The government of Bolivia will issue an arrest warrant against former socialist leader Evo Morales on charges of sedition and terrorism, President Jeanine Añez announced on Sunday.
Morales voluntarily resigned last month after the Organization of American States (OAS) published a preliminary report detailing evidence of fraud in October’s presidential election, which would have given him an illegal fourth term in office.
As deputy speaker of the Senate, conservative Jeanine Añez was last month appointed the country’s interim president. She has already gone about undoing parts of Morales’s legacy, re-establishing relations with the United States and cutting them off with rogue states such as Venezuela.
One of her other priorities has been to bring Morales back to Bolivia to face criminal charges, with the former leader fleeing to Mexico for asylum before receiving refugee status in newly left-wing controlled Argentina.
Speaking to reporters this weekend after attending a graduation ceremony in Tajira, she confirmed that a warrant on charges of sedition and terrorism would be issued “in the next few days.”
“He can return whenever he wants. He left because he wanted to,” she said. “He knows that he has to give answers to the country and will have to face justice. In the next few days, that arrest warrant will be issued, because we have already brought the various charges.”
According to audio recordings presented by the Interior Ministry, Morales held talks with coca farmers from Chapare following his resignation to coordinate attacks and civil disobedience across cities in Bolivia. He was also heard urging activists to block the passage of food and other essential amenities to create a state of chaos across the country.
Morales rose to prominence as a leader of a coca growers’ union. Coca is the plant used to make cocaine.
Last week, the Bolivian government also filed a petition to The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague received a petition against Morales and several of his senior officials for “crimes against humanity” committed in the aftermath of his resignation in November.
Given that Morales is unlikely to return, Añez urged him to respect his refugee status in Argentina and stop interfering in Bolivian politics.
“We would ask (Evo Morales) to let us live in peace,” she said. “Hopefully, he must not continue his sedition and terrorism from where he is as he must respect its refugee status. We will not allow him to steal more elections.”
Despite styling himself as a humble man of the people, Bolivian authorities recently found expansive and luxurious amenities such as a jacuzzi in a bunker that he claimed was a Cuban-run health clinic near the Bolivian capital La Paz, despite no evidence of him ever receiving medical care.
According to a nationwide poll released this month, an overwhelming majority of Bolivians do not believe that Morales’s resignation was the result of a “coup d’état,” despite such a narrative being aggressively pushed by his supporters and left-wing media outlets.