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LATIN AMERICA | 12-11-2019 14:24

Bolivia's Evo Morales arrives in Mexico under political asylum

Mexican Air Force plane carrying former Bolivian president touches down at the Mexico City international airport, where Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard who says Morales was the victim of a "coup" – was waiting to greet him.

Bolivia's former president Evo Morales has arrived in Mexico to take up political asylum, two days after resigning amid mounting protests over his fraud-stained re-election to a fourth term.

The Mexican Air Force plane carrying the ousted leader touched down at the Mexico City international airport, where Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard – who says Morales was the victim of a "coup" – was waiting to greet him. It had been a difficult journey – Morales' trip had been subjected to a number of last-minute changes as various countries in the region either agreed or refused to allow their air space to be used.

Morales paid tribute to Mexico in a brief statement on the tarmac, saying its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his officials had "saved my life."

"Thank you very much for saving our lives. I am very grateful," he said.

Morales said members of his party and his family had suffered at the hands of opposition protesters.

"In these three weeks they burned polling stations, election records, union headquarters. They also burned the houses of the authorities of the Movement to Socialism [Morales' political party], my sister's house. The day before yesterday they burned my house in Cochabamba, and tried to burn another house, but they couldn't thanks to the neighbors defending me," he added.

The socialist leader said he's not going to abandon politics.

"Let the whole world know that I won't change ideology because of his coup," he said. "I will continue the fight."

Morales, who transformed Bolivia as its first indigenous president, arrived on Tuesday after weeks of violent protests, leaving behind a confused power vacuum in the Andean nation.

As his supporters and foes fought on the streets of Bolivia's capital, opposition leaders laid out a possible — but still uncertain — path toward new elections in the wake of the president's resignation.

Supporters and foes of Morales once again headed for clashes in the streets of Bolivia's capital Tuesday even as opposition leader laid out a possible — but still uncertain — path toward new elections in the wake of the president's resignation.

Prodded by military leaders, Morales stepped down Sunday following weeks of widespread protests fed by allegations of electoral fraud in the October 20 presidential election that he claimed to have won.

Resignations by every other constitutionally designated successor left unclear who would take his place and how.

The Senate's second vice president, opposition politician Jeanine Añez, called a legislative session on Tuesday to formally accept Morales' resignation and choose an interim replacement.

Under the plan, she would take temporary control of the Senate, making her next in line for the presidency.

"The country is experiencing dramatic moments and all parliamentarians have the obligation to give certainty to the country," she told a press conference.

But it wasn't immediately clear if the session would occur or if it a majority of senators would go along. Backers of Morales still have a majority in the body.

– TIMES/AFP/AP

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