Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales said he is “very afraid” that ongoing political unrest, which left at least 23 people dead, will lead the country to a civil war.
Morales called for a national dialogue as the only way forward to end the violence and on his followers to not lean towards violence, in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE on Sunday.
He also claimed that “the gang members receive $100 per day” to keep up violent protests against him.
Opening door to an international mediation with the presence of the UN, EU or Catholic Church, Morales said: “How good it would be if the government of Spain or [Former Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez] Zapatero, [Former Uruguayan] President Pepe Mujica or other governments to take role in mediation”.
Morales’ statement came at a time when the death toll from the political unrest rose to at least 23 on Sunday.
He has continued to post on Twitter about the violence in his country, saying 24 — not 23, like several other reports claim — have actually been killed for the last several days.
The turmoil began in October, when the indigenous leader won a fourth term in office facing immediate resistance from opposition parties that have not conceded the election results. Protesters took to the streets claiming the elections were rigged.
After weeks of protests, Morales resigned from his position and moved to Mexico, where he was offered political asylum. In his place, conservative senator Jeanine Anez announced she would be interim president.
But the protests have not died down. Since Morales left for Mexico, mostly rural and indigenous protesters who support him have shown up in the capital La Paz and other major cities like Sacaba and Cochabamba, the hometown of Morales. They say the ouster of their elected president upon military’s suggestion is a coup.
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