Jeanine Áñez Chávez (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝaˈnine ˈaɲes]; born 13 August 1967) is a Bolivian politician and lawyer who became interim President of Bolivia after the resignation of the government of Evo Morales. She was previously an opposition senator from Beni. Her political position has been described as right-wing and anti-Morales.
Áñez in 2016
|Interim President of Bolivia[a]|
|Assumed office |
12 November 2019
|Preceded by||Evo Morales|
|President of the Senate of Bolivia[a]|
11 November 2019 – 14 November 2019
|Preceded by||Adriana Salvatierra|
|Succeeded by||Mónica Eva Copa|
|Senator for Beni|
22 January 2010 – 11 November 2019
|Member of the Constituent Assembly|
6 August 2006 – 6 August 2007
Jeanine Áñez Chávez
13 August 1967
|Political party||Democrat Social Movement|
|Spouse(s)||Héctor Hernando Hincapié Carvajal|
Áñez has a graduate degree in law and legal sciences.
Constituent Assembly (2006–2008)Edit
Between 2006 and 2008, she served as a constituent assemblywoman for the drafting of the new constitutional charter. She was a member of the Constituent Assembly for the commission of organization and structure of the country, also working as part of the Judiciary.
In 2010, she was elected to the Senate as a member of the party Plan Progress for Bolivia-National Convergence (P.P.B - C.N), representing the Department of Beni in the National Assembly. In 2012 she ran for governor of Beni.
By 2019, she was the second vice president of the Senate, and her alternate was Franklin Valdivia Leigue. This role placed her fifth in the line of succession to the presidency. Before the presidential elections in 2019, Áñez had questioned the reliability of opinion polls, based on unclear methods and inconsistent results.
Acting president of Bolivia (2019–present)Edit
Following the resignation of the government of Evo Morales on 10 November 2019, she became the highest-ranking official in the line of succession to the presidency of Bolivia, and assumed the presidency on 11 November 2019 after convening the Senate to formally accept the resignations of the previous day.
She said that her first hope was to achieve a quorum after the many resignations, and then to call new elections. Áñez could not hold an emergency assembly until the day after Morales' resignation, as she was in Beni and there were no Sunday flights from there to the capital of La Paz.
On 11 November, Añez arrived at La Paz-El Alto airport and was taken in a military helicopter to a nearby Air Force base. From here, she traveled to the Bolivian Senate. There she stated that a session of the body would be convened on 12 November 2019 to formally accept Morales' resignation.
On 12 November, per article 169 of the Constitution of Bolivia, Áñez declared herself president of the Senate and acting president of Bolivia in front of a session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Áñez obtained the favourable vote of the opposition parties, a third part of the parliament. The move was later upheld by the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal. The session was not attended by members of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), which hold a majority in the assembly and dubbed the session "illegal". According to CNN, the absence of MAS deputies meant that Áñez did not have the required parliamentary quorum in order to legally be appointed acting president. The preceding President of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, resigned her position on 10 November 2019—after Morales and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera, resigned from office after losing support from the police, the military, and former political allies; followed by the resignation of Adriana Salvatierra Arriaza, the president of the Bolivian Senate, who was next in the constitutional line of succession—leading to a situation where all constitutional successors were exhausted. Although her resignation had been presented, Salvatierra contended on 13 November that it had not been accepted by the Senate, and therefore, Salvatierra remained the President of the Senate.
Amid a pledge to "rebuild democracy", Añez unveiled her new cabinet. Her senior ministers included prominent businesspeople from Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Her government did not include any members of the indigenous peoples in Bolivia, which The Guardian described as a sign that she did "not intend to reach across the country's deep political and ethnic divide". Her designated interior minister vowed to "hunt down" his predecessor, which reportedly stroked fears of a "witch-hunt" against members of Morales' administration. She further stated that Morales would not be permitted to run in an upcoming election for a fourth term, should he return to Bolivia.
In the face of protests against the interim government, Áñez called for police to restore order and, on 14 November, issued a decree that would exempt the military from any type of criminal responsibility when maintaining order. On 15 November, security forces fired upon protesting coca farmers in Cochabamba, resulting in nine deaths, with dozens more injured. The decree was condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States and was repealed two weeks later.
Áñez has spoken out against the proliferation of drug trafficking in South America.
In 2017, her nephew was arrested in Brazil for smuggling 480 kilos of drugs. The security minister Carlos Romero criticized Áñez and said that her position in the senate was "rogue" because of the relationship; Áñez responded by saying that she is not responsible for her nephew's actions, and criticized Romero because of his position in the government by saying that he is "responsible for the growth of drug trafficking". It was later revealed that another Bolivian arrested with drugs at the same time was the nephew of another politician, this time belonging to the MAS ruling party.
In early 2019, Áñez called for an investigation into prison wardens in Beni after speaking to victims of rape and abuse on the part of guards. She aimed to set a precedent to bring in new legislation that can be upheld.
She describes herself as a Christian and held up a large Bible while declaring herself the interim president; this was described by The Guardian as an "explicit rebuke" of Morales, who has a strained history with the Catholic Church and has expressed support for indigenous religious traditions. Under Morales, a new Constitution was approved by referendum that gave Christianity equal status to other religions.
Áñez recognized Juan Guaidó as acting president of Venezuela in the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, 24 hours after taking office. Her interim government also severed diplomatic relations with Venezuela's Maduro government, giving its diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
Around 41% of the population of Bolivia identifies itself as indigenous and the population often encounters discrimination regarding their social status in Bolivia, mainly related to poverty and ethnic background. Following the 2006 election of Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, polarization between the indigenous peoples and others increased as Bolivia's political system shifted from left-right politics to indigenous-urbanist politics.
Through social media, Áñez has made remarks towards indigenous peoples that have been described as "racist" by The Guardian, "anti-indigenous" by Agence France-Press, and "provocative" by The New York Times. On Twitter, Áñez called the Aymara people's New Year celebration "satanic" and said that "nobody can replace God", and has implied that indigenous people were not genuine for wearing shoes. She would later state "I’ve seen a couple of tweets that I never wrote and that we already stated were false" and that she never made "ill-intentioned" comments.
As acting president, Áñez has stated that she would keep the wiphala, the flag of indigenous Bolivian communities, as a co-official flag of Bolivia, as it had been under Morales, declaring that she was committed to the fundamental task of "highlighting the unity [of the] plural and diverse" nation of Bolivia. Despite this, María Galindo, an outspoken critic of Morales, described the government of Áñez as "anti-indigenous." Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network, stated that "there’s a reason to raise the issue" of racism and polarization following the rise of Áñez.
- Her inauguration is disputed by the MAS-IPSP deputies, which hold a majority in Bolivia's National Assembly.
- Entrevista Jeanine Añez Chavez, retrieved 11 November 2019
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Politics shifted from a conventional left-right axis of competition, unsuited to Bolivian society, to an ethnic/rural–cosmopolitan/urban axis closely aligned with its major social cleavage.
- "Estos son los agresivos tuits contra "originarios" e "indígenas" que borró Jeanine Áñez, la presidenta de Bolivia". Redaccion El Comercio. 15 November 2019.
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- "Jeanine Añez instruye que junto a la sagrada tricolor se mantenga la wiphala". eju.tv. 12 November 2019.
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