The Latest: Morales says he's leaving Bolivia for Mexico

The Latest: Morales says he's leaving Bolivia for Mexico

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LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Bolivia (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has tweeted that he is leaving Bolivia for Mexico, which has granted him asylum.

Peruvian authorities said earlier Monday evening that a Mexican government plane had flown from Peru to pick up Morales, who resigned Sunday after weeks of social unrest over a disputed presidential election.

In this tweet, Morales says: "I am leaving for Mexico, grateful for the openness of these brothers who offered us asylum to protect our life. It hurts me to leave the country, for political reasons, but I will always be concerned. I will return soon, with more strength and energy."


8:30 p.m.

The head of Bolivia's military says that following reports police have been overtaxed by weeks of unrest, the armed forces will now provide help in keeping order.

Gen. Williams Kaliman said Monday night the joint police-military force will seek to "avoid bloodshed" and he called on Bolivians to help restore peace.

The announcement came as supporters and opponents of former President Evo Morales clashed in Bolivia's streets. Morales resigned Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election.

Bolivian police chief Yuri Calderon says the joint policing operation will begin immediately and "end when the peace is recovered."

He also denies reports that he had resigned.


7:25 p.m.

Mexico's foreign secretary isn't saying whether former Bolivian President Evo Morales intends to go to Mexico now that he has been granted asylum.

Marcelo Ebrard says Morales asked for asylum in a phone call Monday afternoon and Mexico's Interior Department has granted it.

Morales' whereabouts are not known. While Ebrard has not said if Morales will be heading to Mexico, he strongly suggests that will happen.

Ebrard says Mexico already informed Bolivia's foreign ministry about the grant of asylum. He says that action was carried out "so that Mr. Morales may be granted, under international law, the safe passage and security and guarantees for his personal safety and liberty, so that he may go to safety."


5:45 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is raising concerns about the Bolivian military's involvement in the resignation of President Evo Morales.

Morales resigned Sunday after Bolivia's military chief called on him to quit after weeks of protests over his disputed victory in the Oct. 20 presidential election. The general spoke a few hours after the release of an Organization of American States audit that reported irregularities in the vote count.

On Twitter on Monday, Sanders said: "I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales."

The candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination also said that "the U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions."


5:05 p.m.

The Mexican foreign secretary says Mexico has granted the request for asylum from former Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Marcelo Ebrard had said Sunday that Mexico would give asylum to Morales if he wanted it, and Ebrard announced Monday that Morales had now requested asylum.

Bolivia's first indigenous president resigned Sunday after the military called for him to quit following weeks of protests over a disputed election.


4 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump says the resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales is a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.

Trump says the United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect Bolivia's constitution.

Bolivia's first indigenous president resigned on Sunday after the military called for him to quit, and following weeks of protests since a disputed election.

Trump says Morales' departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard.

Trump also says the events in Bolivia send a strong signal to Venezuela and Nicaragua "that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail."

He says: "We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere."


3:30 p.m.

Bolivian opposition lawmaker Jeanine Añez says she plans to become head of the Senate following the resignation of Evo Morales and other senior leaders.

As head of the Senate, Añez could be next in line for the nation's presidency, given the void in leadership.

Añez said Monday that new presidential elections could soon follow. She spoke after arriving at the legislature in La Paz under heavy guard.

Morales, his vice president and several top officials, including the Senate leader, resigned Sunday. The resignations created a power vacuum in the country.


11:35 a.m.

Bolivia's police commander, Gen. Yuri Calderón, has resigned following allegations that police failed to curb unrest after former President Evo Morales resigned.

The police communications office on Monday confirmed Calderón's resignation, the latest departure among high-ranking officials that has left a power vacuum in Bolivia.

Some police had joined anti-government protests before Morales quit on Sunday, retreating to their barracks as unrest broke out in La Paz and elsewhere.

Some dissident police had demanded that Calderón resign.


11:15 a.m.

The European Union is calling for calm in Bolivia and says it stands ready to send election observers to monitor any new polls if a request is made.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc's foreign ministers weighed Monday whether to send a monitoring team and agreed that "if the conditions are right, we will be ready to work on it."

Mogherini says the EU hopes that credible elections can be held soon "most importantly, avoiding any form of violence from any side, and showing a level of statesmanship that is needed in this moment."

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned on Sunday following weeks of protests and a call from the military for him to quit. His departure left a power vacuum in the country.

—By Lorne Cook in Brussels.


10:55 a.m.

Bolivian opposition leader Carlos Mesa says former President Evo Morales was brought down by a popular uprising, not the military.

Mesa's comments on Monday were part of a growing dispute over whether Morales' resignation on Sunday was the result of a military coup.

Mesa says there was no coup and that the military had made a decision not to deploy in the streets because "they didn't want to take lives."

Bolivia's military chief had said on national television that Morales should resign so that order could be restored following a disputed election. Morales did so soon afterward.


10:30 a.m.

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales is lashing out at his opponents on social media.

Morales on Monday tweeted that opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho had instigated a coup against him.

Opponents "lie and try to blame us for the chaos and violence that they provoked," Morales said.

Bolivia's first indigenous president resigned on Sunday after the military called for him to quit, and following weeks of protests since a disputed election.

The state news agency ABI said Morales announced his resignation from Chapare province, where he began his career as a union leader.


10 a.m.

Mexico is describing the ouster of former Bolivian President Evo Morales as a military coup.

Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican foreign minister, said Monday that the Bolivian military's call for Morales to resign had violated "the constitutional order" in Bolivia.

Ebrard says Mexico still considers Morales to be the legitimate leader of Bolivia and that the Organization of American States should hold an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis there.

The Mexican foreign minister indicated that Morales, who resigned Sunday, would be welcome to seek asylum in Mexico.

"What happened yesterday is a step back for the whole continent," Ebrard said. "We're very worried."

—By Maria Verza in Mexico City


9:50 a.m.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell says Spain is worried by the power vacuum in Bolivia following the resignation of President Evo Morales.

Morales was pushed by the military and weeks of massive protests after an Oct. 20 national election was marred by allegations of fraud.

"We are worried because we don't know who is going to take on this process and because it was the intervention of the army calling on the president to step down that has created this power vacuum," Borrell told reporters Monday.

Borrell, who takes over as the European Union's diplomacy boss in December, called for elections to be held in the country as soon as possible and for security to be preserved for all Bolivians, including Morales and his aides.

—By Aritz Parra in Madrid.


9:30 a.m.

Angry supporters of former Bolivian President Evo Morales have set up barricades to block roads leading to the country's main airport.

Smoke billowed from some flaming barricades early Monday as tension gripped La Paz and surrounding areas after Morales resigned.

A large mural near the airport in the city of El Alto read: "Evo: the people need you."

Morales resigned on Sunday after nearly 14 years in power. He was forced out by the military and weeks of massive protests over a disputed election that he claimed to have won.

—Luis Andres Henao in La Paz

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