December 05, 2019

U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation Expressing Concern over Irregularities in Bolivia’s Elections, Call for Democratic Elections

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Chris Coons (D-Dela.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have introduced a resolution expressing grave concern over irregularities following Bolivia’s general elections held on October 20, 2019, and encouraging the State Department and Organization of American States (OAS) to provide support to facilitate free, fair, transparent, and democratic elections in Bolivia.
 
“Bolivia’s steady descent into authoritarianism under the rule of former President Evo Morales has been deeply concerning,” said Risch. “Morales’ attempts to cling to power at the expense of the Bolivian people and institutions were disgraceful. I encourage all Bolivians to express their concerns peacefully and come together to chart a more democratic and inclusive future for their nation.”
 
“In the aftermath of a fraudulent election, the people of Bolivia deserve the right to choose their next leader in a free, fair, and democratic process,” said Menendez. “This bipartisan resolution makes it clear that the U.S. must continue working with the OAS and our regional partners to urge Bolivia’s transitional government to organize an inclusive electoral process without further delay. Likewise, this resolution also calls on Bolivian authorities to respect the rights of their citizens and ensure accountability for any human rights abuses that have occurred since the October 20 election.”
 
“As Bolivia’s transitional government continues to lead the nation following Evo Morales’ attempt to overturn a democratic electoral process, the U.S. Senate is sending a bipartisan message of support to the Bolivian people and their tireless defense of the rule of law in their country,” Rubio said. “This resolution makes clear that there is no room for despots in our region and applauds the OAS’s role in overseeing and monitoring Bolivia’s recent election.”
 
“The people of Bolivia deserve leadership that is elected by the people through free and fair elections. The United States will do all we can to protect democracy and human rights across the hemisphere,”  Cardin said.
 
“I’m pleased to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan resolution in support of the Bolivian people and their right to free, fair, and democratic elections,” said Coons. “The final report released yesterday by the  Organization of American States found “overwhelming evidence” of rigging of the October 20 elections in favor of Evo Morales, who has since fled the country. I commend the efforts of the OAS in Bolivia and urge them to remain engaged to ensure a peaceful, timely, and democratic transition.”
 
“At least 30 people have died in the escalation of violence between protestors and security forces since the October 20 th election in Bolivia. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan resolution calling for the Bolivian interim government to establish conditions for credible and transparent democratic elections. I hope peace will be restored in Bolivia soon,”  Kaine said.
 
“The OAS confirmed that Evo Morales rigged this year’s Bolivian election in a ‘deliberate’ and ‘malicious’ way,” Sen. Cruz said. “His attempt to usurp the electoral process was opposed with inspiring resolve by the Bolivian people. It is now time for them to renew their institutions via a free and fair election process worthy of their greatest democratic traditions.”
 
The resolution:

  • enumerates and expresses concern for the multiple irregularities committed by Mr. Morales to attempt to perpetuate himself in power.
  • deplores the acts of violence that have taken place since the fraudulent elections of October 20, and calls on all Bolivians to peacefully exercise their human rights.
  • commends the efforts of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Bolivia in documenting the irregularities during the October 2019 elections.
  • urges Bolivian interim authorities to expeditiously create the conditions for inclusive, transparent, and democratic elections as soon as possible.
  • encourages the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States to provide appropriate support to facilitate the convening of free and fair elections in Bolivia.

 
Full text of the resolution can be found online.
 

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