Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has come out swinging on Bolivia, following an initial period of being silent and reflection on the issue after leftist President Evo Morales was forced to step down on November 10 over growing anger at election irregularities, whereupon he was given political asylum in Mexico.
“What happened in Bolivia is a coup. Period,” Gabbard wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Friday while warning against any US interference.
“The United States and other countries should not be interfering in the Bolivian people’s pursuit of self-determination and right to choose their own government,” she argued.
Washington had been quick to endorse and recognize opposition senator Jeanine Anez as 'interim president' after she controversially declared herself such without a senatorial quorum or public vote, and as Morales' Movement for Socialism was said to be barred from the senate building when it happened.
What happened in Bolivia is a coup. Period. The United States and other countries should not be interfering in the Bolivian people's pursuit of self-determination and right to choose their own government.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 22, 2019
Gabbard's statement, which again sets her far apart from a large field of establishment and centrist candidates on foreign policy issues, comes a few days after Bernie Sanders was the first to condemn the events which led to Evo's ouster as a military coup.
“When the military intervened and asked President Evo Morales to leave, in my view, that’s called a coup,” Sanders tweeted Monday, while linking to a video showing Bolivian security forces dispersing an indigenous pro-Morales protest using a volley of tear gas canisters.
I oppose the intervention of Bolivia's security forces in the democratic process and their repression of Indigenous protesters. When the military intervened and asked President Evo Morales to leave, in my view, that’s called a coup. pic.twitter.com/TPFGxw1wWP— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 18, 2019
Meanwhile, in a new interview with Russian media this week, Evo Morales said the right-leaning Organization of American States (OAS), which had initially cited "clear manipulations" in the voting surrounding his controversial re-election to a fourth term, played a prime role in deposing him, and that ultimately Bolivia’s huge reserves of lithium were being eyed by the United States and its right-wing Latin American allies.
“The OAS made a decision and its report is not based on a technical report, but on a political decision,” Evo told RT in the interview from Mexico.
Addressing his country's most valued natural resource, he said, "In Bolivia we could define the price of lithium for the world...Now I have realized that some industrialized countries do not want competition" — while implying Washington had helped engineer his downfall.
Most estimates put the impoverished country's Lithium supply at about 60% of the world's known reserves.
The White House in the days after Evo's ouster had called it a “significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere”; however, the now exiled former president described it as "the sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history."
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Watch key moments of the translated RT interview below: