Evo Morales vows to return to Bolivia

Havana, December 9 (RHC)-- The democratically-elected President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, congratulated the Movement for Socialism (MAS) Party after having successfully completed its assembly, in which he endorsed its democratic vocation and presented its plan of political struggle to recover the government from the new far-right regime.

Through his Twitter account on Sunday, Morales said: "We are not alone in Bolivia or in the world, fighting with the truth for our dignity, united by life and democracy."

Morales, who received political asylum in Mexico after the coup d'etat against him in November, was appointed national campaign chief of the MAS-IPSP (Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples) to the national elections of 2020.

From Cuba, Morales spoke by telephone to the supporters of the political institute, assuring them that he will soon return to win the elections, "whether he wants to be right or not." 

The Bolivian leader, who left Bolivia on November 10 to avoid a "bloodbath" when repression against his supporters intensified after the coup d'etat, asked the MAS members for unity at the end of yesterday's first extraordinary national expanded in Cochabamba.

“I want to tell you, sisters and brothers, for now I am temporarily out of the country.  Any moment, whether I want to do it or not, whatever they say, whatever they do, I will soon be in Bolivia so that together we can face the elections and win them, as we have always done," Morales said.

Over the weekend, the MAS carried out a national congress to assess the political situation in the face of the 2020 general elections.  At the meeting, leaders from different social sectors expressed their support for Morales, whom they referred to as "their president."

Edited by Ed Newman
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Delayed OAS report on Bolivian elections sparks condemnation

La Paz, Dec 5 (Prensa Latina) Numerous criticisms are currently being levelled at the Organization of American States (OAS) which, after more than 44 days, presented the final report of the audit it undertook on the elections of October 20 in Bolivia, and in which it fails to offer any concrete evidence of fraud.

Twitter user Larissa Costas stressed that the OAS' delayed report was 'without rigor, with serious flaws in the method, generous in personal and political perceptions whose only intention is to inflate the bad literature to justify the coup in Bolivia that led to a fascist dictatorship.'

Others noted that while the OAS claimed there were irregularities in 3,4718 ballots cast in 226 polling stations, even if those votes were voided, the Movement Towards Socialism would still have enjoyed a lead of more than 10 percent.

'There is no mention of fraud and they are trying to imply that there were irregularities based on provisional scrutiny,' warns another Twitter user, ari lijala.

Yesterday, a hundred international experts in economics and statistics called on the OAS to retract its 'misleading claims' on the electoral process in Bolivia that led to the coup d'état against constitutional president Evo Morales.

On November 10, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called for the annulment of the elections after disseminating the preliminary results of the audit, which agitated sectors of the right that had presented a scenario of alleged electoral fraud since before the elections.

Shortly after the statements, President Evo Morales announced new elections and the formation of a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

But to consummate the coup, the Commander General of the Armed Forces, Williams Kaliman, and National Police Commander Vladimir Calderon, demanded that Evo resign.

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Evo Morales says the Bolivian people will prevail against U.S. and Israeli-backed coup

Mexico City, December 2 (RHC)-- From exile in Mexico City, Evo Morales has said that the Bolivian people will continue their fight against an American and Israeli backed military coup in the country and ultimately prevail.

The coup government, "assisted by Israel and the U.S., will prepare itself [to stifle resistance], but when a nation rises, no system can stop it, like the Bolivian nation which has risen in quest for truth, unity and freedom,” Morales said during an exclusive interview with Iran’s Spanish-language television channel HispanTV.

Morales was forced to resign on November 10th under pressure from the country's armed forces after the US-backed opposition there rejected the October election results.  He was granted asylum in Mexico.

Evo Morales has described his ouster as a coup and said there is evidence that Washington orchestrated it.  The former Bolivian also says that the United States opposes his return to Bolivia.

Earlier this week, Bolivia's self-proclaimed interim president, Jeanine Anez, signed a law preventing Morales from participating in a new election, which is expected to be held in upcoming months.  Interior Minister Arturo Murillo has hinted that the self-appointed government may seek to imprison Evo, accusing him -- without any evidence -- of terrorism and sedition.

Speaking to HispanTV, however, Evo Morales explained that his “biggest crime was returning hope to the Bolivian people,” as his economic policies had benefited the Bolivian people to the detriment of certain political and business figures.  “Be sure that under the orders of Washington, the right-wing party will not allow me to return,” he said, adding that “my crime is defending the oppressed, the workers and the indigenous peoples.”

“This is why I fear nothing and if anything happens to me or if I am arrested while returning [to Bolivia], the main culprit is the fascist right which carried out the coup, and secondly the United States,” he said.

Promising a strong movement against the coup government and stressing his right to participate in new elections, Morales did not specify if he would ultimately run for office or return to Bolivia in the near future.  “With Evo or without Evo, we will guarantee the freedom of the Bolivian people,” he said, calling on all “idigenous, workers and everyone to be alert and try to regain political power” in order to protect the “interests of the nation.”

Morales vowed that the Bolivian nation will unite almost unanimously against the “self-appointed government” in the near future once it starts implementing its “neoliberal’ economic policies which are “dictated from abroad.”   During the interview, Evo sent his “regards to all truth seekers within the international community" and "compatriots who are fighting for democracy.”

Edited by Ed Newman

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Bolivia forced to repeal controversial immunity decree for armed forces

La Paz, November 29 (RHC)-- The decree that gave criminal immunity to military and police forces in Bolivia was repealed on Thursday, after the de facto government stated that the country achieved what it called "the desired peace."

The self-proclaimed president of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez announced the repeal of the decree, much questioned by international human rights organizations and throughout the country itself, where violence since the failed elections of Oct. 20 leaves 34 dead, many for gunshots during military and police operations.

"We have achieved the desired pacification," Añez said at a brief press conference at the government palace in the city of La Paz.

De facto president argued that the supreme decree she issued on Nov. 14, two days after assuming power, was "a constitutional appeal" taken in the face of "violent actions never seen before" in the Bolivian "history."

Añez expressly referred to what she called "days of terror" in the city of El Alto, La Paz, where on Nov. 19 at least 10 civilians were shot dead after a military and police operation, when groups protested against what they called a coup by the now de facto government of Añez.

Likewise, the de facto government has denied that the armed forces fired, while entities such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which sent a delegation to Bolivia, denounced excessive use of force in the case of El Alto and other operations in the nationwide.   Ten other civilians were shot dead in the Sacaba region in Cochabamba on November 15th in a law enforcement intervention.

Amnesty International, the Ombudsman of Bolivia, which filed an appeal for unconstitutionality, and other international and country entities strongly criticized Supreme Decree 4078, which exempted military and police from criminal responsibility if they acted with "proportionality" and "in self defense."

According to the Bolivia Ombudsman, 34 people have died and 832 have been injured as a result of violence since the elections of 20 October, which have now been annulled.

The violence began the day after the elections, when Evo Morales was declared the winner amid accusations of fraud from the opposition led by Carlos Mesa of the right-wing party Comunidad Ciudadana (CC) and urban agitation by civic committees headed by Luis Fernando Camacho.

Morales announced on Nov. 10 his resignation, forced by the Armed Forces, after a preliminary report from the Organization of American States that warned of "serious irregularities" in the elections, something that until now has not been presented in its final version.

The next day Morales left for Mexico, where he was given asylum, and since then the army has been carrying out joint operations with the police, who asked for their support when they were overwhelmed by massive protests in the midst of a power vacuum.

Añez declared herself president on November 12th and Decree 4078 was issued on the 14th.

Morales's resignation has been described as a "coup d'etat" by several Latin American governments and politicians, as well as several leaders and social movements in the world.

Edited by Ed Newman
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OAS admits absence of final report on elections in Bolivia

Washington, November 28 (RHC)-- Although over a month has gone by, the Organization of American States does not have the report that allegedly would demonstrate the existence of irregularities in the presidential elections.

In response to a request made by the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (Celag), the Organization of American States (OAS) acknowledges that its final report on Bolivia's presidential elections is not ready yet.  "When it is complete, the final report and all its annexes will be available for public consultation," the OAS Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation director, Gerardo de Icaza, admitted.

His statement was made in a letter sent to Celag, an academic institution that requested the OAS electoral audit, which endorsed the existence of electoral fraud, be published completely.  "After offering us empty answers, they reply us with this letter on November 25, in which they recognize that 36 days after the elections they don't have a definitive report yet," Celag researcher Alfredo Serrano, tweeted.

After the October 20th presidential elections, reports of alleged irregularities were used by far-right politicians and businessmen to unleash protests that forced President Evo Morales to resign.

Amid this context, Celag and other research institutions criticized the OAS report as international observers recommended a second electoral round even before rural votes were counted.  After Morales resigned, opposition lawmaker Jeanine Añez self-proclaimed herself Bolivia's interim president on November 12th.

"This is sinister.  Bolivia's Army delivered the highest award of military merit to de facto president Jeanine Añez.  The coup continues, the death toll accumulates, the repression does not halt and they congratulate each other for breaking a country."

This US-backed political maneuver was supported by the Army and the Police, which unleashed a campaign of violent repression against citizens who protested the presidential succession.  On Tuesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) executive secretary Paulo Abrao also acknowledged that Bolivia may need help to investigate a "massive" number of human rights violations.

Therefore he recommended local authorities coordinate with an international panel of experts similar to one formed to investigate the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico.  "Normally in these situations... national institutions aren't prepared to resolve such a massive grouping of violations," Abrao said in Cochabamba, a region hard hit by the State-led violence.

Over the last week, thanks to a United Nations-led mediation process, the Añez administration and supporters of Evo Morales have managed to reach deals to pave the way for new elections, to end protests and to withdraw troops from the streets.​​​​​​​

Edited by Ed Newman

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Evo Morales says the struggle has not ended

Mexico City, November 27 (RHC)-- Bolivia’s exiled President Evo Morales reaffirms that "the struggle does not end here," referring to resistance to the November 10th coup and the establishment of a right-wing government in the South American nation.

The president, who was granted asylum in Mexico, gave a speech during a meeting with students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in which Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Minister of Health Gabriela Montaño also participated.

"It hurts [to see] so many lost families and how they [the right] are destroying what we have built for the economic liberation," Morales expressed, deploring the death of more than 30 people, as well as the dozens of wounded as a result of the repression carried out against protesters by armed and security forces.

The Bolivian leader reminded the audience that when he assumed the presidency, the country had a high rate of extreme poverty, basic services were almost all privatized and economic development was not as advanced.  He recalled that the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represented $9 billion when he won the elections for the first time, while it exceeds today $49 billion, allowing for a better redistribution of wealth among Bolivians.

"Of the 13 years of government we led, Bolivia was during six years the first country in economic growth in the region,” the president said.  The former president also denounced the neoliberal interests of the political actors that carried out the coup, as well as the “fascist and racist” practices of the right-wing political factions towards the Indigenous communities, and the violent attacks against the Movement toward Socialism's (Evo's party) supporters, who keep protesting in the streets against the newly self-proclaimed government.

The Bolivian leader also said that the country under former right-wing presidents who studied in the United States to go back home and apply their neoliberal policies, steal the natural resources and dominate and subdue the people in order to be the loyal to Washington's policies in the region.

Evo Morales went on to recall how his three consecutive administrations brought power and dignity to the marginalized groups in a country that was characterized by high levels of inequalities and segregation.   During his 14 years in power, Evo implemented policies that promoted steady growth and government investment in social spending.

The nationalizations and fights against privatization allowed the transfer of revenue into the hands of the government which was able to inject that money into public infrastructure.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Bolivian soldiers tear gas funeral procession for slain protesters

La Paz, November 22 (RHC)-- Bolivian military forces tear gassed a massive funeral procession in La Paz Thursday, as supporters of ousted president Evo Morales carried coffins of slain protesters through the streets. 

Thousands of demonstrators were mourning the eight indigenous protesters killed by the Bolivian police and military Tuesday in El Alto.  But security forces descended on the procession as it drew near the presidential palace.  Coffins were left in the streets as tear gas forced the demonstrators to disperse.  

It was the latest act of military repression since the coup that forced Evo Morales out of office almost two weeks ago.  At least 32 people have been killed by security forces in the violence that followed — mainly indigenous people.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Bolivian cable company Entel takes teleSUR off the air

La Paz, November 22 (RHC)-- The Bolivian telecommunications company Entel S.A. reported Thursday that they would take the signal of teleSUR off the air for "grid reorganization."   This takes place as teleSUR is broadcasting major -- and almost exclusive -- coverage of the repression of protests against the military coup in Bolivia.

The president of teleSUR, Patricia Villegas, responded to the move by Bolivia on her Twitter account.  "Before they said they had technical problems.  Obviously, censorship does not accept euphemisms.  We will continue to inform and hold strong to our commitment to report the truth."

In a statement sent to teleSUR, Entel says that due to what they said was "the reorganization in the television grid," the "General Conditions of signal transmission of teleSUR will be ended."

Edited by Ed Newman
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