LA PAZ – The former vice president of Bolivia and opposition leader Victor Hugo Cardenas complained on Saturday that a “government-party mob” attacked his house in a community on the Bolivian altiplano and fears for the life of his wife and three children who were staying there.
Cardenas, an intellectual Aymara who was vice president during the first government of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (1993-1997), told the media that peasant followers of President Evo Morales occupied at noon his house near Lake Titicaca.
From La Paz, Cardenas said his wife is in that house along with their three children and other family members who are frightened because the peasants threaten to set the place on fire.
“The life of my wife and family are now the responsibility of the government that has promoted the occupation of my house,” the ex-vice president said.
Cardenas’ wife Lidia Katari, in a telephone conversation with the PAT television network, said that both she and her children and some nephews were forced to leave the house by a mob that kicked them and hit them with whips.
Cardenas won political headlines in recent months by mounting a campaign against the new Constitution promoted by President Morales that was approved in the referendum last Jan. 25 and became law two weeks later.
After the constitutional referendum, Cardenas announced that he was organizing a political movement for the general elections next Dec. 6 and his name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Bolivian presidency, although he himself has not confirmed that possibility.
The ex-vice president said that neither the police nor the Interior Ministry responded to his complaints and telephone calls when he reported that peasants had broken into his house.
Nonetheless, a ministry spokesperson said that police are aware of the complaint and sent agents to the community where his home is, between the towns of Huarina and Huatajata, to protect the Cardenas family.
For his part, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Saturday that he knew nothing of any such attack on the Cardenas home when he was asked about it by reporters at a press conference in Santa Cruz.
Opposition Senate leader Oscar Ortiz commented on the matter, and in a statement to PAT described the attack on the Cardenas home as “political violence” and said he was in favor of denouncing such incidents before international courts.