Former Bolivian president Evo Morales is now in Mexico on asylum after leaving Bolivia in the wake of his government’s collapse after his election wad disputed, following weeks of protests. “His life and integrity is at risk,” Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters. “We will immediately proceed to inform Bolivia’s foreign ministry that under international law, it should offer safe conduct.”
Morales’s narrow victory in the Oct. 20 presidential election drew controversy as he ran for a fourth term, defying term limits after he was first elected in 2006. On Sunday, the Washington-based Organization of American States, a regional body focused on politics in the Western Hemisphere, announced its audit of the election had found “clear manipulation” and called for the result to be annulled.
Así fue mi primera noche después de dejar la presidencia forzado por el golpe de Mesa y Camacho con ayuda de la Policía. Así recordé tiempos de dirigente. Muy agradecido con mis hermanos de las federaciones del Trópico de Cochabamba por brindarnos seguridad y cuidado. pic.twitter.com/O1EpDhS5Qw
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 12, 2019
Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, has become a prominent figure for leftist politics in Latin America and initially said he would call for another election but then stepped down after the head of the army publicly called for him to leave, reported The Guardian. Morales also tweeted that his home and family had been threatened by protesters and that the opposing party was behind the violence.
Morales took to Twitter to accuse the opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho of instigating a coup against him. “[They] lie and try to blame us for the chaos and violence that they provoked,” he said.
Mesa y Camacho, discriminadores y conspiradores, pasarán a la historia como racistas y golpistas. Que asuman su responsabilidad de pacificar al país y garanticen la estabilidad política y convivencia pacífica de nuestro pueblo. El mundo y bolivianos patriotas repudian el golpe
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 11, 2019
“What happened yesterday [in Bolivia] is a step backward for the whole continent,” Ebrard said in a statement. “Military coups never bring anything positive and that is why we are worried.”
Mesa reportedly said Morales was brought down by “democratic popular action” not the military, who didn’t deploy in the streets because “they didn’t want to take lives,” reported The Guardian.
The vice president and the heads of the senate and chamber of deputies, who are all socialists along with Morales — resigned on Sunday as well, leaving second vice president of the senate Jeanine Añez as the next in line.
Jeanine Áñez, who is vocally anti-Morales, has said she will take over as interim president until new elections are held, which she said was her only objective.“The General Secretariat calls for peace and respect for the Rule of Law,” the OAS said in a statement. They urged the Bolivian legislature to install new election officials and “guarantee a new electoral process,” and called for legal action against those behind the election fraud, reported The Washington Post.
“What we can’t tolerate is when a military tells a president that he has to leave office,” Ebrard continued. “What happened yesterday is a setback for the entire continent.”
Ya despegó el avión de la Fuerza Aérea Mexicana con Evo Morales a bordo. De acuerdo a las convenciones internacionales vigentes está bajo la protección del de México. Su vida e integridad están a salvo. pic.twitter.com/qLUEfvciux
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) November 12, 2019
The Washington Post reports the nation remains divided with some fighting for a just election while others believe that the military involvement and “mob rule” were hardly constitutional. Political unrest in Latin America is more the norm than the exception and Bolivia joins other countries like Argentina and Venezuela who also have prominent yet controversial leftists politicians vying for power.