Friday, January 18, 2013

You Can Expect International Outcry for Bolivia's Apparent Amorality

In one of the most disturbing pieces of news I have read in recent months (yes, months), a video surfaced this week of an apparent rape on the Bolivian Parliament floor. Lawmaker Domingo Alcibia Rivera is seen in the video - which is from a security camera in the room - engaging in intercourse with a fellow female lawmaker who was drunk, having passed out after a holiday party. This took place on December 20th, almost four weeks ago, which brings up the even more disturbing aspect of the story: the Bolivian government attempted to cover it up.

As Jezebel reports, the security guards who were on shift that night have been dismissed; Mr. Rivera has disappeared from the political world, and the victim has been transferred to another Parliamentary position. Who was in charge of making these decisions is unclear, but the fact that such an atrocity would be covered up by those elected by the people to govern, is frightening. Bolivian President Evo Morales' statement yesterday condemning the coverup was at best half-hearted - he recommended that all the officials involved be placed on "indefinite suspension", which hardly seems sufficient given the circumstances.

This case highlights a fact that is often overlooked when examining global issues: studies show that nearly half of all Latin American women face some sort of domestic violence or sexual assault. On a continent where there are widespread drug problems, some of the most violent gangs on earth, and frequent government disagreements, such a serious problem may sometimes be ignored. It shouldn't be, however; with such intense focus on sexual assault here in America, we should take the time to focus on the problem in other places as well.

Setting all of this aside however, one thing is for certain: in the coming weeks we will likely be seeing forthcoming scrutiny from all over the world directed towards the abhorrent malfeasance of Bolivian politicians. In this case, it is perfectly warranted.

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