Student in Boliva arrested over meme account, as Human Rights groups say it’s an attack on free speech

The student was arrested for "inciting".

Amidst ongoing political disturbances and turmoil in the South American nation of Bolivia, the latest report on the arrest of a university student for being critical of the country's interim government has raised the eyebrows of many, with the Higher University of San Andrés publicly condemning the act as a major free speech violation.

“Student and leftist feminist blogger Alejandra Salinas has been detained with baseless claims of inciting. Her blog Suchel had been critical of the post-coup government. Repression and silencing at its finest,” tweeted a Bolivian solidarity network.

Here's a brief glimpse of the current political landscape of Bolivia: The country's president resigned in November stating that he did so after learning about the fact that he was ordered to be arrested illegally as a part of a “coup” against him; with president Evo Morales gone, there is an interim government functional in Bolivia.

In an effort to counteract the influence of state media and what she says is fake online activity, Salinas started operating a leftist meme account on Facebook called “Suchel.” After the military coup resulted in a conservative senator being instituted as the nation's interim president, the followers on Salinas page sky-rocketed.

Soon, things took a messy turn and Salinas chose to shut down her meme page after receiving multiple death threats. Not only was Salinas' family threatened, but she was also accused of provoking violence.

“They say that I promote hate, indoctrinate people. This is just a page that doesn't even reach 10% of the population in Bolivia I have no power over people,” said Salinas. Several free speech advocates are under the impression that Salinas arrest on December 31st was a blotch on free speech in Bolivia.

Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]