Bolivian student, 52, jailed for investigating salary from government

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Max Mendoza is a remarkably consistent student – and a profitable one: he has been enrolled in a public university in Bolivia for 32 years but has never graduated, while working as a student leader is paid a government salary. .

On Monday, however, he was arrested and sent to prison after a judge ordered a six-month investigation into allegations that his term as a state-paid student leader constituted a crime.

Mendoza, now 52, ​​has dealt unsuccessfully since entering a university in 1990 – a series of industrial engineering, agriculture and law. But he has held a series of student leadership and since 2018 he has been president of the university, the Bolivian Confederation, the country’s top student representative, earning $ 3,000 a month – 10 times the national minimum wage.

Prosecutors say he used the closure of the school for the COVID-19 epidemic as an excuse to increase his position.

“She did not meet the requirements. He did not have a bachelor’s degree (required) to hold the post, ”Judge Javier Vargas said Monday. Prosecutor William Alave said longtime student leaders were also being investigated.

Critics allege that these leaders have taken advantage of the broad autonomy granted to Bolivian public universities to retain government salaries paid to student leaders.

Public outrage over the situation escalated after someone threw a gas grenade at a student rally in the city of Potosi this month and a stampede that left four students dead. Many suspect that the attack was aimed at selecting new students.

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