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Bolivian President Evo Morales was deposed in a coup on Sunday after the army ordered him to resign. Morales has since accepted asylum in Mexico.
Morales was Bolivia’s first-ever Indigenous President and his reforms are credited with reducing poverty and illiteracy in the South American country.
Following his October 20th re-election that sparked protest across the country over its legitimacy, nine days later even Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland weighed in, calling “on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid violence and polarizing rhetoric.”
Three years ago, Morales narrowly lost a referendum to run for an unprecedented fourth term in office.
In 2017, Bolivia’s Supreme Court quashed that result and ruled affixing term limits was a violation of Morales’ human rights; that term limits themselves are a throwback to American imperialism.
On Sunday, Freeland welcomed a call for new elections in Bolivia following serious irregularities noted by the Organization of American States (OAS) Electoral Observer Mission to the country.
“The results of the OAS mission audit demonstrate serious failings in the conduct and accounting of the October 20, 2019, vote,” Freeland said in a statement.
“It is clear that the will of the Bolivian people and the democratic process were not respected.”
Morales’ main opponent was former television journalist and past Bolivian president Carlos Mesa who served between 2003-05.
While Morales’ victory was recognized by Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, and states in the Non-Aligned Movement, Canada joined the U.S., Brazil and the EU in calling for a recount.
With Morales’ fate uncertain in the army takeover, thousands of pro-Morales supporters and indigenous peoples took to the streets shouting “Now yes! Civil war!”
General Vladimir Calderón, head of Bolivia’s national police, said police units around the capital had been burned and looted.