Bolivian leader Evo Morales steps down. The leftist had served longer than any other current head of state in Latin America.
President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who came to power more than a decade ago as part of a leftist wave sweeping Latin America, resigned on Sunday after unrelenting protests by an infuriated population that accused him of undermining democracy to extend his rule. Mr. Morales and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera, who also resigned, said in a national address that they were stepping down in an effort to stop the bloodshed that has spread across the country in recent weeks. But they admitted no wrongdoing and instead insisted that they were victims of a coup.
“The coup has been consummated,” Mr. García said. Mr. Morales was once widely popular, and stayed in the presidency longer than any other current head of state in Latin America. He was the first Indigenous president in a country that had been led by a tiny elite of European descent for centuries, and he shepherded Bolivia through an era of economic growth and shrinking inequality, winning support from Bolivians who saw him as their first true representative in the capital.
“I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the fight does not end here,” Mr. Morales said on Sunday. “The poor, the social movements, will continue in this fight for equality and peace.” “It hurts a lot,” he added. Mr. Morales’s reluctance to give up power — first bending the country’s laws to stand for a fourth election, then insisting that he won despite widespread concerns about fraud — left him besieged by protests, abandoned by allies and unable to count on the police and the armed forces, which sided with the protesters and demanded he resign.
As the country slipped into deeper turmoil over the weekend, protesters voiced their fear of Bolivia’s trajectory under Mr. Morales. “This is not Cuba. This is not Venezuela!” they chanted in La Paz, Bolivia’s main city, over the weekend. “This is Bolivia, and it will be respected.”
Information and Image have been shared from an Article by Ernesto Londoño, published at The New York Times, on Sunday, November 10th, 2019. Images Credit: Aizar Raldes / AFP Agence France-Presse / Getty Images, 2019.