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News > Bolivia

Petition to UN on Afro-Bolivian Union Leader Elena Flores

  • Adepcoca coca growers' union president Elena Flores, speaks to media. August 2, 2019.

    Adepcoca coca growers' union president Elena Flores, speaks to media. August 2, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @LaRazon_Bolivia

Published 12 July 2020

The brother of social leader Elena Flores, has submitted a petition to the UN regarding the leader's political imprisonment.

A recent petition to the United Nations has called for attention to the political imprisonment and human rights abuses against Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores.


International Organizations Call for Release of Elena Flores

Flores is the President of the Departmental Association of Coca Producers (Adepcoca) union of coca growers in her home territory of Yungas, where she's been a labour organizer since her youth.

The leader has been held as a political prisoner since March 4th by the defacto regime of Jeanine Añez and is now being held at the Centro de Orientación Femenino de Obrajes in La Paz. 

Her brother, Jaime Flores, has submitted the petition to the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, at the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. 

While incarcerated without cause, she has been subject to racist slurs both in the media and online. Flores' lawyer has argued that she has been denied due process while the case has been plagued by legal errors. 

A leader not only to her community but to campesinos on a national level, Elena Flores was at the forefront of denouncing the militarization, repression and attacks on democracy following the coup against President Evo Morales.

Supporters of the Afro-descendant social leader say that her political imprisonment is linked to the historical alliance of the Bolivian oligarchic elites with narco-politicians at the regional level with their ties to U.S. geopolitical interests.

The Yungas leader has been frequently under siege for her political alignment of the MAS and for being an opponent of Franklin Gutiérrez, associated with the national right-wing and USAID.

The false charges against Flores included accusations of offenses which they allege took place in July 2019, her lawyer has been able to persuade the judge to drop all charges except one: trespassing on private property. 

The petition, submitted in late June but only publicized, argues that Flores is a political prisoner according to international law and is suffering under illegal detention. The Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Campesino and Indigenous Women are joined by the CSUTCB and CONAMAQ in demanding the release of Elena Flores and all of the Bolivian regime's political prisoners.

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