The untold story of the exit of Evo Morales and the succession of Añez.

From Pagina Siete [para la versión en español, use el link al final]:

The untold story of the exit of Evo Morales and the succession of Añez

Luis Vásquez had a key role in the legality of the succession in the absence of MAS. Adriana Salvatierra begged that Evo was allowed to leave the country. Quiroga made the negotiations with FAB

Página Siete  / La Paz

When the civic [leader from Santa Cruz] Luis Fernando Camacho arrived to La Paz , that fateful night on Tuesday, November 5, he didn’t do it alone. He was accompanied by former President Jorge Quiroga, who, until before the post-electoral crisis, had played a central role in denouncing Evo Morales in international forums, and who, from this moment on, was prepared to assist in any efforts that might be necessary to give a constitutional path to the political crisis of the country.

In the midst of the chaos, Quiroga found former President Carlos Mesa at the airport, who was also waiting for Camacho, and in the same van the two former leaders went down to the La Paz area. And, because the confrontation groups between the “masistas” and “anti-masistas” forces were stationed on the outskirts of the runway, the former presidents had to enter the military zone and convince the Aerial Hunting Group to allowed them safe passage. With Camacho in La Paz, the social upheaval was on the rise, which, together with the police mutiny, configured an apparent dead-end scenario. Then, Tuto Quiroga told Pagina Siete, he had to talk to the people of the OAS to speed up the election audit report. He was one of the few who believed in that audit. Those mobilized, on the contrary, wanted to expel the OAS from the country because it had given reason to believe that it would benefit Morales.

It happens, says Quiroga now, that in any electoral process, the OAS does its own quick countdown, which means that the organization, on the same night of October 20, already knew that Evo had not won in the first round. This result was consistent with the other two quick counts made that night, that of Via Ciencia and that of the Jubilee Foundation. All of them gave a difference range of about five points to Morales over Mesa, and not the 10 that he needed to avoid the second round.

During the Permanent Council of the OAS, which discussed the crisis in Bolivia after Morales’s departure, the quick count made by the electoral observation mission became known.

Finally, the OAS presented its preliminary report in the early hours of Sunday, November 10, a key date in this crisis because the COB (Workers Union) and the Army would join in the suggestion that Morales resign, which he finally did about five o’clock in the afternoon from Chimoré.

The objective of Camacho and the civic movement had been achieved, but now Bolivia was facing a dangerous power vacuum and the proof is that that night was a night of terror for the people of La Paz.

Quiroga and Mesa talked about how to get out of the lack of government, but in the end each one had to run to defend their own home and family, instead of thinking about the new government.

In the midst of the chaos, Senator Jeanine Áñez made it known from Beni that she was in the line of succession of command and, then, it was important to get her to La Paz. Quiroga showed up Monday morning in Murillo Square to make a call for legislators to come to session. He says now that it was important to “create the center of gravity” in the Legislative Assembly, to avoid a coup by the military or that any other legislator who was not in the line of succession sit in the presidential chair.

That day Áñez arrives to La Laz with military protection and by helicopter from El Alto to the Murillo square

At the same time, for the first time, a stage of dialogue was opened thanks to the efforts of the Bishop of El Alto, Eugenio Scarpellini, and the Ambassador of the European Union, León de la Torre, who managed to meet at the Catholic University, between the resigning president of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, with the former presidents Carlos Mesa and Jorge Quiroga, with the opponent Samuel Doria Medina, with Jerjes Justiniano Atalá, who then attended on behalf of the civics, the opponent Óscar Ortiz and with the presence of Carmelo Angulo, the experienced Spanish diplomat, sent to follow the Bolivian crisis.

According to Quiroga, the MAS was looking for a way for Morales to leave the country and, in fact, says that Salvatierra was “desperately asking” for this to happen.

So, Quiroga says he is making efforts with the Air Force to make it possible for Morales to leave, with the aim of achieving two objectives: pacifying the country and, above all, ensure that Morales abandoned the office to guarantee constitutional succession without having to read his resignation letter, in the event that the MAS did not keep its word to make the transition viable, as it finally did.

To say that Salvatierra had given her word is a lot to say, she had actually said that she would consult, but that they would be willing to give viability to a new government.

However, the succession must also have a legal shield, and that is where one of Tuto’s men intervened, the jurist Luis Vásquez Villamor, who had also attended the negotiation meetings. But he intervenes not alone, but with his wife, Giovanna Jordán, a jurist as or more prepared than Vásquez himself, who finds a ruling of the Constitutional Court of 2001, that allowed Tuto himself to guarantee the constitutional succession so that Enrique Toro, then Senate president, would replace him when he traveled, since he had no vice president, after the resignation of Hugo Banzer due to his illness.

This 2001 ruling was used as jurisprudence so that the Constitutional Court could issue a declaration to endorse the constitutional succession in favor of Jeanine Áñez. Quite an irony, considering that it is the same Tribunal that endorsed the indefinite re-election of Evo Morales.

On Tuesday, November 12, after a rough journey through the air, Evo Morales managed to reach Mexico as an asylum-seeker. In parallel the second meeting takes place at the Catholic University under the auspices of Scarpellini and De la Torre. This time Salvatierra is accompanied by Susana Rivero and Teresa Morales. That day, before Áñez took command, the famous photo is taken that now serves to inform about the negotiations.

Despite these meetings, the MAS does not attend the session of the Assembly and Áñez takes command in the absence of Morales. The strategy had worked, with Evo out of the country, the opposition takes the Government protecter by the rules that indicate that the succession must be done immediately so that there is no power vacuum. The Constitutional Court’s statement comes out at the same time.

The rest is already a known story. It is known that there were two more meetings between negotiators, this time with the roles exchanged. The masistas, as opposition, are asking to be given safe passing and the former opponents as ruling party.

Despite what was done, the country did not find peace, and that is why today it is plunged into the pain of loss of human life, acts of terrorism, foreign operators, militias trained for combat, shortages and great uncertainty.

What comes next

The two objectives set by the Transitional Government are the pacification of the country and the announcement of new elections. Neither purpose has yet been fulfilled. Pacification is on the verge to shipwreck in the midst of the confrontations and the call for elections still has no political consensus with the MAS.

If there is no consensus, Quiroga has in mind a plan to do so by decree, relying on the jurisprudence generated by Evo Morales himself and by Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé.

The 18 judges of the judiciary magistrates appointed by Morales in February 2010 by decree until elections were called at the end of that year. With this background, says Tuto, Jeanine Áñez would be able to appoint members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal also by decree.

And, for the call for elections, the jurisprudence was generated by Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé, when he called for elections by decree, and not only that, but also by decree, when Morales won by an absolute majority. The decrees are 28228 and 28429.

As it stands, Quiroga says, the interim president would have the free way to complete the TSE and call a general election, which is the country’s widespread demand. However, the country’s dialogue, consensus and pacification remain pending.

Iván Duque in scene

In defense of the 21F, at an international level, Jorge Quiroga made arrangements for the Venice Commission to decide against indefinite reelection as a human right. Then, together with the current civic leader of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, he asked Iván Duque, President of Colombia, to present an advisory opinion on the re-election to the IACHR. The request was sent just a day before the October 20 elections.  The one who supported the Bolivian delegation was former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana, whom Quiroga describes as the 21F ambassador.

The fraud of October 20th

Tuto Quiroga identifies three levels of fraud. The first occurs with the filling of electoral acts, which is discovered by calligraphers. Three quick counts state that Morales must go to the second round, but after the cut of the TREP he appears as a winner. That is the second level of fraud, which is computer fraud. But when even that is not enough, the results of Argentine ballots are altered, where there are more voters than the ones registered. Quiroga says that Alberto Fernández( photo), President-elect of Argentina, is a “scoundrel” in offering asylum to Evo when fraud took place in his territory.

The succession of Jeanine Áñez

After hearing Evo’s resignation, dialogue with the MAS is activated to guarantee his departure from the country. Once he left, constitutional succession is applied due to the President’s definitive absence, and Senator Jeanine Áñez assumes command. As it was decided to go this way, it was not necessary to read Morales’s resignation letter, which would have required two-thirds of votes for its acceptance. In parallel, the Constitutional Court issues a declaration endorsing constitutional succession in favor of Áñez. Then several legislators and MAS authorities would regret their resignations, which they tried to withdraw.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

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