UN Warns Bolivia Crisis Could ‘Spin Out of Control’ as Death Toll Mounts 

The United Nations warned Saturday that violence in Bolivia could “spin out of control,” following a night of skirmishes between security forces and coca farmers loyal to ousted President Evo Morales that left at least eight dead. Morales resigned under pressure from Bolivia’s police and military last Sunday after evidence of vote rigging tainted his October 20 election victory. He fled to Mexico. The leftist and charismatic former coca farmer has since called his ouster a “coup” and decried growing allegations of heavy-handed repression by security forces under interim President Jeanine Anez, a former conservative lawmaker. “The coup leaders massacre indigenous and humble people for asking for democracy,” Morales said on Twitter late Friday, following reports of mounting deaths.  Anez has blamed Morales for stoking violence from abroad, and has said her government wishes to hold elections and meet with the opposition to mend fences.  FILE – Coca growers, supporters of former President Evo Morales, run from tear gas as one of them kicks a gas canister during clashes with riot police in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, Nov. 15, 2019.The rising body count prompted Morales to strike a more conciliatory tone with the government of Anez in recent days. “For the sake of democracy … I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told Reuters in an interview in Mexico City. Morales’ party, now the opposition, has asked for a session of both chambers of Bolivia’s legislature this Tuesday to discuss a plan for holding the elections to replace the interim government. Anez, meanwhile, has moved quickly away from Morales’ leftist rule. On Friday, Bolivia asked Venezuelan officials to leave the country. The Andean nation also accused Cuba, once a close ally, of stoking unrest following Morales’ resignation. Anez spoke with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiado on Saturday. She said she was pleased to establish relations with a 
“democratic Venezuela.” “We have the same objectives, and I hope soon we can cry freedom for Venezuela, as it so rightly deserves,” she said in the televised meeting. 

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