Former Bolivian President Evo Morales returned to his homeland yesterday, on November 9. After living in Argentina as a political refugee for almost 11 months, Morales was welcomed back into his country with a massive rally at the La Quiaca, Argentina – Villazón, Bolivia border. Thousands of members of Indigenous organizations, social movements and trade unions from across the country arrived in Villazón to receive their leader and celebrate his return. Members of Morales’ party, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), were also present. He was welcomed with traditional music and dances. An ancestral ceremony was also held to honor his return.
Shortly after his arrival in the country, Morales addressed the people gathered to greet him and thanked them for their support. In his speech, Morales also thanked the Argentine president Alberto Fernández, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel for their support after the coup d’état of November 2019.
Estoy muy conmovido de ver a mis hermanas y hermanos que han llegado de todos los rincones de #Bolivia para recibirnos. ¡Gracias pueblo boliviano por tanta muestra de lealtad y cariño! pic.twitter.com/xncDrP3nV8
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 9, 2020
“With patience and without violence, we have recovered democracy and our homeland. The coup plotters said that the MAS could not return to the government nor Evo to Bolivia. Yesterday, the MAS returned to the government and today Evo is in Bolivia thanks to the Bolivian people,” said Morales.
Likewise, Morales called for unity and stressed on the importance of continuing the struggle. “As long as capitalism and imperialism exist, the peoples’ struggle will continue. The time for crying is over. We have to work. Give birth to social programs. We will continue working for the country,” said Morales.
In his speech, Morales highlighted that there are three reasons for Bolivians to celebrate: the electoral victory of Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca, the return of Evo Morales, former Vice President Álvaro García Linera and other officials to their country, and the defeat of Donald Trump in the US elections.
In his first speech in Bolivia, Evo Morales says that the country has 3 reasons to celebrate. pic.twitter.com/uTvgnLlXQQ
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) November 9, 2020
Argentine president Alberto Fernández, who walked alongside Morales on the La Quiaca-Villazón border, described November 9 as “a very important day for everyone.” “It is very nice to be in La Quiaca for this reason: to guarantee that Evo Morales returns to his homeland that he should never have left, nor be mistreated as he was,” added Fernández.
Hoy cumplimos nuestro objetivo de garantizar que @evoespueblo pueda regresar sano y salvo a Bolivia, la tierra de la que nunca debió haberse ido.
Estoy muy feliz de haber podido tenderle una mano. Ahora es tiempo de reconstruir América Latina con democracia y justicia social. pic.twitter.com/V5RrPdl9i5
— Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) November 9, 2020
Following the rally, Morales embarked on a 3-day journey, during which he will travel over 1,100 kilometers by land, passing through the departments of Potosí, Oruro and Cochabamba, making stops in various municipalities, meeting people, until reaching Chimoré on November 11 to mark his return to the town from where he left the country last year and on the day he forced to leave.
Morales’ return marked the defeat of the US-backed civic-military coup carried out against him exactly a year ago. Following the falsified allegations of electoral fraud committed in the general elections of October 2019, in which Morales and the MAS were re-elected, Bolivia’s right-wing forces with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) began violent mobilizations across Bolivia demanding Morales’ resignation.
On November 10, 2019, Morales and vice-president Alvaro García Linera were forced to announce their resignation following a campaign of threats, harassment, intimidation, violence by right-wing groups, and finally a demand from the high-ranking military and police officers that they step down. On November 11, they were forced to leave the country due to serious threats to their physical integrity and safety.
Now, after the resounding victory of the MAS presidential ticket comprising Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca in the recent elections of October 18 and the return of democracy after their inauguration on November 8, Morales returned to his country to continue the struggle with his people and support the new leaders of the country.