Organization of American States, OAS, Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza apologized to Bolivian president Evo Morales for the disclosure of a letter in which the indigenous leader back in 2008 when the discussion of a new constitution pledged he would not run for a third consecutive mandate.
The OAS secretary for Political Affairs, Kevin Casas-Zamora sent a letter to former Bolivian conservative president Jorge Quiroga (2001/2002), on his request, in which he points out that Morales accepted in 2008 not to seek a third consecutive mandate, in the midst of constitutional reform discussions when the opposition was blocking them precisely with the purpose of impeding the consecutive re-re-elections.
Quiroga who revealed the content of the letter in La Paz last week said that the OAS had certified that Morales would not be bidding for a third consecutive presidential period.
This openly countered the fact that Morales has already been proclaimed as candidate for a third consecutive period, following on a ruling from the Constitutional Tribunal which did not take into account his first mandate under the previous constitution.
The opposition argues Morales has already been elected for two consecutive mandates (2006/2010 and 2010/2015) and thus the constitution bars him from a third bid, 2015/2020.
The letter points out that the Constitutional Tribunal ruling “moves away from the prevalent interpretation during the 2008 negotiations”. That year the opposition and the government agreed that the constitutional reform should be understood in such a way that Morales would not take advantage to bid for a third mandate, when the constitution limits it to two.
That was part of the negotiations which involved delegates from OAS, UN, the EU, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina and facilitated reaching an understanding.
“The understanding was publicly endorsed by President Evo Morales” said the text of the letter which has triggered the current controversy.
Following the release of the OAS letter by former president Quiroga, the Bolivian government sent an official complaint to the Washington based organization. Following the complaint, Insulza made an official apology.
The Secretary General office is the most interested in that coordination with State members is done through official mechanisms and thus the necessary apologies for the omission in this procedure, said a letter from Insulza.
Morales is the undisputed leader of his party and of indigenous and peasant organizations, and while the opposition has several hopefuls for the election at the end of 2014, public opinion polls show that they don’t have much of a chance vis-à-vis the incumbent.
A third consecutive presidential mandate has opened a period of acrimonious discussions between the government and opposition in a clear anticipated pre-electoral confrontation.
Reacting to the situation President Morales said that the OAS needs ‘deep transformations’ because ‘we don’t want an organization at the service of the empire’, but at the service of the peoples.