Bolivia: Socialist Evo Morales Lands in Mexico, Claims Assassination Plot

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, left, welcomes former Bolivian President Evo Morales upon his arrival in Mexico City on Tuesday. Mexico granted asylum to Morales, who resigned on Nov. 10 under mounting pressure from the military and the public after his reelection triggered weeks of fraud allegations and deadly protests. …
Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press

Leftist former president of Bolivia Evo Morales landed in Mexico on Tuesday afternoon, fleeing his country after his resignation Sunday, and declared that he would remain “anti-imperialist” and in politics “so long as I live.”

Morales also claimed that a criminal conspiracy existed to assassinate him. In his remarks upon disembarking in Mexico, Morales claimed that a member of his security detail showed him messages from an unknown sender offering him $50,000 to kill Morales. He did not show any of the messages, name the accuser in his security detail, or otherwise offer supporting evidence of the claim.

The head of Bolivia’s Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party resigned from the presidency on Sunday after independent observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) revealed that significant evidence existed of fraud in the October 20 elections in which Morales allegedly won an unconstitutional fourth term in office. Maduro claims that he left due to a “coup,” not due to the fraud, and fled to Mexico despite promising in his resignation speech that he would return to his native Cochabamba.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, rose through the political ranks as a radical socialist advocate for the nation’s coca growers. Coca is the plant used to make cocaine.

In his resignation speech, he had promised to remain in Cochabamba to advocate on behalf of coca farmers’ unions.

On Tuesday, Morales told the people of Mexico he expected to remain in politics forever and would not renounce his far-left beliefs.

Morales told Mexican reporters that “the coup d’etat began” on October 20, the day of the presidential election, and succeeded because, “unfortunately, the police joined the last phase.”

He repeatedly stated that leftist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had “saved [his] life” by offering political asylum, although Morales is not facing any official criminal charges or confirmed threats. Morales did repeatedly make the case that his life was in danger at home.

“On Saturday, November 9, when I arrived in Cochabamba … a member of my military security team informed me of messages, calls, where he was asked to give me to them for $50,000,” Morales said, without ever defining who “they” were. Morales also stated that mobs at home had begun torching and looting the homes of socialist politicians. He claimed his home was looted and spared the fate of burning down because of his neighbors’ intervention.

Other socialist politicians faced “threats against children, abductions,” and other violence,” he alleged.

“I want to again say that I resigned so that there would be no more bloodshed, no more confrontation. I want to say that we are very grateful because the president of Mexico, the government, and the Bolivian people saved my life,” he continued.

Morales concluded with a call to arms to the international left.

“As long as I am alive, I will remain in politics. As long as I am alive, the struggle continues, and we are sure that the peoples of the world have all the right to free themselves,” he said. “I thought we were done with oppression, with discrimination, with humiliation, but other groups that don’t respect life, much less the country, are surging.”

He vowed to remain “anti-imperialist” despite his resignation.

Bolivia current has no president, as so many of the socialists in the chain of command also fled, and is engulfed in widespread mob violence. The violence is largely being committed by members and supporters of the socialist party MAS, however, not by the alleged right, as Morales claimed.

Bolivian newspapers described the chaos engulfing cities like La Paz and El Alto, a socialist stronghold, as a “wave of terror” launched by MAS supporters. Socialists burned down a third of the hundreds of buses in the La Paz public transportation fleet, have organized roadblocks across the city, and burned down or looted major businesses and private homes.

On Sunday, the commander of the special operations wing of La Paz’s police force, Herbert Antelo, died while trying to keep the peace against a mob tossing bags of dynamite onto the street. According to local media, Antelo “suffered an accident upon attempting to evade a bag of dynamite and crashing into a bus.”

The Bolivian newspaper Jornada called bags of dynamite a “typical” part of the riots that have engulfed the country since the October elections.

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