Bolivia crisis: Ex-President Morales offered asylum in Mexico

Cheryl Sanders
November 12, 2019

Pro-Morales protestors marched on the legislature, with succession still in doubt after the vice president and the president of the Bolivian Senate - who were next in line for leadership- also resigned.

They allege that the constitutional order in the Andean country will not be broken once an interim president calls for elections within 90 days.

Further afield, Russian Federation backed Morales, while US President Donald Trump said Morales' resignation was a "significant moment for democracy" and sent a signal to "illegitimate regimes" in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Bolivia's police commander, Gen. Yuri Calderon, joined the list of resignations Monday, stepping down following allegations that police failed to curb unrest.

We express our solidarity with the members of the Morales government, with the Communist Party of Bolivia, with the MAS party and with the Bolivian people.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he had received a call from Morales "to verbally and formally request asylum in our country" and that the request had been granted.

On Sunday, Bolivian Army Chief Williams Kaliman called on Morales to step down in a nationwide address broadcast live.

Morales earlier in the day had already accepted calls for a new election by an Organization of American States team that found a "heap of observed irregularities" in the October 20 election whose official result showed Morales getting just enough votes to avoid a runoff against a united opposition.

Morales said he resigned and a "coup" had been carried out against him.

Trump also said the events in Bolivia send a strong signal to Venezuela and Nicaragua "that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail".

"I think we have to keep a close eye on what the military does", said Jennifer Cyr, associate professor of political science and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona. He resigned after weeks of massive protests, but the resignation of every constitutionally designated successor left unclear who will take his place and how.

Meanwhile, Mr Morales lashed out at his political opponents, calling it a return to an era of coups overseen by Latin American militaries that long dominated the region. "(Opponents) lie and try to blame us for the chaos and violence that they provoked", Morales tweeted Monday.

He also thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for his decision to grant political asylum to Morales.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said the union was prepared to send a monitoring team for any new elections. Soon I will return with more strength and energy.

The U.S. officials said the Bolivian military merely pointed out the fact that public security had deteriorated by the time they asked Morales to resign.

"We will immediately proceed to inform Bolivia's foreign ministry that, under worldwide law, it should offer safe conduct" for Morales, foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters. Anxious about a possible escalation in the violence, the armed forces agreed to work alongside police. On arrival at El Alto airport, she was met by an Air Force helicopter to be taken to a military academy before traveling to Congress, another senator said.

Protesters had filled the streets on Sunday after the Organization of American States released an audit report that found clear manipulation of a computer system used to tally votes in the election in which Morales was reelected to a fourth term in office.

Other reports by iNewsToday