A Bolivian judge, Iván Córdova, on Thursday decided to postpone the planned arrest of opposition figure and Santa Cruz Governor Rubén Costas on contempt of court charges. Costas’ arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court to face accusations brought earlier this year by Bolivian Vice President Alvaro García Linera that Costas has accepted illicit funding from drug trafficking groups while in office. In explaining his decision, Judge Córdova cited unspecified legal issues raised by Costas’ defense team.
Opponents of President Evo Morales claim that the charges against Costas are politically motivated and designed to prevent him from publicly denouncing Morales administration policies. They cite evidence of a similar strategy last year to unseat opposition governors in Tarija (southern Bolivia) and in the northeast region of Beni.
The government has denied accusations that the legal problems plaguing prominent opposition figures are politically motivated and are demanding that the case against Costas proceed.