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Evo Morales lands in Mexico after fleeing Bolivia

November 12, 2019

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived in Mexico after being granted asylum there. Stepping off the plane Morales credited the Mexican president with saving his life.

Morales waves aas he steps down from the plane
Image: Reuters/L. Cortes

Evo Morales landed on Tuesday in Mexico City, following the Mexican Foreign Ministry granting an asylum request from the former Bolivian president on humanitarian grounds. 

Morales was unequivocal as he condemned what he called "the sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history" after deputy Senate speaker Jeanine Anez proclaimed herself Bolivia's new interim president.

Tweeting from his Mexican exile, Morales called Anez "a coup-mongering right-wing senator."

Grateful to Mexico, will continue fighting

Earlier on Tuesday, the former president was in better spirits as stepped off the plane smiling and waving, wearing a light blue short-sleeved shirt before shaking Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard's hand.

"As long as I'm alive, we'll continue doing politics. As long as I'm alive, the fight will continue," Morales said.

Morales also credited the Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador saying "he saved my life."

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard holds the head of Evo Morales in his hands after arriving in Mexico city
Mexico offered the former Bolivian president asylum after he stepped down following contested election resultsImage: Reuters/L. Cortes

He went on to say that the only crimes he was guilty of were being indigenous and "anti-imperialist." His critics, including election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), alleged that his election victory was rigged.

Read more: Bolivia crisis: 5 things to know

Flight via Paraguay

Ebrard documented the former president's journey in a series of tweets, announcing his arrival on Mexican soil as well as a photograph of Morales during his flight on a Mexican air force jet. 

"It pains me to leave the country for political reasons, but I will always be watching," Morales, who has led Bolivia for the past 14 years, tweeted. "I will be back soon with more strength and energy."

The plane flew south for a stop in Paraguay after departing on Monday evening, before flying north to Mexico on Tuesday. 

Morales — Bolivia's first indigenous president —  quit his post on Sunday after an election on October 20 in which he sought an unprecedented fourth term. A disputed win for the 59-year-old sparked civil unrest, and he came under pressure from the military to quit the post.

Ebrard said Morales' "life and physical integrity" were at risk in Bolivia.

International reactions

The world has reacted with a variety of perspectives on the developments of the last 24 hours, with the Organization of American States calling an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation.

Read more: Bolivia protests: Student dies after violent clashes

Mexico, Uruguay, Cuba, Venezuela and Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez have said Morales was deposed illegally.

However, the US State Department has said the situation in Bolivia was not a coup. US President Donald Trump said that the events in Bolivia sent a strong signal to other Latin American countries, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua, and that "democracy and the will of the people will always prevail."

km, rc, jsi/msh (Reuters, dpa, AP, EFE, AFP)

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