AP La Paz, Bolivia, Nov: 13 Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has tweeted that he is leaving Bolivia for Mexico, which has granted him asylum. Peruvian authorities said earlier Monday evening that a Mexican government plane had flown from Peru to pick up Morales, who resigned Sunday after weeks of social unrest over a disputed presidential election.
In this tweet, Morales says: “I am leaving for Mexico, grateful for the openness of these brothers who offered us asylum to protect our life. It hurts me to leave the country, for political reasons, but I will always be concerned. I will return soon, with more strength and energy.”
The head of Bolivia’s military says that following reports police have been overtaxed by weeks of unrest, the armed forces will now provide help in keeping order. Gen. Williams Kaliman said Monday night the joint police-military force will seek to “avoid bloodshed” and he called on Bolivians to help restore peace. The announcement came as supporters and opponents of former President Evo Morales clashed in Bolivia’s streets. Morales resigned Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election.
Bolivian police chief Yuri Calderon says the joint policing operation will begin immediately and “end when the peace is recovered.” He also denies reports that he had resigned.
Mexico’s foreign secretary isn’t saying whether former Bolivian President Evo Morales intends to go to Mexico now that he has been granted asylum. Marcelo Ebrard says Morales asked for asylum in a phone call Monday afternoon and Mexico’s Interior Department has granted it.
Morales’ whereabouts are not known. While Ebrard has not said if Morales will be heading to Mexico, he strongly suggests that will happen. Ebrard says Mexico already informed Bolivia’s foreign ministry about the grant of asylum. He says that action was carried out “so that Mr. Morales may be granted, under international law, the safe passage and security and guarantees for his personal safety and liberty, so that he may go to safety.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is raising concerns about the Bolivian military’s involvement in the resignation of President Evo Morales. Morales resigned Sunday after Bolivia’s military chief called on him to quit after weeks of protests over his disputed victory in the Oct. 20 presidential election. The general spoke a few hours after the release of an Organization of American States audit that reported irregularities in the vote count.
On Twitter on Monday, Sanders said: “I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales.”
The candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination also said that “the U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions.” The Mexican foreign secretary says Mexico has granted the request for asylum from former Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Marcelo Ebrard had said Sunday that Mexico would give asylum to Morales if he wanted it, and Ebrard announced Monday that Morales had now requested asylum. Bolivia’s first indigenous president resigned Sunday after the military called for him to quit following weeks of protests over a disputed election.
U.S. President Donald Trump says the resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales is a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere. Trump says the United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect Bolivia’s constitution. Bolivia’s first indigenous president resigned on Sunday after the military called for him to quit, and following weeks of protests since a disputed election.