Morales says Anez gov't using army against Bolivians

Bolivians taking own security measures in rural, community watch, says former leader

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 13.01.2020
Morales says Anez gov't using army against Bolivians


Bolivia's former President Evo Morales said on Monday that Bolivians are providing their own security due to the de facto government's alleged use of the armed forces against its citizens.

"How can peace and democracy be guaranteed in a state without rights if the de facto government of Bolivia uses, by decree, the FFAA [Bolivian Armed Forces] to slaughter and persecute the defenseless people?" Morales asked on Twitter.

He added that this situation leads people to provide their security with autonomous peasant patrols in rural, community watch and other ancestral forms for their safety.

"Bolivia lives a state without rights, where they send irregular groups 'pititas' and 'motoqueros', converted into de facto government paramilitary force, fencing homes, beating, requisitioning individuals and violating fundamental rights with the complicity of the Police," Morales said.

In a separate tweet, the former leader stressed that peace, reconciliation and unity in Bolivia would "only" be achieved by restoring the rule of law, eliminating paramilitary groups and fighting against inequality, discrimination and poverty.

Morales' remarks came as a response to a tweet of Bolivia's interim President Jeanie Anez.

"Morales' statements only show that peace, reconciliation and democracy were never options for him," Anez said after Bolivian radio Kawsachun Coca Tropico released a recording of Morales.

Anez accused the former leader of having an intention "of sowing terror and violence."

"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," Morales said in the recording. "We were too trusting. The blunder: we did not have a 'Plan B."

Morales later confirmed that it was his voice in the recording in an interview with Reuters on Sunday, saying people have a right to defend themselves if the new government was attacking them.

Morales also defended Sunday his remarks in the leaked recording on Twitter.

He said the indigenous farmers always have provided their own security.

"In some regions, it was called a community watch; in other ones: militias. Now, union police or union security. All within the framework of our uses and customs, and respecting the Constitution," Morales added.

Turmoil in Bolivia began when Morales won a fourth term in office in October and faced immediate resistance from opposition parties that challenged election results. Protesters took to the streets claiming the ballot was rigged.

After weeks of upheaval, Morales resigned under pressure from the military and moved to Mexico, where he was offered political asylum. He was then granted asylum in Argentina.

Meanwhile, conservative Senator Anez proclaimed herself interim president.

A new presidential election is set for May 3, however, Morales will not be able to run as he has already hit the constitutional limit of two terms of office.

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