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Ex-President of Bolivia Recovering After Apparent Suicide Attempt

Jeanine Anez, charged with 'genocide,' in stable condition after apparently cutting her arms
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Bolivia's Former President Sends 'Cry for Help' From Prison
In this Dec. 11, 2019, file photo, Bolivia's then interim president, Jeanine Anez, gives a press conference at the presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia.   (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)

(Newser) – On Friday, Bolivian prosecutors charged Jeanine Anez—the former president of Bolivia, already in detention after being accused in March of leading a coup against another ex-Bolivian president, Evo Morales—with "genocide." Police are now saying the 54-year-old Anez tried to kill herself over the weekend in jail. "What happened is within the definition of attempted suicide," a rep from the country's national police said on local TV after the Saturday incident, per Reuters.

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  • Word from her legal team, family: Anez attorney Norka Cuellar didn't use the word "suicide," but confirmed that Anez harmed herself, noting she cut her lower arms, specifically via three slashes on one of her wrists. "This is a cry for help from the former president," Cuellar told reporters. "She feels very harassed." Meanwhile, Carolina Ribera, Anez's daughter, says her mother did try to end her life due to "severe depression" brought about by her long-term imprisonment, per Al Jazeera.
  • Background: Anez was arrested and imprisoned in March, accused of staging a coup against Morales in 2019 and taking over the presidency as he fled the country, per Deutsche Welle. The new charges of genocide are related to the protests that emerged after Anez assumed the leadership role, with a report from the Organization of American States finding that Bolivian security forces carried out a "massacre" that killed 20 Morales supporters involved in two demonstrations. In October 2020, Luis Arce, the candidate from Morales' party, the Movement for Socialism, was elected president.
  • Medical issues: Anez's family has long demanded she be transferred to a medical facility that can treat her for hypertension and other conditions. Over the past few weeks, she's been taken to a hospital three times, including on Wednesday, when she had a thorax exam.
  • Current situation: Anez is now said to be in stable condition, according to both Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo and Juan Carlos Limpias, the nation's prisons chief. "At the moment, she is with her family in the penitentiary," Limpias noted Sunday, per Al Jazeera. "The family will be an important factor to help improve her state of mind."
(Read more Bolivia stories.)

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