Things That Matter

Evo Morales Enjoys Triumphant Return To Bolivia After A Year In Exile, But What’s Next For The Socialist Leader?

After spending more than a year in exile, Evo Morales, the former leader of Bolivia, has returned to a Bolivia that is more polarized than ever before. The former president can thank the victory of his left-wing MÁS party for being able to return the country he left last November.

As he returned to the country, he was greeted with a homecoming tour as his supporters hail him for the economic and social progress made during his 14 years in power. But his detractors, of which there are many, aren’t exactly celebrating his return.

Many accuse him of leading the country towards authoritarianism and spreading corruption. In fact, Morales was only forced into exile after trying to secure an unprecedented fourth term as president, which had been rejected in a 2016 referendum where voters decided he should not have that right.

Bolivia’s former leader – Evo Morales – has returned after living a year in exile.

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, returned to Bolivia from Argentina one day after Luis Arce, his protégée, was sworn in as the nation’s new president. Arce is now leading Morales’ leftist political party – Movement Towards Socialism (MÁS).

While Arce had been leading in the polls, he surprised many observers by winning outright in the first round. Morales welcomed the news by immediately returning to Bolivia.

It was just over a year ago that Morales was forced into exile after leading the country for almost 14 years. Many were angry that he ran for re-election in 2019 despite a majority voting against dropping presidential term limits from the constitution.

He subsequently lost the support of the chief of the army, who urged him to resign as mass protests over allegations of vote rigging swept across the country.The protests continued for weeks – and combined with pressure from the army and the police – led to Morales’s resignation and his move into exile first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Morales enjoyed a homecoming tour on his return to Bolivia from exile in Argentina.

Waving the Whipala, the checkered colorful Indigenous flag and chanting, “Evo, Evo,” thousands of supporters welcomed the return of Morales. After crossing the border from Argentina, Morales began a 600-mile homecoming tour backed by a massive motorcade.

“In the past year I’ve never felt abandoned,” he told the crowd, referring to his year in exile. In fact, it was almost a year to the day since he had fled the same city.

The Bolivian leader continues to maintain that the United States had a hand in provoking the “coup d’état” that forced him from power.

Though not all Bolivians are excited about the former president’s return.

As crowds cheered and welcomed the former resident, many Bolivians believe that his return risks derailing the new president’s stated intention to reunite the country after a year of rule by a right-wing interim government.

Morales has repeatedly said that he will not engage in politics, but many remain skeptical. He remains as the head of the MÁS party and many say it would be difficult to imagine a world in which Morales avoids meddling in political matters.

Though his supporters would certainly like to see him get involved.

“Here are his people, he knows how to listen to the Indigenous people,” said Elizabeth Arcaide, a 43-year-old woman who wiped away tears during a rally in Orinoca, where hundreds turned out at a local football field under a scorching sun to welcome home the “son of the people.”

Though it remains to be seen what role Morales could play in the future of Bolivia.

Long a polarizing figure in Bolivian politics, Morales’ future in the country remains to be seen. Arce, often referred to by his nickname Lucho, has insisted that Morales will have no role in his new government.

For his part, Morales has said that he would only be working on organizing with labor unions and to help spread socialist ideas as an advocate.

“I will share my experience in the union struggles, because the fight continues,” he told supporters on Monday. “As long as capitalism exists, the people’s fight will continue, I’m convinced of this.”

But experts said Morales, who remains the head of the MAS and continues to command strong loyalty among his core of supporters in rural areas and Indigenous groups, is likely to continue to loom large not only over the party he founded, but on the politics of the country as a whole.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

Things That Matter

Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

Photo via screenshot

As the nation still struggles to come to grip with the horrific events that took place at the Capitol on last Wednesday, the aftermath of the debacle threatens to be just as horrifying as the event itself.

Videos are still continuing to pop up of unhinged far-right Trump supporters making public spectacles of themselves. But one such video became viral when the target of their hate refused to lie back and take it.

Recently, a video went viral of Democratic California Congressman Lou Correa being harassed by a crowd of Trump supporters right after the storming of the Capitol.

The incident took place at the Washington Dulles International Airport right outside of D.C. Based on the location and the timing, its safe to assume that these enraged Trump supporters were part of the insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol.

In the video, we see Rep. Correa defend himself against an irate mob who is getting in his face and hurling vitriolic insults at him.

Videos if the confrontation were posted by various right-wing social media pages, ostensibly trying to “expose” Correa for standing up for himself.

The video begins with various Trump supporters raving to Correa about “communist China” and “antifa”. When Correa explains that he was in Washington, D.C. to defend democracy, one of the Trump supporters tells him that the U.S. “isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic.”

The video then shows a large, deep-voiced many getting in Correa’s face and bellowing “Who are you?” and calling Correa a “F–ker”. Off screen, another man yells at Correa: “Nobody here voted for you. We don’t want you,” to which Correa responds: “That’s okay! 70% of people in my district did.”

In the face of such hatred, Correa held his own, refusing to be cowed by a group of bullies who recently showed themselves to be no better than terrorists.

In various interviews since the video went viral, Correa described the events that led up to the incident.

Correa told The OC Register that he had had roughly 15 minutes of sleep the night before after having stay up late to ratify the electoral votes after the process was interrupted by an angry mob.

He says he turned the corner to head towards his gate when the angry Trump-supporters recognized him as a lawmaker. “They picked me out, and boy, they came at me,” he told CNN.

Correa added that he was “surprised” at how “brazen” the hecklers were.

“They started lobbing all kinds of statements and just getting in my face, and I wouldn’t back off,” he said to the Register. “It was a situation where they were amped up and I have no idea why they came at me. Then I was surrounded by them and I stood my ground.”

But Correa, who was born in East LA and spent much of his youth in Mexico, says that he wasn’t intimidated by the bullies.

In the same interview with the Register, Correa described himself as from “the hood” and said that he is used to having angry citizens confront him for one reason or another. But this incident was unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

“I’ve never seen our nation so divided,” he said. “I’m OK with people coming up and expressing their anger and what have you. It’s another thing when people go out of their way to surround you and go after you.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Marriage Equality Could Soon Be The Law Of The Land In Bolivia After Country Recognizes Its First Same-Sex Marriage

Things That Matter

Marriage Equality Could Soon Be The Law Of The Land In Bolivia After Country Recognizes Its First Same-Sex Marriage

AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ Bolivians are celebrating the news of a gay couple who have been together for 11 years and just now had their relationship legally recognized by the government.

After a two year legal battle, the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled that Bolivia’s registró civil must recognize the couple’s relationship and afford them the same rights that opposite-sex couples have.

Many are hoping that this court ruling from the nation’s highest court will lead to additional changes for the country’s LGBTQ community and finally bring marriage equality to one of the few remaining countries in South America that don’t already recognize same-sex marriage.

A gay couple has become the first same-sex couple to get legally married in Bolivia.

After a protracted legal fight, David Aruquipa, a 48-year-old businessman, and Guido Montaño, a 45-year-old lawyer, were able to marry one another thanks to a court ruling in their favor.

Although the country’s constitution still defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, many are seeing this legal ruling as a victory for Bolivia’s LGBTQ community, not to mention the newlywed couple.

Aruquipa and Montaño’s legal battle kicked off in 2018 when the Bolivian civil registry refused to recognize their union, arguing that the country did not allow same-sex marriages.

Bolivia’s constitutional court ruled in July that the civil registry must recognize their relationship as a free union. The court also ruled that the country’s constitution must be interpreted in a way that lines up with human rights and equality standards. Referencing a 2017 opinion published by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the constitutional court ruled that all rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples should be given to same-sex couples.

And although this court ruling didn’t legalize same-sex marriage in Bolivia, it’s a major step forward towards reforming the country’s marriage laws.

David and Guido have been together for more than 11 years and hope their marriage brings hope to the LGBTQ community.

Aruquipa and Montaño have been together for more than 11 years, with two of those years being involved in this complicated legal battle. So, it was a major win for the couple to be able to finally see their union recognized by the government.

Following the court’s ruling in July, José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Gay and lesbian couples are an integral part of Bolivia’s social fabric and deserve to be recognized by the state and its institutions.”

At a press conference following their marriage, Arequipa said of their marriage that “It is an initial step, but what inspires us is [the goal] of transforming the law.” He added that “All civil registries in Bolivia should stop treating us like second class citizens and start recognizing our unions.”

“It is an initial step, but what inspires us is [the goal] of transforming the law,” Aruquipa said at a press conference.

Despite religious pushback, Latin America has gradually come to accept same-sex marriage.

Credit: AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite considerable opposition from religious groups, gay marriage has become increasingly accepted in Latin America. In fact, same-sex couples were legally able to marry in Argentina (2010), Brazil and Uruguay (2013) before they were accepted in the United States (2015).

Colombia and Ecuador were ahead of the curve, having de facto recognition of same-sex couples since 2007 and 2009 respectively. Meanwhile, parts of Mexico have been accepting same-sex marriage since 2010.

In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights recognizes same-sex marriage as a human right. This has made the legalization of such unions mandatory in the following countries: Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname.

However, public opinion and treatment of the LGBTQ community remains complicated. Paraguay and Bolivia still maintain constitutional bans on same-sex marriage but people’s attitudes can be even more challenging. Violence against same-sex couples and transgendered people are still major issues that affect the LGBTQ community across Latin America.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com