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Presidents of Bolivia and Mexico warn OAS to do its job and nothing more

Friday, March 26th 2021 - 10:55 UTC
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AMLO and Arce highlighted the importance of keeping Latin America and the Caribbean strong through the Covid crisis AMLO and Arce highlighted the importance of keeping Latin America and the Caribbean strong through the Covid crisis

The presidents of Mexico and Bolivia signed a joint statement warning Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro to stay away from their countries' domestic matters.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Luis Arce Catacora, who met at the Mexican capital, conveyed to the Uruguay-born Almagro their decision that “they will not tolerate interference in internal affairs.”

López Obrador and Arce have concurring views on Almagro's role and that of the OAS in the political and social crisis between October and November 2019 which led to the toppling of then Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Both leaders urged the OAS to respect democracy and “to act within its own institutional framework and to refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of the member states.”

In a joint statement issued Thursday on the occasion of Arce's official visit to Mexico, they also cautioned Almagro for his recent attempt to censor the arrest of Jeanine Áñez, who led the de facto government established after Morales' fall.

The 22-point document also addressed the Covid-19 pandemic and highlighted the importance of keeping Latin America and the Caribbean strong, united and in solidarity; and the need for no country in the region to be excluded from access to medicines and vaccines.

Both Bolivia and Mexico supported the Covax mechanism and signed the agreement between Mexico, Argentina and AstraZeneca to, with the support of the Slim Foundation, produce vaccines for the region.

López and Arce also agreed on the need to adopt new mechanisms that allow low-income countries with a significant burden of external debt, to roll over to longer terms and “reasonable” interest rates to achieve economic, sustainable and people-centred recovery.

Arce, elected last October, sought asylum in Mexico from November 2019 to January 2020.

The two presidents insisted on the importance of “promoting the exclusively technical, objective and impartial nature of the Electoral Observation Missions” by the OAS in obvious reference to the audit of the October 20, 2019 elections when Morales was reelected.

On November 10 and before the outcome was made public, the OAS issued a preliminary report urging to annul and repeat the elections amid demonstrations by the opposition, which failed to acknowledge Evo's win.

After the dissemination of that document, which fueled the climate of tension generated by opposition leaders and threats against Morales's followers, the then commander of the Armed Forces, Williams Kaliman, demanded the president's resignation, who complied to “avoid a bloodbath.” Yet Almagro maintained a coup d'état had occurred in Bolivia “when Evo Morales committed electoral fraud.”

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