Bolivia’s president Evo Morales has vetoed the country’s ban on evangelism, which was put into law last month by the country’s legislative assembly.
President Evo Morales announced on Twitter that the government will repeal the penal code that criminalized evangelism and put restrictions on religious freedom.
Morales had supported the legislation last year when it was debated in the assembly but changed his mind, apparently, under intense religious and political pressure, much of it coming from outside the country.
He tweeted Tuesday: “We have decided to repeal the Criminal System Code to avoid confusion… and have no arguments, to generate destabilization in the country…
“We will send a letter to the Legislative Assembly in the coming days.”
The amendments to Article 88 declared that “whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalized 7 to 12 years of imprisonment”.
The Presidential order came after protests by Christians Bolivia and other Latin American nations.
The National Association of Evangelicals in Bolivia (ANDEB) had called the new law “deplorable” and organized a national day of prayer in protest on Sunday. “Under this law, Bolivia becomes the first Latin American country to persecute the rights of freedom of conscience and of religion, which are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the declaration of San José de Costa Rica, and our Constitution,” ANDEB said.