Ilhan Omar Condemns 'Coup' in Bolivia as Evo Morales Steps Down Amid Allegations of Election Fraud

Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has called on Americans to condemn the removal of leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was forced to resign by the country's army following weeks of unrest over disputed elections.

Morales, who has been in power for almost 14 years, said Sunday he would leave his post after losing the support of the military and the police. Morales has been accused of rigging last month's presidential vote, and before being forced to resign has said he would organize a new election.

Announcing his decision to step down for "the good of the country," Morales also claimed, "Dark forces have destroyed democracy" and said right-wing protesters had attacked his home, the The Guardian reported.

Omar concurred, characterizing Morales forced resignation as an attack on the country's democratic processes. "There's a word for the President of a country being pushed out by the military," she wrote on Twitter. "It's called a coup."

The congresswoman added that the U.S. "must unequivocally oppose political violence in Bolivia. Bolivians deserve free and fair elections."

Other left-wing leaders also condemned the recent developments. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's left-wing Labour Party, said Morales' forced resignation was "appalling."

He added, "I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice and independence."

Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential candidate, said the resignation was "another RW coup in Latin America," referring to right-wing pressure against the president.

Morales—the country's first indigenous president—was a long-term fixture among leftist leaders in Latin America brought to power as part of the so-called "pink tide" around the turn of the century.

Politics in several regional nations have since drifted to the right, with other leftist leaders like Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro stubbornly hanging onto power despite calls to step down. Recent elections have, however, brought new leftist leaders to power in Mexico and Argentina.

The unrest in Bolivia began on October 20, amid allegations that Morales had rigged the presidential election to secure another term. The Washington-based Organization of American States reported "clear manipulations" of the voting system and said it could not verify Morales' claim of a first-round victory.

The president accepted the OAS' recommendation of a new ballot, but his position had become untenable. Morales claimed the army had put out an "illegal" warrant for his arrest, but the commander of the armed forces denied this, Reuters reported.

Regional reaction to Morales' resignation has been split on partisan lines. Leftist leaders in Cuba, for example, condemned the military's role in forcing the president to step down. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel offered his "solidarity" to long-time ally Morales, and said the world "must be mobilised for the life and freedom of Evo."

But in neighboring Brazil, the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro condemned Morales' apparent attempts to subvert Bolivia's democracy.

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said on Twitter that Morales had committed "massive electoral fraud" and said his nation would "support a democratic and constitutional transition." Araujo added that the "coup narrative" only risks inciting more violence.

Bolivia, coup, Ilhan Omar, Evo morales, military
People take to the streets of Santa Cruz to celebrate the resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales on November 10, 2019. DANIEL WALKER/AFP via Getty Images/Getty
Ilhan Omar Condemns 'Coup' in Bolivia as Evo Morales Steps Down Amid Allegations of Election Fraud | News