Sanders 1st Democratic Candidate to Criticize Coup in Bolivia

“I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia,” Sanders said in a tweet.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders became Monday the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to express concerns about Sunday’s military coup in Bolivia, which forced its democratically elected President Evo Morales to resign.

“I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales,” Sanders said in a tweet, adding that “the U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions.”

The Vermont senator’s remarks came after pressure from his left-wing grassroots movement which called to condemn the events of recent days in the South American country.

Earlier Monday, Sanders supporters Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) denounced the coup in firm terms.

“The people of Bolivia deserve free, fair, and peaceful elections,” said Ocasio-Cortez, “not violent seizures of power.”​​​​​​​

Supporters welcomed Sanders’ expression of support for Morales.

“By far the biggest difference between Bernie and the rest of the Democratic candidates is how well versed he is in and how much he cares about the type of international left issues that, say, The Nation writes a lot about,” said reporter Matthew Zeitlin.

In harsh contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump stated his support for the Bolivian military’s role in the coup Monday saying that “the United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”

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Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to resign Sunday after the army and police called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory.

The coerced resignation came after Morales proposed a dialogue process with the opposition parties but was rejected, and even accepted the Organization of American States’ (OAS) call for new elections. On Monday the head of state was granted political asylum in Mexico.

In an interview with teleSUR’s correspondent in Bolivia Freddy Morales, the former president said the decision to call new elections was to preserve the peace in Bolivia “so that we do not confront the Bolivian family,” while calling on the opposition protesters to end the strikes and remove roadblocks in order to not harm the economy of the country.