Thousands of flag-waving supporters on Bolivia’s southern border have congratulated Evo Morales, as the country’s exiled ex-president embarked on a victorious homecoming, suggesting his four-decade political career may be far away.
“The fight continues as long as capitalism and imperialism exist,” the 61-year-old Morales announced, according to local time, to cross the international bridge between Argentina’s border town of La Quiaca and Villazón in Bolivia. is ready.
“Thousands of Bolivians are waiting on the other side of this bridge to embrace Evo… and do you know why? Because people have never considered it wrong, ”the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez said after Morales refrained from crossing the border. “Viva Bolivia! Viva Latin America! ” He added.
Villazón Morales told the crowd of miners and indigenous citizens: “We have reclaimed our democracy, without violence, and we have reclaimed our homeland once again.”
Bolivia’s first indigenous president resigned and fled to Bolivia on 11 November last year after an explosion of social unrest and backers condemned the indigenous coup. He initially sought asylum in Mexico but has spent the most time in Argentina in the past year where Fernandez’s leftist administration offered him asylum.
On Monday morning, Morales kicked out of a high-profile road trip home, a day after Bolivia’s new leftist President Luis Aers was sworn in following a landslide in October.
From Villazon, the 61-year-old politician plans to drive a caravan of vehicles northward to Chapar’s jungle province and the city of Chimora, where he began his political career as a union leader for coca farmers, known as Is known. cocaleros.
En route, the former leader’s homecoming is expected to pass through cities and villages arriving in Oruro on Tuesday and continue in Orinoc, the small village where his birthplace has been transformed into a $ 7m museum, which honored Morales Does.
Morales has said that social movements will determine whether he remains a leader or not.
In a video message celebrating his return from exile, Morales vows to continue the fight for democracy and Latin America.
“But, above all, I will not rest until a national agreement is sealed that excludes Bolivia and regional interests, driving Bolivia out of its crisis,” he said. “People have won,” Morales said.
Those comments will appease supporters, but can fuel fears of further fuel within Bolivia’s opposition, even some areas of the Morales Movement for Socialism (Mass) party, to which the former president himself after his return Will try to include Bolivia in politics.
Morales’ defenders praised him for the economic and social progress he had made during his 14 years in power. But the former President of Bolivia is also a divisive and in some quarters disparaged person, who accuses the country of authoritarianism, corruption and refusal to relinquish power.
When he was forced to be deported last year, with Morales trying to secure an unprecedented fourth term as president, voters in the 2016 referendum decided he should not have this right.
Jim Schultz, the founder of the Bolivia-centric democracy center, said it is unclear if any political ambitions still bother Morales, or how Ares felt about his return.
Speaking to the Guardian last week, Aers called Morales’ return “a very personal matter for him”, but insisted: “This is my government.”
Schultz said Arce’s challenge would be to give Morales a role, “where he feels honored and respected as opposed to actually controlling anything.”
He said, “It’s probably a sweet landing spot – that you find a role that is creative for them that captures their strengths, but it keeps them out of the power structure of the government and the power of the mess.” ”