11 Nov 2019 13:09

U.S.-backed coup staged in Bolivia, Morales stepped down to avoid bloodshed - Duma deputy

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) - Bolivian President Evo Morales has stepped down as a result of the U.S.-backed coup, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Alexei Chepa told Interfax on Monday.

"This is a coup, which, naturally, was organized by the United States. Given the pressure put on the army and the police, Morales decided to step down, obviously, to avoid bloodshed and destabilization," Chepa said.

The fact that the parliament speaker and some other statesmen have resigned also points to the coup, he said.

"Clearly, they wanted to avoid possible clashes and a civil war," he said.

Russia does not interfere in domestic affairs of other countries, but "we are ready to stretch out a helping hand to the Bolivian people," Chepa said.

State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee First Deputy Chairman Dmitry Novikov, for his part, told Interfax there had been plenty of examples in the history of Latin America when remarkable leaders regained control of the country after they were overthrown or lost an election.

"I think this politician will not leave the political stage either of his country or Latin America as a whole," Novikov said.

"Evo Morales is not old, he is strong, he has colossal experience, having transformed from a trade union leader into chief of state, and he enjoys colossal authority in various countries of Latin America, which increases his chance of being reinstated in Bolivia," he said.

"There have been cases in the political practice of Latin American states when progressive national leaders regained power after being removed from office by various methods," Novikov said.

There are a great variety of scenarios, he said.

Novikov cited the example of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who temporarily lost his office in April 2002 as a result of a coup, but was restored to power at a later period.

Another example is "Daniel Ortega, who lost the election in 1990, won a democratic vote in 2006, and has remained the fully legitimate president of Nicaragua for years," he said.

"There is no doubt that what has happened in Bolivia was a coup," Novikov said.

"Evo Morales had to step down in order to avoid a large-scale civil war. History will tell whether he made the right decision," he said.

Morales and all other top-ranking Bolivian officials have declared their resignation amid protests which started following the October 20 presidential election in Bolivia due to numerous violations.