Bolivia on tenterhooks after Evo Morales announces his resignation
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Tensions are running high in Bolivia after President Evo Morales announced his resignation. Of course, for supporters of Carlos Mesa and others opposed to Morales, then jubilation broke out. However, the crisis in Bolivia is far from over because counter-demonstrations will challenge an already tense situation.
The armed forces are bracing themselves for expected violence in La Paz and in other flashpoint areas. This will further lead to growing strains on the economy and lead to greater divisions in society.
Reuters reports, “Overnight on Sunday, gangs had roamed the highland capital, businesses were attacked and properties were set on fire. Schools and shops were largely closed, while public transport halted, roads were blocked, and rival political groups clashed on the streets.”
Since Morales announced his resignation, it now appears that he might seek asylum in Mexico. The Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, uttered, “Several minutes ago I received a phone call from [former] President Evo Morales to verbally and formally request political asylum in our country.”
The BBC reports, “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.”
Once it became known that the armed forces had turned against Morales then he re-evaluated the situation quickly. He claims that his removal is nothing more than “a coup.”
Equally important, after the recent mistreatment of Patricia Arce who was humiliated and paraded through the streets, then Morales feared for fellow supporters. Hence, Morales feared for the safety of other political leaders.
Morales said he resigned to prevent fellow left-wing politicians from being “harassed, persecuted and threatened.”
It remains to be seen if such a divided political arena can overcome such a tort and tense situation. Equally, the people of Bolivia are divided by being both pro and anti-Morales. Hence, all sides need to make a compromise in order to stabilize Bolivia.
If not, then further disruptions to the economy will follow and the same applies to increased violence.
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