Podcast documents first-hand witness of the Senkata Massacre in Bolivia
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Source: Council on Hemispheric Affairs – Analysis-Reportage

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Francesca Emanuele is a Peruvian journalist and a Ph.D. student of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC.  She interviewed a first-hand witness of the Senkata Massacre, that took place on November 19th, 2020, days after the overthrow of Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, on November 10 .  Under the

control of new authorities, led by de facto president Jeanine Añez, security forces that backed the coup were involved in several violations of human rights, including the mass killing of 9 people in Senkata, and 10 in Sencaba, although official number of victims has not been clarified. Several sources inform that at least 23 people died after the coup due to the repression. This podcast documents part of this historic drama.

 “While We were Sleeping”

The podcast that investigates overlooked cases of state violence and the human stories behind them


Host: Francesca Emanuele.

Length: 30 minutes

Podcast content — 2 Interviews:

  1. Jhocelyn Caspa: Indigenous Aymara woman from Bolivia. Jhocelyn is a witness to the Senkata Massacre (November 19th, 2019). Her first-hand chronology addresses the events of the massacre that occurred just days after Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to resign. Jhocelyn was on a bus arriving to her city, Senkata (El Alto, Bolivia), when the military stopped the vehicle, forcing everyone to get off. From 11 am to 7 p.m. she ran from the military through the streets of her city, running for her life. Along the way, she witnessed numerous acts of brutality perpetrated by the Bolivian military. According to the investigations of the Inter-American Commission of Human rights, the death toll was 9 people, but Jhocelyn questions this number and believes many more people were killed that day.

“In the middle of the highway, they had lined up the caskets of all of the fallen. There were approximately 8 to 10 bodies and those were just the bodies whose family members allowed for them to be shown. There are a lot of bodies that haven’t had their public wakes because their families have not wanted to politicize their deaths and so they arrange private wakes.”

“The days after the massacre, there were people who said that their children had disappeared, that they couldn’t find their spouses, that they had been on their way to work but it seems like they got caught in the clash and they never arrived.”

Jhocelin also shares the constant repression that her community and other predominantly indigenous communities have experienced under the interim government of Jeanine Añez.

  1. Jake Johnston: Senior Research Associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. Johnston provides a broader perspective around the events that led to the forced resignation of Evo Morales: the unfounded allegations of electoral fraud by the Organization of American States and the geopolitical context, including the role of the United States in supporting the coup and the interim government. Johnston analyzes the changes in domestic and foreign policy that have occurred during the past 11 months in Bolivia.

“Since the coup there is this real consolidation of a far right in Bolivia that has used unelected power and it’s no surprise that the communities that have had the worst impacts from that are largely indigenous communities or areas with high support for Evo Morales and it’s MAS party.”

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