Evo Morales
Bolivian ex-president Evro Morales arrived in Argentina to ges status of political refugee (Photo credit: Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

By: Cassandra Garrison, Maximilian Heath Garcia Blanco

Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales arrived in Argentina on Thursday seeking refuge under the country’s new leftist government after he left his homeland last month following a disputed election.

Morales was granted asylum in Argentina and was on his way to “definitive refugee status,” the Argentine interior ministry said in a statement. Center-left President Alberto Fernandez, a Morales ally, was inaugurated on Tuesday.

Four former members of Morales’ government have also been granted asylum, including his former health minister Gabriela Montano, the ministry said.

Morales had previously been in Mexico where he was granted asylum after his resignation in the wake of a presidential election which the Organization of American States (OAS) says was rigged in his favor.

Both Morales and Montano signed a petition upon arrival in Buenos Aires that complied with the “conditions of their refugee status,” the Argentine government said, without detailing the conditions.

Argentina’s new foreign minister, Felipe Sola, said on an Argentine TV station that the government wanted a commitment from Morales to not make political statements while in the country.

Morales, an iconic socialist leader in Latin America who had been in power for nearly 14 years, thanked Argentina and Mexico for their “support and solidarity” in a tweet after arriving in Argentina.

“My eternal thanks to President (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) and the government of Mexico for saving my life and for sheltering me. I felt at home with Mexican sisters and brothers for a month,” Morales said in the tweet.

Morales resigned as president on Nov. 10 after the OAS declared there were serious irregularities during the Oct. 20 election, prompting political allies to quit and the army to urge him to step down.

There was no meeting planned between Morales and Fernandez, but they could talk on the phone, Sola said.

A senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Morales’ presence in Argentina was “not welcome news.”

“We will not accept any attempt or action by Morales to meddle or use Argentina as a staging ground to stoke violence or unrest or to undermine a democratic transition in Bolivia,” the official said.

Reuters, 12. 12. 2019.