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21 Nov, 2019 18:51

Bolivian coup was all about the lithium & OAS had a hand in it, ousted president Morales tells RT

Bolivian coup was all about the lithium & OAS had a hand in it, ousted president Morales tells RT

Bolivia’s ousted president, Evo Morales, has told RT that the Organization of American States played a key role in deposing him, and that Bolivia’s huge reserves of lithium had spurred on the coup.

Morales fled Bolivia earlier this month shortly after winning re-election to the presidency. Opponents claimed that the election was fraudulent and, though Morales offered to hold a fresh vote, he lost the support of his police and military then sought asylum in Mexico.

Morales was among a handful of leftist leaders remaining in Latin America and, speaking to former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on RT Spanish, he claimed that the Organization of American States – a right-leaning bloc of states in the Americas based in Washington, DC – had engineered his downfall.

Also on rt.com ‘Assassination attempt’: Bolivia’s Morales is certain helicopter malfunction was bid to kill him

“Nowhere did it say that there is fraud,” he said of the OAS’ report on Bolivia’s October elections, which found “irregularities” at the polls, despite contradictory reports from other expert groups.

After its publication, Morales recalled attempting to contact the OAS’ Secretary General, Luis Almagro, who did not respond. Speaking to an aide, Morales passed a message to Almagro: “If you do not review your report, with this report you are going to set Bolivia on fire and there are going to be deaths.”

Also on rt.com Bolivia coup ended a period of stability the country hadn't seen for over 180 years, Evo Morales tells Rafael Correa on RT

His prediction was accurate. Since his ouster, Morales’ country has been paralyzed by protests and riots, and skirmishes between his supporters and riot police have left more than 30 people dead. Protesters have accused police of human rights violations, and the country’s interim government proposed a bill ushering in speedy elections in an attempt to pacify the country.

“The OAS made a decision and its report is not based on a technical report, but on a political decision,” he added.

The coup against him, Morales continued, was aimed at installing a right-wing leader who will open up Bolivia’s lithium reserves – some of the largest in the world – to exploitation by industry. Lithium is essential in the manufacture of electric cars and long-lasting batteries, and Morales had planned on nationalizing the extraction of lithium to secure the country’s economic future.

In Bolivia we could define the price of lithium for the world...Now I have realized that some industrialized countries do not want competition

Tesla, whose electric cars use lithium in their batteries - saw its stock jump following Morales’ departure. Companies that manage to get a hold of Bolivia’s lithium stocks – estimated at around 900 million tons – stand to make a lucrative profit. Worldwide demand for the element is expected to more than double by 2025, Bloomberg noted last year.

Watch Evo Morales’ full interview with Rafael Correa in Spanish here.

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