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BOLIVIA’S ousted president Evo Morales struck a defiant tone today as he denounced opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho as “racists and coup-plotters” whose orchestration of mass violence had forced him from office.
Mr Morales resigned, alongside Vice-President Alvaro Garcia and senate president Adriana Salvatierra, late on Sunday night after being told to do so by the head of the army, General Williams Kaliman.
He said he was seeking a way to end the violence mounted by opposition supporters following his emphatic re-election as president last month.
But hooded rioters stormed his private home after the announcement, smashing and burning his belongings. His sister’s house was also burned to the ground.
“The world and Bolivian patriots repudiate the coup. We will come back and we will be millions, as Tupac Amaru II said,” Mr Morales declared, in a reference to the 18th-century leader of an Andean uprising against Spanish colonial rule.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, continued to recognise Mr Morales as the legitimate president and “what happened yesterday we consider a coup. It is a coup because the army requested the resignation of the president and that violates the constitutional order.” He said he would demand an emergency meeting of the US-dominated Organisation of American States and ask how it could remain silent at the “military pronunciamento.
“What happened is a step back for the whole continent. We are very worried,” he said, adding that Mexico would refuse to recognise any military government and that Mr Morales would be given safe haven there if he needed it. However, Mr Morales said he would stay in Bolivia’s Cochabamba region “to work with the people.”
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Spain was concerned at the power vacuum and that “it was the intervention of the army” that had forced Mr Morales to step down.
Supporters of the elected president set up barricades in roads leading to the main airport and erected signs declaring “Evo, we need you.”
World Peace Council president Socorro Gomes called for democratic and peace movements to redouble their vigilance “for the security of brave resistant militants against the persecution of the reactionary, conservative and fanatical forces behind the coup.”
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