US President Donald Trump issued a statement Monday, calling the recent resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales a “significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.”
“After nearly 14 years and his recent attempt to override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people, Morales’s departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard,” reads the statement released by the White House. “The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”
“These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere,” the statement concludes.
Trump’s statement comes after Morales announced he was stepping down from his presidential post over the weekend after Gen. Williams Kaliman, the army chief of the Bolivian military, called on the former cocalero activist to resign and “allow for pacification and the maintaining of stability.”
A spokesperson with the US State Department chimed in on the matter, telling reporters during a Monday news briefing that the US has no preference among the candidates for the Bolivian presidency.
The South American country has been rattled for weeks by anti-government protests after reports of election fraud emerged following a result count that was ceased for a period for several hours, later to resume with Morales slightly ahead of his contenders. Talk of election fraud was further bolstered by the Organization of the American States’s(OAS) recent report that found “clear manipulations” of the voting system used in the presidential election.
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Aside from Morales, Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia and Senate President Adrianna Salvatierra and Victor Borda, the president of the lower house of parliament, have also resigned. Presently, opposition leader Jeanine Anez Chavez will be taking up the reins as Bolivia’s interim leader. Anez Chavez has indicated that new elections must be held by January 22, 2020.
Despite the recent developments, Morales has remained defiant, using social media to accuse opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho of orchestrating a coup against his leadership. Mesa, however, has stated that Morales’ resignation was the result of a popular uprising – not the military.
Reaction from world leaders of the weekend’s developments have been mixed, with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard stating that the events that unfolded were a “military coup.”
The OAS announced Monday that it will hold a special meeting on Tuesday regarding the situation in Bolivia at its Washington headquarters. The session was called for by the US, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and the Dominican Republic.