Bolivian mayor's supporters raid community radio, TV stations after accusations of corruption

Inhabitants of the El Choré forest reserve in the eastern part of Bolivia, who are sympathetic to the local mayor, attacked and dismantled equipment at the Radio Comunitaria and Canal 8 television station in response to accusations of corruption the broadcasters made against the mayor, reported IFEX.

The mayor's supporters who carried out the Nov. 14 attack in Yacapaní, Santa Cruz, were members of President Evo Morales' political party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).

Mayor David Carvajal's supporters burst into the community radio station, stealing computers, consoles, fans, offices supplies, chairs, and televisions. They took the stolen goods to the community of Campo Víbora where they planned to reassemble the equipment and resume broadcasting, according to the Santa Cruz newspaper El Deber. Police did not stop the raid and no one from the station was present, the publication noted. The station ceased operations due to the seizure, reported Los Tiempos. "They took everything and the kitchen sink," said station manager José Rivas.

Rivas explained that the broadcaster questioned the mayor for designating 40.8 percent of the annual budget to salaries and administrative spending, and only 20 percent to public works in the community, reported Los Tiempos.

Remberto Alejandro, director of the Yacapaní Defense Committee, told the newspaper that the mayor's political opponents dedicate themselves to obstructing the town's development by not approving projects for the community.