Prosecutors Order Arrest of Bolivian Ex-President Morales

Dec 18, 2019
3:14 PM

Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales shades his face as he gives a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, December 17, 2019. Morales flew to Argentina, where the new center-left government said on December 12 that it had granted him political asylum. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Prosecutors in Bolivia’s capital issued an arrest warrant against ousted President Evo Morales on Wednesday, accusing him of sedition and terrorism.

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo recently brought charges against Morales, alleging he promoted violent clashes that led to 35 deaths during disturbances before and after he left office.

Officials say he ordered supporters to blockade cities in order to force the ouster of interim President Jeanine Áñez, who took over when Morales resigned on November 10 after a wave of protests and under pressure from the police and military.

Morales, who first flew to Mexico and now is based in Argentina, has repeatedly denied the charges as a setup.

Morales said Tuesday that he would campaign for the presidential candidate of his party in elections expected within the next several months, though a date has not been set. The candidate from Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism party is yet to be chosen,and the former president cannot run in the new elections.

Bolivia’s first indigenous president has described the movement that pressured him to leave as a coup d’état.

Critics of the long-ruling leader had accused him of using fraud to win a fourth straight term in office in an Oct. 20 vote, An audit by the Organization of American States backed up the allegations, saying it found evidence of vote-rigging.

Morales retains a strong following in Bolivia and has an ally in the government of Argentine President Alberto Fernández, who took office two days before the former Bolivian leader arrived in the country.

Bolivia’s interim government has expressed concern that Morales could use Buenos Aires as a campaign headquarters and might plot his return home.