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LATIN AMERICA | 16-01-2020 12:19

Bolivian calls on Argentina to condemn Morales' militia comments

Interim government in La Paz demands Argentina disavow Morales' comments on the creation of "armed militias" in Bolivia. Former president later "retracts" idea.

Bolivia's Foreign Minister Karen Longaric on Tuesday askedo Argentina to "repudiate" the political activities of Evo Morales, after the former Bolivian leader said that if he returned to his country he would promote the formation of "armed militias."

"We call on the Argentine government to repudiate Evo Morales' comments, which are contrary to international law and order," the foreign minister said in a note sent to her Argentine counterpart, Felipe Solá.

"We are concerned that Mr. Morales is inciting the Argentine Republic to violate international norms and principles that prohibit interference in the internal affairs of states," Longaric told Solá in the note.

The letter adds: "Morales has crossed the line of legality, taking refuge in governments and territories that he uses as an operational base to violate democracy and the rule of law in Bolivia."

Longaric later confirmed on Twitter that Jeanine Añez's interim government had sent the letter "categorically rejecting Evo Morales' intention to form armed militias in #Bolivia.” The Bolivian government says Morales is violating the principles of political refuge by engaging in intense political activity.

Morales is currently in exile in Buenos Aires, where he has been granted refugee status by the government of Alberto Fernández.

In a recording played on Sunday on Bolivia's Radio Kawsachum Coca (RKC) — owned by the coca planters union to which he belongs—Morales repeated his belief that he had been the victim of "a coup". 

Morales said it had been a "colossal mistake" for his government not to have a "plan B" that would have allowed his Movement for Socialism party to hold onto power in the face of mounting pressure from opposition demonstrators.

He said he intends to return to Bolivia when campaigning for the elections starts, despite the risk of arrest. "Before long, if I return to Bolivia, we will have to organise popular armed militias, as Venezuela has done," Morales told RKC.

He confirmed to the Reuters news agency that the recording was genuine, but added that he did not want people to arm themselves with guns.

On Thursday, Morales posted on Twitter saying he "retracted" the idea, adding that he had the "profound conviction" to always protect "life and peace."

The Bolivian government has announced that it will include Morales' statement on militias in the ongoing trial at the prosecutor's office against him for sedition and terrorism.

Morales' public political activity has already affected La Paz's relations with Mexico.

President of the lower house Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, said Thursday that the Foreign Ministry had asked Morales to "be cautious with his statements."

– TIMES/AFP

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