Bolivia’s Evo Morales called for the UN mediation and possibly Pope Francis, to mediate in the Andean nation’s political crisis following his ouster as president in what he called a coup d’etat that forced him into exile in Mexico. In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday in Mexico City, Morales called for the UN […]
Bolivia’s Evo Morales called for the UN mediation and possibly Pope Francis, to mediate in the Andean nation’s political crisis following his ouster as president in what he called a coup d’etat that forced him into exile in Mexico.
In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday in Mexico City, Morales called for the UN mediation and said he is in fact still the president of Bolivia since the country’s Legislative Assembly has not yet accepted his resignation, which he presented Sunday at the urging of military leaders following weeks of protests against a reelection that his opponents called fraudulents, Iran News quotes.
“The assembly has to reject or approve the resignation” which it has not done, said the man who ruled Bolivia for almost 14 years as its first indigenous president. “If they don’t approve or reject it I can say that I am still president.”
Morales submitted his resignation to Congress as specified by the Constitution, although he and his supporters say it was forced by the military and should have required a vote by the Senate on whether to accept it. His critics say the Constitution makes no mention of such a vote.
Morales said he would return to Bolivia from Mexico, which has granted him political asylum if that would contribute to his country’s pacification.
Political analyst Kathryn Ledebur of the nonprofit Andean Information Network in Bolivia, who has lived in the country for nearly 30 years, said Morales could have a case.
“A resignation letter has to be presented and considered, and accepted in the plenary before it goes into effect,” she said. “Do I think that Evo wants to return and be president? I don’t see that. But does he want to mess with them? Yes. He wants to keep them guessing.”
Two days after arriving in Mexico, Morales told AP he has received information that some Bolivian Army troops are planning to “rebel” against the officers who urged him to resign. But he gave no further specifics on how many were in on the plan, or how they would rebel.
Morales said he was “surprised by the betrayal of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” Williams Kaliman.
He called for calm and dialogue in Bolivia. “I want to tell them (his supporters) that we will have to recover democracy, but with a lot of patience and peaceful struggle.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday he is sending Jean Arnault, a personal envoy, to Bolivia to support efforts to find a peaceful solution to the nation’s crisis.
“I have a lot of confidence in the UN,” Morales said. But he noted he wants the world body “to be a mediator, not just a facilitator, perhaps accompanied by the Catholic Church and if Pope Francis is needed, we should add him.”
He said the United States was the “great conspirator” behind the “coup d’etat” that forced him from Bolivia.
Morales has long had a tense relationship with Washington and in 2008 expelled US Drug Enforcement Administration officials from Bolivia.
Bolivia’s interim leader Jeanine Anez has been recognized by some countries but faces an uphill battle in organizing new elections.
According to the Constitution, an interim president has 90 days to organize an election. The disputed accession of Anez, who until Tuesday was second vice president of the Senate, was an example of the long list of obstacles she faces. Morales’ backers, who hold a two-thirds majority in Congress, boycotted the session she called Tuesday night to formalize her claim to the presidency, preventing a quorum.