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  • Elena Flores is the elected union president of Adepcoca (the Departmental Association of Coca Producers).

    Elena Flores is the elected union president of Adepcoca (the Departmental Association of Coca Producers). | Photo: CDR

Published 13 April 2020

We call for all the de facto government's charges against Elena Flores to be dropped immediately and for Flores, Choque, Hermosa, and all political prisoners to be released.

Elena Flores, the elected union president of Adepcoca (the Departmental Association of Coca Producers) and the beloved eldest sibling in her family, has been harassed and jailed without cause by the racist, misogynist and anti-labor coup regime of Jeanine Añez.

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She has been imprisoned for more than a month under deplorable conditions. The regime has subjected her to a smear campaign with continued threats of violence.

The de facto government is responsible for stealing a presidential election and ordering 36 deaths and at least 890 illegal detentions. They have carried out forced disappearances, rape by military and police, and three massacres in Sacaba, Senkata, and Ovejuyo. The Añez government censures media, attacks, and tortures journalists, and celebrates the violence of white supremacists who are granted immunity from prosecution.

In the Yungas where the majority of Afrobolivians live, US interventionism disguised as anti-narcotics, together with illegal gold mining operations, has sown paramilitary violence.

Who is Elena Flores?

Elena Flores is a highly respected Afrobolivian and union leader. She began union work in her youth, carrying out many leadership roles in the Association of 35,000 coca leaf farmers of the Yungas, 5,000 feet below the city of La Paz. Flores says she always dreamed of leading the Association, which since 1983 had been led only by men. When she was elected in August last year, she won on a platform of ousting paramilitaries and uniting the three regions of the Inquisivi and the North and South Yungas. She is a strong labor leader and profoundly dedicated to the wellbeing of women.

Flores is the eldest of four siblings. They care for her elderly mother who is unwell and a brother has a severe disability. She would, of course, want to be protecting her family during the dangerous times of the coup regime and the coronavirus pandemic.

She denounced the criminality of the former union leadership, who are trained in paramilitary tactics and bankrolled by the Bolivian right and the U.S. The former union leaders refused to leave office or hold elections. They created cocaine networks, and ran vast corruption schemes using the considerable income of the union. 

More recently, Flores’ enemies have served as paramilitaries under the direction of the army and police of the Añez regime. They enter the city of La Paz as one contingent of the right-wing "shock groups" and "pititas", made up of mobs of conservative neighbors. Añez calls them heroes and has taken smiling photos with them.

Since the coup, Flores has been at the forefront of denouncing the Añez regime's militarisation, harsh repression and disregard for democracy. She vows to protect and unify her unionised, campesino, Indigenous and Afrobolivian region. 

The current situation of women political prisoners 

Since March 4th Elena Flores has been imprisoned at the Centro de Orientación Femenino de Obrajes or Centre for Women's Guidance. 

María Eugenia Choque Quispe is also detained there, the 60-year-old president of the Supreme Electoral Board who was falsely accused by the coup regime of committing fraud (she is also a social worker and professor of Indigenous women's histories). 

Another Indigenous woman in that prison is Patricia Hermosa, a lawyer, and notary for Evo Morales. Hermosa has been imprisoned ever since she tried to file the formal papers for Evo's candidacy for the Senate. His candidacy is entirely legal but has been blocked by the de facto government.

Numerous other political prisoners have been jailed since the November 10th coup that brought to power Jeanine Añez.

The so-called crimes of Elena Flores

Flores led a takeover of a Health Centre, el Centro de Especialidades de Atención Integral, which rightfully belongs to the union of which Elena Flores is the elected president.

The clinic had fallen under right-wing paramilitary control thanks to the previous union leader, Franklin Gutierrez. He installed corrupt networks and refused to hold elections, in complete contempt of Adepcoca's governing statutes.

Elena Flores has been targeted by the regime because she is a Black woman leader, a key union organizer, and an elected leader in the coca-growing region. She appeared at the side of Evo Morales repeatedly during the months leading up to October elections. The Yungas has always been a strong base of the Movement toward Socialism (MAS).

The coup government’s false charges 

The regime’s court imprisoned Elena Flores for aggravated robbery, harming public property, forced entry, and preventing the State from exercising its services. 

They charge her for an offense they allege took place in July, 2019. More than six months later, the coup regime filed against her. Strangely, the legal team presented photographs taken in November as evidence, and the coup judge accepted them. Flores' lawyer argues that she was not given adequate notice of these charges and has been denied due process.

The coup regime

The coup regime was launched by the United States, working with racist oligarchs and Luis Almagro's Organization of American States (OAS). They aim to protect multinational business interests and return the country to neoliberalism, racism and general misery.

The civilian shock groups who built a climate of chaos for years before the coup, in 2019 attacked Indigenous women and cut off their braids, likewise tearing at Afrobolivian women's afros.

In the months following the coup, the de facto government has institutionalized their hatred of women by dismantling social programs that were destined for young mothers. They have destroyed public health care that in the last 14 years had tremendously decreased infant and maternal mortality.

Within days of the coup, Añez made evident her misogynist goals through systematic rape of women and girls by the security forces, including after they had murdered them. 

The Añez regime must release Elena Flores. She must return to her family, community, region and union work. Her people have been robbed of her leadership. 

We call for all the de facto government's charges against Elena Flores to be dropped immediately and for Flores, Choque, Hermosa, and all political prisoners to be released.

Organisations
HAITI and THE CARIBBEAN

Haiti Action Committee
Jamaica Peace Council
Oilfields Workers' Trade Union, San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago
Movement for Social Justice, San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago
Assembly of Caribbean People, Trinidad and Tobago Chapter

BRASIL

Rede de Mulheres Negras de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil
Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas, Via Campesina Brasil
Instituto da Mulher Negra do Piauí, Ayabás, Teresina, Piauí, Brasil

ARGENTINA

Feminismo Comunitario Antipatriarcal Bolivia
Colectividad Boliviana Autocomboda, Córdoba, Argentina
Feministas de Abya Yala
Grupo Matamba
Movimiento Afrocultural, Argentina
Ni Una Menos, Argentina
Asociación de Ex Detenidos Desaparecidos (AEDD), Argentina
Colectivo Editorial, Marcha Noticias, Argentina
Sindicato Unico de Trabajadores de la Educación de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (SUTEBA), Lomas, Argentina
Equipo de Educación Popular Pañuelos en Rebeldía, Argentina
Movimiento de los Pueblos- Por un Socialismo Feminista Desde Abajo
Frente Popular Darío Santillán- Corriente Nacional, Argentina
Movimiento por la Unidad Latinoamericana y el Cambio Social (MULCS), Argentina
Izquierda Latinoamericana Socialista (Movimiento 8 de abril), Argentina
Columna Antirracista, Argentina 
Frente de Organizaciones en Lucha (FOL), Argentina
La Ciega, Colectivo de Abogadxs Populares, Argentina
Frente Popular Darío Santillán, Argentina
Espacio Feminista de Mujeres y Disidencias del FPDS, Argentina
Madres Víctimas de Trata y Blanca Rizzo
La Comisión de Vecinos por Campomar, Argentina
Venceremos - Partido de Trabajadorxs, Argentina
Todos de Argentina
Federación de Organizaciones de Base Autónoma, Argentina

USA

Chiapas Support Committee, based in Los Angeles, California, USA
Anticonquista, based in Los Angeles, California, USA
CODEPINK Women for Peace, USA

Individuals

Pierre Labossiere, Co-Founder, Haiti Action Committee

Blaise D.K Tulo, Convener of the Accra Collective of the Socialist Forum of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University, New York, USA

Emeritus Professor Shadrack Gutto, Laikipia University, Nyahururu, Kenya

Akinyele Umoja, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Co-Founder, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Cikiah Thomas, North American Region Chair, Global Afrikan Congress, Canada

Jean Saint-Vil, author of Viv Bondye! Aba Relijyon! and Listwa Pèp Ayisyen Depi Nan Ginen (audio recordings on the history of the Haitian people), Ottawa, Canada

Michael McEachrane, Founding and Consultative Member of the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD), Lund, Sweden

Miriam Miranda, Garifuna, Coordinadora, Defensora de los derechos humanos, Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), Honduras

Lisa Owens, Executive Director, City Life/Vida Urbana, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Quincy Saul, independent scholar, Ecosocialist Horizons, Sri Lanka

Song Dae-Han, Head of Contents Team, International Strategy Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Maria Saturnina Us Alvarez, Maya K'iche', Representante de la Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral de La Mujer del Área Rural Ixmukane Adimar, Guatemala

Martha Guadalupe Tuyuc Us, Maya K'iche', Junta Directiva de Adimar del Grupo de Mujeres de Sololá, y Coordinadora de Moloj Waix y miembro del Consejo Oxaluju Noj, San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Flora Fermina Jiménez Ramírez, Maya Mam, Lideresa en pro de los derechos humanos en Guatemala

Choj B'alam Itza, Maya Mam, Pastoral de la Tierra, Diócesis de San Marcos, Guatemala

Lolita Chavez, Consejo del Pueblo K'iche', Guatemala

Tanalís Padilla, Associate Professor of History, MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA

Leslie Mullin, Haiti Action Committee, San Francisco, CA, USA

Jeb Sprague, author and Research Associate on Haiti, Colombia and paramilitarism, University of California, Riverside, USA

Vanessa Peña, Solidarity Delegation Facilitator in Cuba, California, USA

Caribbean
Keith Comrie, General Secretary, The Union of Schools, Agricultural and Allied Workers (USAAW), Jamaica

Paul Works, Union  Organiser, Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory  Employees (UCASE),  Kingston, Jamaica

Evan “Mose" Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union, Belize City, Belize

David Denny, General Secretary, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Katie Numi Usher, Ladyville, Belize

Trevor G. Brown, President, Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association, Kingston, Jamaica

Patricia Northover, Senior Fellow, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica

Patrick Rogers, Political Leader, Belize Progressive Party, Belize City, Belize

Jhanelle Davy, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Kingston, Jamaica

Kadafi Shakur, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Shakiel Weir, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Alexander Scott, Leader of Jamaica AL 1, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Jonathan Wilson, Leader of Mona Cadre, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Kingston, Jamaica

Alex Smith, Policy Research Officer, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Joash Smith, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Javarnie Johnson, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Demar Royes, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Breanna Bisasor, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Christophe Simpson, Leader of St. Ann AL, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Gabrielle Patmore, Leader of Jamaica AL 2, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Jada-Lee Thompson, Central Committee Member, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Richard Chin, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Tafari Hylton, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Tajna-Lee Shields, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Cheryl Hewitt, Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, Jamaica

Brasil
Rejane Maria Pereira da Silva, Activista da Rede de Mulheres Negras, Recife/PE, Brasil

Sarah Menezes, Instituto Negra do Ceará, Educadora Popular, Fortaleza/Ceará, Brasil

Piedade Marques, Institutional Relations Coordination, Rede de Mulheres Negras de Pernambuco e Rede de Mulheres Negras do Nordeste, Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Pernambuco, Brasil

Eleonora Pereira, Coletivo de Mulheres Defensora dos Direitos Humanos, Coordenação Colegiada, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil

Junéia Batista, Secretária Nacional da Mulher Trabalhadora da Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) Brasil, Assistente Social, São Paulo SP, Brasil

Ana Bartira da Penha Silva, Centro de Estudos Afro Brasileiro Ironides Rodrigues (CEABIR), Presidenta, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Reginaldo Gomes Salvino, Batuque Grupo Cultural Afro, Coordenador Geral, Paulista, Pernambuco, Brasil

Luciane Reis, Merc´afro, Idealizadora, Bahia, Brasil

Suzineide Rodrigues de Medeiros, Presidenta do Sindicato dos Bancários de Pernambuco, Cidade Recife PE, Brasil

Emilia Raquel da Penha Silva, Tenda Espírita do Boiadeiro, Presidenta, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Lúcia Rincon, Profesora, União Brasileira de Mulheres (UBM), Goiânia, Goiás, Brasil

Rosimere Nery Peixoto, Organização FASE/Pernambuco, Educadora Social, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil

Vivian Delfino Motta, Coordenadora do GT Mulheres da Associação Brasileira de Agroecologia, São Paulo, Brasil

México, El Salvador, Nicaragua
Andrea Nieto Dávila, Ciudad de México

Mayleth Echegollen Guzmán, Agenda de Género, Facultad de Derecho, Ciencias Sociales, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Puebla, México

Liliana López Marin, Posgrado en Estudios Latinoamericanos, UNAM, México

Karla Alegría Martínez Roa, Ciudad de México

Rosa Barajas, Raíces sin Fronteras, México y USA

Enrique Dávalos, Raíces sin Fronteras, México y USA

Elisa María García Dueñas, El Salvador

Xochilt Sánchez, Organizer, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, USA

Jesús Durán, member, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, CA, USA

Mattie Conway, National Organizer, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, USA

Elvira Padilla, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, USA

Angel Villalta, Chapter Member, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, USA

Karen Oliva, Regional Organizer, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Los Angeles, USA

Jenny Bekenstein, Friends of the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo, Nicaragua, and CISPES, Los Angeles, USA

Avery Raimondo, Friends of the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC), Nicaragua, Los Angeles, USA

Dr. Maria Páez Víctor, Venezuelan-born sociologist, Latin American and Caribbean Policy Centre, Canada

Argentina
Sandra Chagas, Movimiento Afrocultural, Argentina

Delia Ramírez, Movimiento 138, Investigadora UNSA/CONICET, Argentina

Giselle Santana, Secretaria General, Central de  Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA) Capital, Regional Norte, Argentina

Ricardo Valdueza, por la dirección de Opinión Socialista, Argentina

Alejandro Sirota, Secretario de Prensa, delegado ATE INTI, Argentina

Carlos Zerrizuela, Delegado General, Frigorífico Rioplatense, Argentina

Guillermo de los Hoyos, Congresal de CTERA por la Asociación del Magisterio de Santa Fe (AMSAFE), Argentina

Marita Roquero, de CD la Asociación del Magisterio de Santa Fe, Rosario, Argentina

Sabrina Simioni, de CD la Asociación del Magisterio de Santa Fe, Rosario, Argentina

Gastón Kutnick, Delegado de APTA Aeronáuticos, Argentina

Pablo Fonti, Delegado ATE Niñez, Santa Fe, Argentina

Gastón Alvarado, Delegado de ATE-INTI, Argentina

Mabel Morel, JI de ATE Educación, Tigre, Argentina

Gastón Covino, Delegado de ATE PAMI, Argentina

María Elisa Salgado, Secretaria General, Sindicato Unificado de Trabajadores de la Educación de Buenos Aires (SUTEBA), Tigre, Argentina

Angel Cáceres, del CES de SUTEBA, Matanza, Argentina

Andrés Machuca, del CES de SUTEBA, Matanza, Argentina

Juan Carlos Maceiras, Delegado de SUTEBA, Lomas y CD de CTA Autónoma de Lomas de Zamora, Argentina

Patricia Ramos, Delegada de SUTEBA, Lomas y CD de CTA Autónoma de Lomas de Zamora, Argentina

Marcela Ojeda, CES de SUTEBA, Tigre, Argentina

Alfredo Cáceres, CES de SUTEBA, Tigre, Argentina

Cecilia Vega, Secretaria de Organización, CTA Autónoma y delegada de SUTEBA, Matanza, Argentina

Virginia Mesones, Delegada y Congresal de SUTEBA, Matanza, Argentina

Mario Tarres, Delegado y Congresal de SUTEBA, Mar del Plata, Argentina

Sergio Córdoba, Delegado de SUTEBA, Luján, Argentina 

Gonzalo Sandez, Lista Verde de SUTEBA, San Fernando, Argentina

María Ibarreta, Actriz, Argentina

Europe/UK/Canada
Daniel Thorpe, Jamaica Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, United Kingdom

Holly Harwood, Jamaica Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism, United Kingdom

Haja Salifu Dagarti, Chair, Salifu Dagarti Foundation and board member of the International Decade of People of African Descent Coalition, Northampton, United Kingdom

Nana Asante, Secretary, International Decade of People of African Descent Coalition UK, London, UK

Line Algoed, PhD Researcher, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

Olalekan Odedeyi, Save The Woman, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Claudia Chaufan, Director of Graduate Program and Associate Professor, Health Studies and Global Health Program, York University, Toronto, Canada

United States, California
Philip Brayley, Cayuga/Tuscarora Nation, Chiapas Support Committee (CSC), Niagara Falls, New York 

Inem Richardson, CSC, student at Barnard College (Africana Studies and Comparative Literature), New York, NY

anayansi alatorre romo, CSC, Latin American Studies at Pomona College, and Chicago, USA

Karina López, CSC, Latin American Studies at Scripps College, and Houston, Texas, USA

Cristian Padilla Romero, CSC, PhD Student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Nicholas Ayala, CSC, Co-Editor at Anticonquista, Los Angeles, California, USA

Allison Matamoros, CSC, Teacher, United Educators of San Francisco, San Francisco, USA

Alan Peral, CSC, PhD Student, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz CA, USA

Jeanette Charles, CSC, History PhD student and Cota-Robles Fellow at University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Natalia Mendoza, CSC, Educator, Pasadena Unified School District, Los Ángeles, USA

Pambana Gutto Bassett, CSC, Youth Representative, Global Afrikan Congress, New Orleans, USA

Sara R. Roschdi, Chiapas Support Committee, Los Angeles, USA

Cindy Forster, CSC, Latin American and Caribbean Studies professor, Los Angeles county, USA

New York City area, San Francisco, Oakland, New England, Minneapolis, Texas
Devon Howell, Member, Take Back the Bronx, New York City, USA

Ebony Sinnamon Johnson, educator and social worker, Bay Area, USA

Miah McClinton, Oakland, USA

Sarah Davenport, PhD Student, Africana Studies and Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, USA

Carolina Morales, political organizer, San Francisco, USA

Tanya Kinigstein Pascoe, public school teacher, New York, USA

Myriam Burger, Student at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, USA

Julia Thomas, journalist and Digital Fellow, Democracy Now!, New York City, USA

Lee Schlenker, Regional Organizer, Witness for Peace New England, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Jeannine Erickson, Witness For Peace Solidarity Collective, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Andrew Klein, PhD student, University of California at Berkeley, USA

Catherine Walker, Law Student, Washington DC, USA

Ivan Morales, student, Houston Community College, Texas, USA

Matty Norris, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Caro Vera, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Nathan Núñez, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Mari Tejada-Leon, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Daniel Inojosa, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Lola Hourihane, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

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