Socialist ex-President Evo Morales accused the current interim government of Bolivia — in power because Morales chose to resign — on Sunday of “not respect[ing] liberty, dignity, and identity” for establishing friendly relations with and asking help from the “Zionist” government of Israel.
Morales cut ties with Israel in 2009 and has accused its government of “genocide,” siding with much of the world’s Muslim leadership and cementing alliances with dictators like Iran. He stepped down on November 10 after the Organization of American States (OAS) published a report revealing significant fraud in the October 20 presidential election, which Morales appeared to be competing in a dead heat for until the election commission redirected the tally to a mystery private server outside of the government’s purview. Morales then won the election by a landslide.
Morales was constitutionally banned from running for his fourth presidential term this year, but in 2017 he forced the nation’s supreme court to declare he had a “human right” to be on any ballot in the nation indefinitely.
Following his resignation, Morales fled to Mexico and claimed to have been the victim of a “coup,” despite the fact that the Bolivian military has not taken any undue power since he fled the country and the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, made clear she would not run in the special election she was appointed to organize.
Morales is currently in Cuba, from which he is managing the campaign of the leftist Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party candidate, yet to be chosen, in the special election. The interim government is allowing MAS to participate even though their candidate won the last election through confirmed irregular vote-counting activity.
Áñez is using her time in office to rehabilitate much of the country’s government in the aftermath of nearly a decade and a half of socialist rule; re-establishing diplomatic relations with Israel was an item close to the top of the list of reforms she sought.
Áñez’s government has also sought help from Israeli officials on how to combat terrorist activity in the country. Following Morales’ resignation, his MAS party began organizing riots in the nation’s largest cities, intended to paralyze the economy and force officials to accept Morales’ return to power.
Police have arrested dozens of foreign nationals — mostly Cubans and Venezuelans, though at least one Argentine terrorist tied to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — allegedly organizing riots, paying agitators to destroy property, and planting explosives.
Morales used Twitter on Sunday to condemn the interim government for reaching out to Israel.
“The de facto government asks the Zionist government of Israel for help to combat the left. The coup plotters are the violent ones, who do not respect liberty, dignity, and identity with foreign military intervention policies that divides us among brothers,” Morales posted on Twitter.
Morales refers to the government as “de facto” to emphasize that he does not accept its constitutional legitimacy. Áñez, a hardline conservative, came into power because Morales’ MAS cabinet resigned and fled the country and she, as deputy Senate president, was the highest person left in the line of succession still in Bolivia when Morales resigned.
Áñez re-established relations with Israel in late November.
“The least one could expect of this government is to rectify our foreign policy, a deviated foreign policy that did not tend to the state’s very interests and was highly ideological,” Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said at the time.
The pivot to Israel addresses the belligerent rhetoric Morales typically used against Israel and his decision to cut ties with the country in 2009. Morales has referred to Israel’s government as “genocidal” for acting against jihadist terrorists in the Palestinian territories and condemned the United States for opening an embassy in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, instead of operating only out of a consulate in Tel Aviv. Morales also cut diplomatic ties with America, which Áñez is seeking to restore.
Shortly after Áñez restored ties, Israel applauded the move and welcomed Bolivia back to its diplomatic fold, Minister of Government (typically known in other country’s as interior minister) Arturo Murillo announced that he had reached out to Israel for help in combatting terrorism, citing the violent activity of Morales supporters in the country.
“We’ve invited them to help us,” Murillo said in remarks to Reuters. “They’re used to dealing with terrorists. They know how to handle them. … The only thing we want is to bring peace.”
Murillo had revealed in late November a phone call that Bolivian authorities had intercepted between a leftist organizer and Morales, speaking from self-imposed exile in Mexico, in which Morales was attempting to coordinate a food blockade to starve out his own people, ideally resulting in his return to power.
“Brother, don’t let food into the cities, we will really blockade,” Morales said in audio Murillo played to reporters at a press conference. “When they expelled me from Congress in 2002, they did a blockade. And now, they kick me out of Bolivia; there is a blockade. We will win.”