Published: Sun, November 17, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Bolivia's crisis turns risky as 8 killed in clash

Bolivia's crisis turns risky as 8 killed in clash

On Friday, new Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric announced severing diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolas Maduro, after Anez had acknowledged Guaido as the legitimate Venezuelan president.

In their Skype conversation, both politicians denounced Nicolas Maduro and Evo Morales, with Anez saying that "those who call themselves socialists of the 21st century destroy everything".

The United Nations warned on Saturday violence in Bolivia could "spin out of control" following a night of skirmishes between security forces and coca farmers loyal to ousted president Evo Morales that left at least eight dead. But protests by Morales' supporters have continued in capital La Paz, nearby El Alto, and the central city of Cochabamba.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects false accusations that these collaborators encourage or fund protests, based on deliberate lies with no basis whatsoever.

Cuba said 700 members of its medical mission to Bolivia would be removed but denied any role in pro-Morales protests after four doctors were arrested.

Bolivia's first indigenous leader described his ouster as a foreign-backed, right-wing coup.

The expulsion of Cuban health workers comes after similar moves from governments in Brazil and Ecuador in recent months amid concerns the medical program was a cover for political meddling.

Police in La Paz fired teargas at protesters on Friday, while schools remained closed and fuel deliveries were disrupted by road blocks.

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Cochabamba regional ombudsman Nelson Cox said hospital records in the coca farming region showed the "vast majority" of Friday's deaths and injuries were caused by bullet wounds.

Ms Anez has blamed Mr Morales for stoking violence from overseas and has said her government wishes to hold elections and meet with the opposition to mend fences.

Anez has said Morales could not be a candidate in that election.

Mr Morales resigned after an Organization of American States audit found electoral irregularities and the military withdrew its backing and urged him to step down to help restore calm.

Morales told Reuters in an interview in Mexico on Friday that elections could be held without him.

"I would suggest to the MAS party, that from now on they have all the rights to participate in the general elections, to start looking for a candidate".

Carlos Mesa, the leading challenger to Mr Morales in October's disputed vote, urged Ms Anez to schedule new elections by today.

"It's very important that the worldwide community and the country know she has set a date and time", Mesa was quoted as telling Spanish newspaper El Pais in an interview.

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