Marco Rubio: State Department, OAS Need to Ensure Fair Elections in Bolivia

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is behind a resolution from U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressing concern about the elections in Bolivia back in October and calling on the U.S. State Department and the Organization of American States (OAS) “to provide support to facilitate free, fair, transparent, and democratic elections in Bolivia.”

Rubio, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, is cosponsoring the resolution. Other backers include U.S. Sens. Benjamin Cardin, D-Mary., Chris Coons, D-Del., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Bob Menendez, D-NJ.

“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 on Thursday. “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.”

“Bolivia’s steady descent into authoritarianism under the rule of former President Evo Morales has been deeply concerning,” Risch said. “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,” Menendez said. “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.”

“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,” Coons said. “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 protesters and security forces since the October 20th election in Bolivia,” Kaine said. “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.”

“The OAS confirmed that Evo Morales rigged this year’s Bolivian election in a ‘deliberate’ and ‘malicious’ way,” 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 was sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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