in

In Bolivia, Interim Leader Sets Conservative, Religious Tone

In Bolivia, Interim Leader Sets Conservative, Religious Tone

The leader, Jeanine Añez, promised to unify a nation in turmoil. But her initial steps, taking the country rightward and injecting religious themes, risk deepening the divide.The interim leader Jeanine Añez during a news conference this past week in La Paz.Credit…Federico Rios for The New York TimesNov. 16, 2019Updated 7:19 p.m. ETLA PAZ, Bolivia — The interim leader of Bolivia took power this week promising to unify a nation in turmoil. But she has since stacked her cabinet with conservative ministers and thrust religion to the forefront of government at the risk of deepening the divides. The leader, Jeanine Añez, also called on security forces to restore public order and police responded by opening fire Friday on coca farmers protesting against the government in the central city of Cochabamba. The clash left nine protesters dead and dozens injured, the worst violence yet in the country’s monthlong political crisis.Ms. Añez already appeared to be reaching beyond her caretaker mandate of organizing national elections by January — taking steps, for example, to reshape the country’s foreign policy. Her actions threaten to complicate negotiations with allies of former President Evo Morales to reach a democratic solution to the crisis.“Without a popular mandate, they are pushing forward some of the most objectionable aspects of their agenda,” Javier Corrales, a Latin American politics professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said of the country’s new leaders. “They seem to be thinking that what Bolivia needs right now is a purge, and not conciliation.”Ms. Añez, a little-known senator from a remote Bolivian region, was sworn in on Tuesday after Mr. Morales, the country’s first Indigenous president, was forced into exile by protests and pressure from the security forces.One of Bolivia’s most transformative leaders, Mr. Morales’s grip on power unraveled after he tried bending electoral rules to stay in power for a fourth term in October, flouting constitutional term limits he himself had set.Just before she assumed power, Ms. Añez told reporters that her only aim was to unite the country and restore it to the path to democracy. But her critics say her actions so far are having the opposite effect.She injected Catholicism into government, swearing in her ministers in front of a large Bible and making speeches shadowed by an aide carrying a cross. Her heavy use of Catholic imagery was in sharp contrast to the Indigenous ceremonies held by Mr. Morales in the presidential palace. In a country where the vast majority of citizens consider themselves Christian, said Mr. Corrales, the analyst, Ms. Anez has turned to Bolivia’s conservative religious groups for support to mask her l
Read More

Bhutan foreign minister to begin week-long India visit today

Bhutan foreign minister to begin week-long India visit today

Swedish princess urges Bosnia’s leaders to address pollution

Swedish princess urges Bosnia’s leaders to address pollution