President Evo Morales signed a controversial law on Wednesday that seeks to hold former presidents and officials accountable for past acts of corruption. On Monday evening the Senate, now controlled by the Movimiento Al Socialismo, approved the measure, which allows for the retroactive prosecution of former government officials. An opposition-controlled congress blocked a similar measure in 2006.
A number of former officials have left Bolivia since Morales took office in 2006. Guillermo Fortún, the former Acción Democrática Nacionalista candidate for mayor of La Paz, was the latest. Fortún fled Bolivia to Santiago, Chile, on March 18. The current government seeks his testimony regarding the disappearance of $2.5 million during the second presidency of Hugo Banzer (1997-2000).
Three former presidents Carlos Mesa, Jorge Quiroga and Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé, who Morales accuses of illegally signing contracts with foreign energy companies while in office, have denounced the anti-corruption law, claiming it violates Bolivia’s constitution as well as international human rights treaties.