WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) issued the following joint statement in reaction to the crisis in Bolivia following the resignation of Evo Morales as President:
“Earlier this year the U.S. Senate passed our Resolution recognizing the achievements of Bolivia's first indigenous president, but also warning about unchecked power and the dismantling of democratic institutions. We also noted the risks of ignoring constitutional term limits and weakening the credibility of the Bolivian election commission. These warnings were unfortunately ignored.
“Not surprisingly, this very lack of support for democratic principles transformed into widespread public dismay following credible allegations of fraud in the first round of elections, as clearly documented by the Organization of American States. The United States must work with its partners in the Americas to support the OAS audit of the Bolivian elections and the Bolivian people must be permitted to exercise their most fundamental democratic right free of interference.
“In this moment of uncertainty, it is of the utmost importance that Bolivian authorities also take all necessary steps to maintain a civilian led democratic constitutional transition that culminates with a free, fair, and transparent elections within 90 days—as required under the Bolivian constitution. As noted by the OAS, this effort must include the appointment of an objective and credible electoral council.
“Amidst the current political tensions, we urge the Bolivian people to commit to a peaceful solution and respect for the rule of law. There is no place for violence from any side in a democratic process.”