Monday, November 11, 2019

Evo Morales Coup d'Etat in Bolivia? (VIDEO)

Following-up, "Latin America Primed to Explode."

Morales has stepped down. Not sure if it's an actually coup or just a regular mass protest bringing down the regime.

At the Washington Post, "After Morales' resignation, a question for Bolivia: Was this the democratic will, or a coup?":

Bolivians awoke Monday, leaderless and dazed, to the smoldering embers of the torched homes of socialists after the resignation of longtime president Evo Morales, the leftist icon driven from office amid accusations his party stole last month's election. As South America's poorest nation processed the fast-moving events of the day before, its citizens confronted a key question: Had democracy failed, or prevailed?

Morales, who transformed Bolivia during his nearly 14 years in office, called the pressure that forced him out on Sunday a "coup." Early in the day, the Organization of American States said it had found "clear manipulation" of the October 20 election. Violence that had simmered since the vote escalated. The heads of the armed forces and police withdrew their support, andthe opposition unfurled a wave of attacks on Morales' socialist allies.

By late Sunday, all four socialist officials in the constitutional chain of command - the president, the vice president and the heads of the senate and chamber of deputies - had resigned. What was left of congress was set to meet on Monday to pick an interim leader.

Carlos Mesa, the former president who finished second to Morales in the Oct. 20 vote, rejected the word "coup." He called it a "democratic popular action" to stop a government that was seeking to install itself as authoritarian power.

Mesa said Monday Bolivia's legislature should select a new president to lead until the country could hold new elections, required within 90 days. Mesa said Sunday that no one from Morales's Movement for Socialism (MAS) should be picked as interim leader, but he insisted Monday that MAS members should not fear persecution.

"The clear will of the democratic opposition is to build a new democratic government, respecting the constitution," he said.

Jeanine Añez, the fiercely anti-Morales second vice president of the senate, said Monday she would accept a caretaker presidency if offered. Some opposition officials rallied around her, arguing that constitutionally, the job should fall to her. My "only objective would be to call elections," she told reporters.

Yet Bolivia was confronting deep divisions and lingering violence - with the strong possibility of more. Overnight, with Morales' whereabouts unknown, opposition protesters looted and burned the homes of socialist politicians - including Morales. At least 20 MAS officials sought asylum in the Mexican Embassy. La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla Herrero said 64 buses had been burned since Sunday. Schools and businesses were closed Monday, and transportation was shut down.

Some in the opposition where clearly out of for vengeance against a government that had ruled South America's poorest country since 2006. Right-wing leader Luis Fernando Camacho called Sunday evening for two more days of protests and said he would present proposals for the prosecution of Morales, his former vice president, Alvaro Garcia Linares, and MAS legislators.

"Let's start judgments of the criminals of the government party, putting them in jail," he said in a video statement.

Two members of the electoral tribunal - its former president Maria Eugenia Choque and former vice president Antonio Costas - have already been detained. An election official in Santa Cruz, Sandra Kettels, was arrested Monday morning. The prosecutor's office hasannounced warrants against all electoral officials.

"A night of terror," the national newspaper La Razón declared. On Monday, angry Morales supporters set up barricades to block roads leading to the El Alto-La Paz airport, the Associated Press reported.

Morales claimed late Sunday that an arrest warrant had been issued against him. Vladimir Calderón, the head of the national police, denied Sunday that an arrest order had been issued. But Calderón resigned on Monday, adding to the confusion on the ground.

Morales and his opposition blamed each other for the violence...