Bolivia is in a state of political crisis after longtime President Evo Morales resigned Sunday following what he described as a military coup. Bolivia has been the scene of weeks of protests since a disputed election last month. Morales announced his resignation in a televised address Sunday.
Evo Morales: “To my brothers and sisters of Bolivia, the whole world, I want to inform you, from Lauca Ñ — I’m here with the vice president and minister of health — that I have decided, after listening to my friends at CONALCAM and the Bolivian Workers’ Center, and also listening to the Catholic Church, to resign my position as president.”
Morales spoke shortly after the Bolivian military took to the airwaves to call for his resignation. Bolivia’s vice president also resigned Sunday, as did the head of the Bolivian Senate and the lower house. Opposition leader Jeanine Añez, who is the second vice president of the Bolivian Senate, is claiming she will assume the presidency today. We’ll have more on the situation in Bolivia after headlines.
In Brazil, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was greeted by crowds of his supporters as he walked free from jail on Friday.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “You have no idea of the significance for me to be here with you. I, who my whole life talked with the Brazilian people, never thought that today I could be here talking with men and women who, during the past 580 days, were here saying, 'Good morning, Lula,' 'Good afternoon, Lula,' yelling, 'Good night, Lula,' no matter if it was raining, if it was 40 degrees or zero degrees. … I want to tell you that from here I’m going to São Paulo. Tomorrow I have a meeting with the metallurgical union. And after it, the doors of Brazil will be open for me to go around the country.”
His freedom came after the Supreme Court ended mandatory imprisonment for people convicted of a crime who lost their first appeal. He had been imprisoned for a year and a half after he was convicted of accepting a beachside apartment from an engineering firm vying for contracts at the state oil company Petrobras. He denies the charges. Many of Lula’s supporters say his conviction and jailing ahead of Brazil’s 2018 presidential election, in which Lula was the front-runner, was politically motivated. His jailing cleared the way for the election of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsanaro. Click here to see our full interview with Lula just before he was imprisoned.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told her to work against President Trump, reportedly saying they were “trying to save the country.” That’s according to Haley’s new book entitled “With All Due Respect.” Haley also writes that Tillerson told her people would die if Trump were allowed to govern unchecked.
In Syria, at least eight people were killed in a bombing in the northeastern city of Tel Abyad. No one has claimed responsibility so far. Turkish troops seized the city from Syrian Kurdish fighters last month, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. military support for the Kurds, clearing the way for the Turkish offensive. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit President Trump at the White House on Wednesday — the same day televised impeachment hearings begin investigating whether President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son. The first two witnesses will be William Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official.
In Iraq, the death toll from ongoing anti-government protests has risen to at least 319 people, with another nearly 15,000 people injured. That’s according to the Iraqi Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, which has been tracking the government’s bloody repression against the protests in Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah and other cities. The demonstrations erupted over a month ago over unemployment, corruption and the lack of basic services such as water and electricity.
In Hong Kong, two people are in critical condition as anti-government protests escalated today. Police shot a student protester at close range. The shooting was captured in a video that has since gone viral. A pro-Beijing supporter was doused in flammable liquid and burned after an argument with protesters. Pro-democracy protesters have called for a general strike for today.
At least 20 people have died in Bangladesh and India as Cyclone Bulbul ravaged parts of the coast on Saturday with winds of up to 75 miles per hour. The cyclone forced over 2 million people to evacuate their homes in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, in Australia, the island’s most populous state has declared a state of emergency as authorities warn of “catastrophic” fire risk. Dozens of fires are burning across New South Wales. Three people have died so far. Authorities are warning that this week “could be the most dangerous bush fire week this nation has ever seen.”
Germans gathered Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The wall separated communist East Germany from capitalist West Germany. It was one of the most prominent symbols of the Cold War. After its fall, Germany reunited in 1990.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, hundreds of people gathered Saturday to protest the construction of a different wall: Trump’s border wall, which is slated to cut through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument deep in the Sonoran Desert. The wall’s construction is expected to destroy sites sacred to the Tohono O’odham Nation, a Native American nation whose territory is already separated by the U.S.-Mexico border.
In Seattle, Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has declared victory in a re-election race that pitted her against Amazon — Seattle’s largest private employer and one of the largest companies in the world. Amazon backed Sawant’s opponent, Egan Orion, with nearly half a million dollars. Overall, Amazon poured $1.5 million into Seattle’s City Council election. But over the weekend, Sawant declared victory as later vote counts showed her pulling ahead of Orion. Sawant is Seattle’s first Socialist politician elected in nearly a century, and she has successfully pushed a number of progressive policies, including making Seattle the first major American city to adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
In San Francisco, public defender Chesa Boudin has been declared the winner of the district attorney’s race. Boudin is the child of Weather Underground activists Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, and he learned the news that he’d won the race by a razor-thin margin while he was on the plane flying back from visiting his father in prison. Boudin ran on a platform of ending cash bail and dismantling the war on drugs. Some San Francisco leaders had accused the Police Officers Association of trying to buy the district attorney race, accusing the officers’ association of spending up to $650,000 on ads attacking Boudin. This is Boudin speaking on Democracy Now! ahead of the election.
Chesa Boudin: “Being a progressive prosecutor, Amy, is not just about decarceration, reducing racial disparities and so on. It’s also about making sure we are using the tremendous power and discretion of the District Attorney’s Office to enforce the laws equally. That means prosecuting corporate landlords when they commit fraud. It means prosecuting police when they commit murder or perjury. It means prosecuting corporations when they dump toxic waste into our communities, as they did in the Hunters Point shipyards. And it means having a broader vision of using the District Attorney’s Office to actually keep our communities safe, not simply wage a racist war on drugs.”