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  • Bolivians approach a voting precinct in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 18, 2020.

    Bolivians approach a voting precinct in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 18, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @DCM_online

Published 18 October 2020
Opinion

Bolivians living in Brazil accused their country's electoral authorities of not respecting their right to vote.

Before the elections held on Oct. 18, some 4,500 Bolivian migrants were disqualified from casting their vote, as reported by local outlet Brasil de Fato.

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One year after the coup against former President Evo Morales, Bolivian residents abroad came to elect president, vice president, and lawmakers on Sunday. In 2019, over 70 percent of the Bolivian community's votes in Brazil favored the candidates of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). Now, however, they had difficulty exercising their political rights.

Under the authority of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) controlled by the coup-born government led by Jeanine Añez, at least five Bolivian polling stations in Sao Paulo experienced changes in the last week prior to the elections.

The "I Participate" APP, which is the Bolivian authorities's communication channel with the voters, took over three days to update the information on those changes. Similar problems have been reported in Chile, Argentina, and other countries that have Bolivian migrants.

The meme reads, "Elections in Bolivia: MAS candidate Luis Arce voted around 9:15 am (Brasilia time). Supported by Evo Morales, leads the polls."

"I know this was designed to confuse our people. They changed the address of five polling stations and did not publish their voter lists. People don't know where to vote," said Yolanda Cortez, a MAS delegate in Sao Paulo.

In response to the complaints, the Bolivian authorities sent generic messages that read: "Citizen without the right to vote." Through a journalistic investigation, however, Brasil de Fato showed that the list of people who could not vote includes Bolivians who were able to vote in the 2019 elections.

“Last year, I voted normally. Now, I don't know what is going on... I tried to call the Consulate, but no one answered... I feel bad for not exercising my rights,” stressed Victor Limache Flores, a tailor who has lived in Brazil since 2010.

"This disorganization is deliberate. Outside the electoral precinct, the line with the people waiting to enter does not move. Inside, however, it is empty. There is no information on the door," said Julian Mamani Quispe, who has lived in Brazil since 2016.

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