Bolivian Bishops Seek Peace Through Dialogue with EU and UN

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 19, 2019   

Talks follow weeks of political turmoil, street violence

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LA PAZ, Bolivia (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Bolivian Episcopal Conference (CEB), representatives of the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) delegates met on Monday in an attempt to bring peace to Bolivia in the wake of civil unrest after the Nov. 10 resignation of Pachamama devotee, President Evo Morales. 

In the wake of leftist street violence led by pro-Morales factions, the CEB has come to the table officially to discuss defining accords for new elections and establishing a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal. 

At a press conference with Bp. Eugenio Scarpellini of the El Alto diocese, La Paz Aux. Bp. Aurelio Pesoa Ribera, Secretary General of the CEB, read a statement on behalf of the country's bishops.

"Dialogue is the appropriate way to overcome differences between Bolivians, so we call [everybody] to attend to this call," Ribera said.

"Holding new transparent and reliable elections is the best way to overcome differences in a democratic and peaceful way," he added. "We ask the media and commentators to soften the tone of public statements to facilitate dialogue and understanding among all."

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Morales presents Pope Francis with 'communist crucifix'

"God bless and help everyone, especially political and social leaders, to fulfill their personal and historical responsibility in the pacification of the country," the bishop prayed. "God of peace, bless your dear people of Bolivia."

Tensions began when protesters accused Morales, the longest-serving head of state in Latin American, of trying to manipulate national elections on Oct. 20 by claiming to have won a fourth term when preliminary results had indicated the necessity of a second round with his opponent. 

After the military became involved, Morales resigned, denying that he had done anything wrong and stating that he was the victim of a right-wing civic coup backed by armed forces. 

Evo Morales, who resigned as Bolivia's President, had a devotion to the Pachamama.

Upon his resignation, Morales tweeted: "I resign so that [right-wing politicians] Mesa and Camacho do not continue to persecute, kidnap and mistreat my ministers, union leaders and their families and so that they do not continue to harm merchants, unions, independent professionals and transporters who have the right to work." 

Though Morales has claimed to be Catholic, after his resignation, reporter Edward Pentin spotlighted the former president's devotion to the now infamous Pachamama, tweeting: "Evo Morales, who's just resigned as Bolivia's President, had a devotion to the Pachamama and reportedly was a key figure in reviving it & having it at the #AmazonSynod. A tweet from Aug. 1 in which he gives thanks to Pachamama/'Mother Earth' in a ritual." 

But in spite of Morales' resignation, violent street protests have continued as warring factions fight for the country they desire.  

Thousands took to the streets on Monday to demand that right-wing Sen. Jeanine Áñez step down as interim president. 

The results of the CEB's dialogue with representatives from the EU and UN are yet unknown. 

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