Bolivian President Evo Morales was ousted from office by the country’s military under pressure from protestors. Many Bolivians believe his election was a fraud and have held massive demonstrations to oppose it. Senate vice president Jeanine Áñez declared herself interim president and is planning to quickly hold a new vote to elect Morales’ replacement. Morales fled to Mexico City.
Many progressives and indigenous activists have condemned Morales’ removal from office. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have also condemned the removal. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been the most vocal, calling Morales’ ouster a coup in speaking to Univision journalist Jorge Ramos during a Democratic forum.
“I think Morales did a very good job in alleviating poverty and giving the indigenous people of Bolivia a voice that they never had before. Now we can argue about his going for a fourth term, whether that was a wise thing to do… But at the end of the day, it was the military who intervened in that process and asked him to leave. When the military intervenes, Jorge, in my view, that’s called a ‘coup.’” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
After fairly winning two consecutive terms as president that were allowed under the Bolivian constitution, President Evo Morales ran a third time under the premise that he had only run once under the new constitution, which became law in 2006 during his first presidential term. He won his third election and many believed it would be his last. The Bolivian Supreme Court then decided term limits should not be allowed because they infringed on Morales’ human rights. This allowed Morales to run a fourth time. He declared himself the victor with just 47.1 percent of the vote.
“Following the election last month, protesters took the streets noting the bizarre vote-counting behavior that blocked [Carlos] Mesa from a constitutional runoff election against Morales. Morales allowed the OAS (Organization of American States) to send independent observers to review election protocol last week; the OAS expedited the publication of its findings, which found “extremely grave” irregularities in the vote tallies.” —Frances Martel, Breitbart