US lawmakers call for US opposition to Bolivia ouster

ANKARA

Fourteen U.S. House members sent a letter to the secretary of state calling on the administration of President Donald Trump to oppose a recent ouster of the former Bolivian president, who was recently forcibly removed from office.

“Rather than supporting a military coup, our government should make it clear that the unconstitutional removal of an elected president is unacceptable, as is the persecution of individuals based on their race or political affiliations,” Congressman Hank Johnson said in the letter co-signed by 13 others to Mike Pompeo

“This Administration is once again showing that it has nothing but disdain for democracy and human rights, when they get in the way of President Trump’s agenda,” it added, urging support for “democracy and human rights in Bolivia”.

It encouraged the Trump Administration to reverse course and push for restoration of constitutional rule in the Latin American country, including the holding of new free and fair elections.

The letter’s signatories include congress members Ilhan Omar, Susan Wild, Raul Grijalva, Jan Schakowsky, Jared Huffman, Deb Haaland, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, James McGovern, Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia, Bobby L. Rush, Ayanna Pressley, Alan Lowenthal and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Turmoil in Bolivia began in October, when indigenous president Evo Morales won a fourth term in office 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.

Then-Senator Jeanine Anez, an opposition conservative, subsequently proclaimed herself interim president.

Public demonstrations have yet to subside, with mostly rural and indigenous pro-Morales supporters taking to the streets in numerous cites, including the capital La Paz, since Morales left the country.

Backers of Morales insist the ouster of the elected former president was a coup.
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