Bolivia overturns coup after general election

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Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images

Luis Arce and allies celebrate victory

Confidence and stability finally begin to make their return in Bolivia after almost a full year of political unrest. Longtime politician, and now president, Luis Arce declares, “We have reclaimed democracy for Bolivia.” Thousands cheer for the new government and chant songs of support. However, while many Americans uninterested in global affairs might ignore this election as another power shift in Latin America, Arce’s landslide victory is not something to shrug off— it’s part of history.

The trouble picked up around November of 2019, when the Organization of American States released a report surrounding the re-election of Evo Morales to his fourth term, alleging fraud and irregularities in the voting process. This sparked mass unrest among opposition parties, which took to the streets to protest what they saw as a stolen election. Following calls from police, armed forces, and even trade unions which used to lend their support, Morales resigned after 16 years of holding office.

We have reclaimed democracy for Bolivia”

— Luis Arce

What followed, however, was far from a democratic process. As what many in the international community called a coup d’état, opposition senator Jeannine Áñez took power as interim president, suspending elections twice (the second being due to Covid-19) and completely reversing national focuses. Most notoriously, Morales, once beloved by the Bolivian people for his economic and social policies, was forced to leave the country in shame, finding asylum in Mexico.

This controversial rule is finally over, though, as a general election finally ousts Áñez, replacing her with Morales’s own former Minister of Economy, a demonstration by the masses that the Movimiento al Socialismo is the party of the Bolivian people.

Morales returns after nearly a full year in exile (Getty Images)

A more symbolic aspect of the new shift in power, Morales finally was able to return to his native country. On Twitter, the former president announced his homecoming, “Today is an important day in my life, returning to my homeland that I love so much fills me with joy.”

While most are still wrapped up in celebrations and transitional proceedings, the question remains: will Morales return to politics? The answer, it seems, will be no, at least on an official level. According to an interview with The Guardian, Arce was very pleased with the return but confidently stated “This is my government.” It seems now, while he will remain as a positive figurehead for the party, Morales is done with running Bolivia, and the party which he helped grow will have to govern without him.