Bolivia’s Former President Morales Call for Armed Militias Exposed

Juan Evo Morales Ayma, former Bolivia’s President, admitted on Sunday, January 12, 2020, that he was the one who called for the call for armed militias in Bolivia, a conflict-ridden country in South America. Morales called his supporters to boycott the new interim government which was led by the Morales-opposition leader Jeanine Anez on November 12, 2019. Subsequently, Bolivian prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for Morales for his involvement in anti-governmental activities.

Morales’ Rule in Bolivia

Juan Morales, the former coca farmer who led the Movement for Socialism (MAS) for 14 years, served as the President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. He was considered to be the country’s first indigenous president and was known for implementing leftist policies including poverty reduction, land reforms, and equal distribution of wealth defying the imperialist policy of the US and multinational corporations (MNCs) in Bolivia.

Morales won the country’s Presidential election of October 2019 but resigned on 10 November 2019after 19 days of civilian protest alleging irregularities in the electoral process. Two days later, a new interim government was formed under the leadership of Morales-opposition leader, Jeanine Anez. After taking asylum in Mexico, Morales called for his Bolivian supporters to denounce the newly formed government led by Anez and he claimed that the removal of his government was a military coup. In the subsequent clash between the Morales supporters and people, 29 people died in which a majority of them were from Morales supporters.

Morales said in the public-leaked recording, “If between now and in a little while… I were to return (to Bolivia) or someone else goes back, we must organize as in Venezuela armed militias of the people. We were too trusting. The blunder: we did not have a ‘Plan B’.”

Morales Defended of Calling Armed Groups

Earlier, a call recording was released by a Bolivian radio station, Kawsachun Coca Tropico which alleged that a conversation happened between Morales and his supports to form an armed group ahead of last year´s presidential election. Speaking exclusively to Reuters on Sunday night, Morales who is in exile in Argentina confirmed the voice in the recording was him. He admitted that he had called for making armed militias.

Referring to radio recording, Morales defended that people have the right to defend themselves if the new government became anti-people regime. However, he denied the allegation that he was not referring to armed with guns but defense groups. “In Bolivia, if the armed forces are shooting the people, killing the people, the people have the right to organize their security,” he said in the interview with Reuters. We´re not talking arms, more like slingshots.” He further added, “In some times (these groups) were called militias, in other times they were called union security or union police and in some places, it is called a communal guard. It is not new.”

Citing the recording, Bolivia’s interim president Anez, a former senator and political opponent of Morales, stated, “Peace, reconciliation, and democracy were never options for him.” She tweeted on Sunday night, “Given the intention of sowing terror and violence, they will only find the Bolivian people united, and in the face of threats, our deepest democratic vocation.” In mid-December 2019, Bolivian prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for Morales involvement in ‘sedition and terrorism’. In an interview in December 2019, Morales said he would return Bolivia by next Christmas but would not contest the next election which is scheduled to be held on May 3, 2020.

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