Bolivia’s Evo Morales was en route to exile in Mexico yesterday, leaving behind a country in turmoil after his abrupt resignation as president.
As the nation suddenly found itself without a leader, the military agreed to help police take back streets lost to violence from disgruntled supporters of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. The senator set to succeed Morales as interim president, Jeanine Anez, pledged to call fresh elections to end the political crisis.
Bolivia appeared increasingly rudderless after dozens of officials and ministers resigned along with Morales, some seeking refuge in foreign embassies.
Morales left the country on a military plane sent for him by Mexico, which granted him political asylum for his safety. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed Morales was on the plane.
“It pains me to leave the country for political reasons, but I will always be watching. I will be back soon with more strength and energy,” Morales tweeted.
The crisis touched off by his resignation Sunday -- after three weeks of protests over his disputed re-election -- deepened Monday as gangs unhappy with his departure attacked police stations and civilians, triggering panic in the streets.
Overwhelmed police asked for help from the army, which pledged to help. Three people have died in clashes since the disputed election.