Mexico’s president calls events in Bolivia ‘regrettable’ and offer asylum

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday described the weekend’s events in Bolivia as “regrettable” and said his foreign minister would give the government’s position on the situation in the South American country shortly.

Lopez Obrador was speaking to reporters at a regular government news conference after Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president since 2006, resigned under pressure from anger over his disputed re-election last month.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday that the country would offer asylum to outgoing Bolivian President Evo Morales if he sought it, in a sign of Mexico’s new prominence among left-leaning governments in Latin America.

Led by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the government delivered a strong defense of Morales, who said on Sunday that he would resign after the country was rocked by protests over a disputed election plagued by irregularities the military and police called on him to step down.

“We recognize the responsible attitude of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who preferred to resign rather than to expose his people to violence,” Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter, adding that the Mexican government would explain its views in more detail on Monday.

Mexico was among the first countries to congratulate Morales after his victory in late October, despite questions surrounding the election results

Latin American countries have oscillated over the past few decades between left-wing and conservative governments, often with radically different economic and social policies.

Since last year, anger at corruption, inequality, and poverty have pushed conservatives out of office in Mexico and Argentina, while fueling protests in recent weeks that forced Ecuador and Chile to water down economic policies.

Mexico has a long history of giving refuge to left-wing exiles fleeing military rule and repression in the region, a history that Ebrard nodded to on Sunday.

In a series of tweets, he denounced what he called a “military operation” in Bolivia. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on what Ebrard meant.

“We reject this, it is similar to the tragedies that bloodied our Latin America last century,” he said. “Mexico will maintain its position of respect for democracy and institutions. No coup.”

Ebrard added that the country had received 20 Bolivian officials and lawmakers at its diplomatic residence in La Paz.

“We are in solidarity with the inviolability of diplomatic representations, now we require the same international solidarity so that the integrity of the Mexican embassy and residence headquarters in Bolivia is respected,” he wrote.

Source: notimex, reuters

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