto government.”

We would be so grateful to have this letter published in the Amandala, which has accompanied grassroots struggles and would make the call for Elena Flores’ freedom heard more widely!

Sending strength to all, and deep respect to you in the struggle for a life with dignity,

Pambana Bassett

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