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LATIN AMERICA | 21-12-2019 13:32

Bolivian interim government asks UN to help it silence Evo Morales

Bolivia’s interim government on Thursday appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in an attempt to stop former president Evo Morales from influencing next year’s general election.

Morales has remained heavily involved in politics and has been particularly vocal on social media since fleeing to Mexico last month following his resignation.

Bolivia’s interim government initially petitioned Mexico to prevent Morales from making political statements, but to no avail. Now that he’s closer to home in neighbouring Argentina, the interim government has decided to act.

“We’re going to ask whether it’s allowed for refugees to broadcast political opinions or take part in political events that threaten the stability of the country that is pursuing them,” said Foreign Minister Karen Longaric.

Bolivia issued an arrest warrant for Morales on Wednesday after the interim government accused him of “terrorism” and “sedition.” They accuse the iconic leftist indigenous leader of fomenting unrest and released an audio recording in which he allegedly tells one of his supporters to block trucks and interrupt the food supply to several cities.

Morales, 60, claims the audio recording is a fake. He resigned and fled Bolivia last month after civil unrest broke out following his reelection in an October 20 poll widely dismissed as rigged.

The result was annulled following an Organisation of American States audit that found clear evidence of vote rigging. The European Union said Friday its own mission team had discovered “errors and irregularities” in an audit.

Former union leader Morales claims he was the victim of a coup d’état and denounced the arrest order as “illegal, unfair and unconstitutional.”

The government of right-wing interim President Jeanine Áñez has repeatedly said it will hold new elections, but no date has yet been set.

Morales is barred from running in the next elections, but while speaking on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, he vowed to back whoever stands for his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

“I’m convinced that we’ll win the next elections. I won’t be a candidate but I have a right to be in politics,” Morales, who played football with Tourism and Sports Minister Matías Lammens this week, told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

Morales spoke of meeting Argentina’s new leaders as he launched his party’s election campaign from the Liniers neighbourhood of the capital, a part of the City with a large Bolivian community. MAS has named Morales as their election campaign manager.

“My obligation now that I’m not a candidate, now that I’m not the president, is to accompany candidates so that they can win the elections,” he declared.

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