By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
In another setback for American imperialist designs to dominate Latin America, the people of Bolivia have given a clear mandate to Luis Arce of the "Movement Toward Socialism” (MAS) as the new president of the country, thereby reaffirming their support for the legacy of former head of state, Evo Morales.
The vote ended the 14-month chaos resulting from the coup against Morales, the first indigenous president of a Latin American country who has now returned to his homeland after a forced exile spent first in Mexico and then in Argentina.
Arce, the longtime Minister of Economy during the almost 14-year rule of Morales is credited with strengthening the economic backbone of Bolivia, and now as the popularly elected Chief Executive, is expected to put the country back on track towards political independence, which the US had tried in vain to sabotage through last year’s coup against Morales.
A record 88 percent turnout of voters despite the Coronavirus pandemic, with the winner garnering more than 55 percent of vote and his pro-Washington rivals, acting president Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho (who drove Morales into exile), finishing a distant second and third with 28.8 percent and 14 percent of the ballots cast respectively, meant the Bolivians are in no mood to turn the country into a US satellite.
The people of Bolivia know very well that Morales and Arce were the architects of the rapid growth of their country, and these sentiments were echoed when thousands turned out on Sunday on the common borders with Argentina to greet the former popular president on his arrival back home from exile.
In his inaugural address as president, Arce vowed to defeat the Coronavirus pandemic, and "put an end to fear” after the deadly electoral violence last year which was due to US mischief in Bolivia.
The presence of senior representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela, among other countries at the inauguration ceremony for President Arce, is indicative of his decision to renew ties with these three important countries that the coup leaders had tried to sideline.
Arce, who held a separate meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, before official inauguration, underlined that his government will open the door to all countries based on mutual respect and sovereignty.
He promised to carry out a foreign policy of restoration of relationships with Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, as well as with Russia and China.
Earlier in Tehran, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, while felicitating Luis Arce on his election as president, had congratulated the Bolivian people and expressed Tehran’s full support for the elected government.
He has said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran sees a good omen in the restoration of democracy and power to the real representatives of (Bolivian) people after a year of tensions.”
Iran is determined to strengthen its growing ties with Latin America, especially the states where popular democratic rule has emerged, and will spare no efforts in supporting the aspirations of the Bolivian people.
The sky is the limit to the expansion of Tehran/La Paz relations in view of the vast resources of Iran and its expertise in modern science and technology, which the US and West Europe deny to developing world states.
Interestingly, Morales who is not expected to play a role in the cabinet of his comrade Arce, will continue to be head of the MAS, which in addition to the presidency, has also won majorities in both houses of the Bolivian Congress –another sign that Bolivian people were determined to place trust in the former president, to the chagrin of the US.
In short, Iran-Bolivia bilateral relations are all set to enter a new phase, as a further sign of the independence of the Bolivian people.