Former Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned November 10 following electoral unrest and an ultimatum issued by Bolivian police and armed forces. After the official tally of the Bolivian election, Morales’ opponent, Carlos Mesa, alleged fraud, sparking violent protests across the country. According to The Intercept, the Organization of American States (based in Washinton D.C.) proceeded to review the election themselves and stoked the anti-Morales protests. However, the Organization of American States has yet to offer solid evidence of any electoral manipulation. Some experts, like Bolivian scholar and anthropologist Bret Gustafson, say that the OAS playing any part in the removal of President Morales is questionable. This is due to the head of the OAS being a long-time advocate for the removal of Morales.
Upon resigning, Morales has left the country and is now residing in Mexico. On November 12, Deputy Senate Speaker Jeanine Anez, proclaimed herself the interim president of Bolivia in a session of the Bolivian Congress, the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, that failed to reach a quorum. There have been accusations that Anez and her allies seek to install a right-wing government like the current government of Brazil. However, Anez and the interim Bolivian government maintain that they are simply seeking to restore Bolivian democracy.
Many of Morales’ political allies have also resigned their positions out of fear for their lives. According to reporting by the Washington Post, among other sources, conservative vigilantes have burned down the houses of numerous Morales allies and made threats against their families. Further violence has been perpetrated at the hands of the ministers and officials that Anez has put into place. These acts have included violent reprisals against protestors, the arrest of journalists deemed to be seditious, and the exemption of police and military forces from consequences Furthermore, the Washington Post has reported that the Anez government is taking steps to completely disenfranchise Morales’ former allies and his party. These former allies may not be allowed to run for office in the future, and some ministers have been threatening to start arresting the former officials.
Despite the assurances of the Anez government, Bolivia seems to be turning into a government trying to fight its people; following the pattern recently set by Chile, Brazil, and Venezuela.
Joe Doner – Political Editor