President Donald Trump praised the Bolivian people for forcing the resignation of socialist President Evo Morales, ending his 14-year rule after three weeks of intense protests.
Trump called the resignation “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere” and criticized Morales for an “attempt to override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people.”
Morales was barred from seeking a fourth term under Bolivias 2009 Constitution. His party tried to change the rule, but failed in a 2016 referendum. However, he still ran, after having the countrys Supreme Tribunal of Justice declare term limits invalid under a 1969 international treaty.
Morales resigned Nov. 10 after the Organization of American States (OAS) reported significant irregularities in the Oct. 20 election, and after he lost the support of the police and military.
Gen. Williams Kaliman, commander in chief of the Bolivian military, asked Morales to resign on Nov. 10 to “help restore peace and stability.”
“The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivias constitution,” Trump said in a Nov. 11 statement.
“These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.”
Morales announced his resignation from an undisclosed location. He accused his election rival, Carlos Mesa, and protest leader Luis Fernando Camacho of being part of a conspiracy and a “coup” against him.
His socialist allies in Latin America, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernández, described the move as a “coup.” Nicaraguas government, ruled by far-left leader Daniel Ortega, claimed “fascist practices” were at play during Moraless resignation.
Brazilian conservative President Jair Bolsonaro wrote “A great day” on Twitter, in an apparent reference to events in Bolivia.
Moraless departure has been marked by widespread celebrations in the landlocked Central American nation, home to about 11 million.
Some, however, have taken the chaos as an opportunity to loot and burn businesses.
“People are trying to cause chaos,” said Edgar Torrez, a 40-year-old business administrator in the capital La Paz, saying politicians and criminals were all taking advantage of the situation.
Under Bolivian law, the head of the Senate would normally take over provisionally. However, Senate President Adriana Salvatierra also stepped down Nov. 10, as did many of Moraless allies in government and Parliament.
According to the Bolivian constitution, another in line for the presidency is Senate Second Vice President Jeanine Añez, a member of the opposition Democratic Union party and senator for the department of Beni in the countrys lowland northeast.
Añez flew into La Paz, saying she was willing to take over. 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.
“If I have the support of those who carried out this movement for freedom and democracy, I will take on the challenge, only to do whats necessary to call transparent elections,” said Añez.
Speaking tearfully about the crisis, she said the Senate would look to hold a session on Nov. 12 and urged members of Moraless Movement for Socialism (MAS) party to find a constitutional solution and interim president.
Moraless resignation still needs to be approved by the Legislative Assembly, convened by both chambers of Congress. That appeared set to be delayed until at least Nov. 13 after the Chamber of Deputies said it would suspend a planned meeting on Nov. 12 as some of its members were unable to reach La Paz, citing “force majeure” and insecurity.
Protests against Morales started shortly after the election. Preliminary results showed that Morales didnt have the requisite 10-point lead over Mesa and a second-round runoff election was in order. Yet, on the evening of Oct. 20, the government stopped updating the results. When the updates resumed 24 hours later, Morales had a 10.12 percent lead, marking him the victor.
On Nov. 6, the opposition published a 190-page report alleging fraud, including some localities reporting more votes for Morales than there were registered voters.
Police forces were seen joining anti-government protests, while the military said it wouldnt “confront the people” over the issue.
Four days later, the OAS reported that it found “clear manipulations” of the voting system.
“The manipulations to the computer systems are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian State to get to the bottom of and assign responsibility in this serious case,” the preliminary OAS report had stated.
Morales has been known for inflaming rhetoric against “American imperialism” and for nationalizing Bolivias abundant natural gas reserves upon taking office in 2006. Hes also been criticized by other leftists for notRead More – Source