President Donald Trump praised the Bolivian people for forcing the resignation of socialist leader Evo Morales.
In a statement published by the White House, the president stressed that the fall of Morales, after almost 14 years in power, represents “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.”
Morales resigned after three weeks of intense protests where a vast sector of society claimed there was electoral fraud in the last presidential elections. This fact was ratified by the Organization of American States (OAS), which denounced significant irregularities in the elections of Oct. 20.
After losing the support of the police and the army, Morales resigned on Nov. 10.
President Trump stressed that the socialist leader tried to “override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people.”
Indeed, since he took office in January 2006, Morales remained in power even after the Bolivian justice system prohibited him from running for a fourth term, since it was not allowed by the Bolivian Constitution.
That is why the former union leader launched a referendum to change the constitution, but it was not supported by the population.
However, he ran for office after the Supreme Court of Justice declared the limits of the mandate invalid by citing a 1969 international treaty.
During his terms, Morales nationalized Bolivia’s natural gas reserves, allowing him to apply subsidies and increase public spending.
However, as gas prices went down, exports and thus government revenues went down, while poverty ceased to go down.
Likewise, in recent years, international organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have denounced Morales’s human rights record, highlighting that the leftist leader created a “hostile environment for human rights defenders.”
This year’s presidential elections were marked by uncertainty and suspicion of fraud. The first results showed that Morales beat his rival Carlos Mesa but with a difference of less than 10 points, so there would be a second round. But at that moment, unexpectedly, the authorities stopped updating the results.
In an uncertain scenario, a day later the government reported that the final results indicated that Morales had won with a 10.12 percent lead. This was the beginning of citizen protests and denunciations of fraud, which would later be certified by international bodies such as the OAS.
“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,” President Trump said after Morales resigned.
“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 president concluded.
With the resignation of the vice president of the executive branch and the head of the Senate, the second vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, member of the opposition Democratic Union party, was left in charge of the government of the South American country of 11 million inhabitants.
“If I have the support of those who carried out this movement for freedom and democracy, I will take up the challenge, just to do whatever is necessary to call for transparent elections,” Añez said.