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Americas ‘I Assume the Presidency’: Bolivia Lawmaker Declares Herself Leader

‘I Assume the Presidency’: Bolivia Lawmaker Declares Herself Leader


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He congratulated the legislators for not showing up at the session at which his resignation would have been formally accepted, and Ms. Añez recognized as the country’s interim leader. He said they were “acting with unity and dignity to reject any manipulation by the racist, coup-mongering and traitorous right wing.”

This frustrated many of the legislators who wanted to move forward.

“Today, they have to understand that the most important is Bolivia, not Evo Morales,” one opposition lawmaker, Luis Felipe Dorado, said of the president’s supporters. “Evo Morales is gone from the country, but they continue to obey him, not the will of the country.”

On Monday, as looting and violence spread across several cities, Ms. Añez at first appeared rattled, sobbing as she called for calm. But by the evening, she was projecting strength, and demanding that the army accept the national police’s call to jointly patrol the streets of La Paz to restore order.

The army quickly responded, sending troops into the streets and setting up defensive positions around vital infrastructure like electricity and waterworks.

The military high command met with Ms. Añez for more than an hour at the government palace Tuesday night in what her aides described as a planning session to keep the peace. At the end of the meeting, pictures were released of the senior officers saluting Ms. Añez.

Bolivians appear sharply divided in their views — and in their hopes for the future.

When Mr. Morales was first elected in 2006, he became the first indigenous person to lead Bolivia, a nation in which two-thirds of the population are indigenous. In the Plaza San Francisco in La Paz, street vendors, most of them indigenous, overwhelmingly expressed support for him.


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