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Chennai Bulletin

Chennai Bulletin
பொலிவியாவின் முன்னாள் ஜனாதிபதி மெக்சிகோவில் புகலிடம் அளித்தார்

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Media captionWatch Evo Morales announce his resignation

Mexico has offered asylum to former Bolivian president Evo Morales, a day after his resignation following weeks of protest over a disputed election.

Mexico says the decision was taken for “humanitarian reasons” after a request from Mr Morales.

Mr Morales has not yet commented. He earlier urged his supporters to resist the “dark powers” that had forced him to step down.

At least 20 people were reported injured in clashes on Monday.

Mr Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, stepped down after the head of the army publicly called on him to leave his post.

The deputy head of the Senate said she would take over as interim president until new elections were held.

Mr Morales, a former coca farmer, was first elected in 2006. He has won plaudits for fighting poverty and improving Bolivia’s economy but drew controversy by defying constitutional term limits to run for a fourth term in October’s election, which is alleged to have been rife with irregularities.

What did Mexico say?

At Monday’s news conference, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said: “Several minutes ago I received a phone call from [former] president Evo Morales to verbally and formally request political asylum in our country.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Evo Morales supporters fought running battles with police in La Paz on Monday
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Meanwhile, Morales opponents – including police – have celebrated his departure

“Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero made the decision to grant him asylum.”

Mexico has a left-leaning government and has supported Mr Morales.

Mr Ebrard earlier described events in Bolivia as a “coup”, citing the military’s involvement in Mr Morales’ resignation.

Why did he quit?

Pressure had been growing on Mr Morales since his narrow victory in last month’s presidential election.

On Sunday, events moved swiftly. First, the Organization of American States (OAS), a regional body, announced that its audit of the election found “clear manipulation” and called for the result to be annulled.

In response, Mr Morales agreed to hold fresh elections. But his main rival, Carlos Mesa – who came second in the vote – said Mr Morales should not stand in any new vote.

Evo Morales at the  United Nations in New York on 24 September, 2019.

EPA

Evo Morales

  • 13 years, 9 monthsin power

  • 38 yearsleading the coca growers’ union

  • 54%of the votes won in 2005 election

  • 64%of the votes won in 2009 election

  • 61%of votes won in 2014 election

Source: BBC Monitoring

But what really seemed to tip the balance was the intervention of the chief of the armed forces, General Williams Kaliman, who urged Mr Morales to step down in the interests of peace and stability.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Morales said that he had taken the decision in order to stop fellow socialist leaders from being “harassed, persecuted and threatened”. He also called his removal a “coup”.

Reports say Mr Morales made the announcement of his resignation from El Chapare, a coca-growing rural area of Cochabamba and a bastion of support for him and his Mas party.

What has been the reaction?

Opponents of Mr Morales have been celebrating across Bolivia, setting off fireworks and waving national flags.

US President Donald Trump on Monday described the resignation of Mr Morales as “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere”.

The Russian foreign ministry said a “wave of violence unleashed by the opposition” had not allowed the “presidential mandate of Evo Morales to be completed”.

The Cuban president, Miguel Díaz Canel, tweeted that what happened was “a violent and cowardly coup d’etat against democracy in Bolivia by the right”.

Socialist-led countries Nicaragua and Venezuela also expressed solidarity.

Spain also expressed its concern over the role of Bolivia’s army, saying that “this intervention takes us back to moments in the past history of Latin America”.