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Corbyn condemns ‘appalling’ coup against Bolivia's President Morales

JEREMY CORBYN decried the forced resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales as a coup today, condemning the army’s demand for the socialist leader to step down as “appalling.”

Mr Morales announced his resignation on Sunday night shortly after calls from the head of Bolivia’s army to step down.

In a televised address the president said he made the decision for the “good of the country,” which has seen violent anti-government protests since Morales’s election win on October 20.

He added that he had been ousted in a coup attempt by “dark forces.”

The Labour leader voiced his support for Mr Morales and wrote on Twitter: “To see Evo Morales who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress, forced from office by the military is appalling.

“I condemn this coup against the Bolivian peoples and stand with them for democracy, social justice and independence.”

Mr Corbyn is a long-time supporter of the ousted leader, who became the country’s first indigenous leader 14 years ago, since which he has nationalised Bolivia’s resources, alleviated poverty and championed indigenous peoples’ rights.

His outrage was shared by shadow justice minister Richard Burgon who tweeted: “Latin America’s history offers many frightening examples of what happens when the military forces out progressive presidents.”

Support for the leader among some Bolivians has decreased over recent years due to his decision to seek a fourth consecutive term despite this violating Bolivia’s constitution.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Morales said he would call another vote after an audit by the Washington-based Organisation of American States (OAS) alleged it had found “clear manipulations” of the voting system ahead of October 20.

However Mr Morales still remains popular among Bolivia’s working class, and, even among critics, the military’s intervention rings alarm bells for the future of Bolivia’s democracy.

Friends of Bolivia, a British-based solidarity group, told the Star that Mr Morales’s forced resignation was “clearly a coup attempt” backed by the White House.

“The Trump administration has made its opposition to the Morales government clear on a number of occasions and this has hardened recently,” a spokesperson from the solidarity group said.

“Nobody denies that Evo Morales won the presidential election last month with 47 per cent of the vote.

“Yet now the military, backed by Washington’s OAS, have forced him out.”

The group expressed fears that Mr Morales’s social gains, including reducing national illiteracy, unemployment and extreme poverty, will now be “dismantled by the coup government.”

The World Peace Council (WPC) also denounced the “long-desired and planned” coup attempt which they claimed was “sponsored and supported by the US imperialists, hand in hand with the local oligarchy and their well-known instrument, the OAS.”

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