Daily Archives: Nov 11, 2019

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia entered a sudden era of political uncertainty on Monday as President Evo Morales, pushed by the military and weeks of massive protests, resigned after nearly 14 years in power and seemingly every person constitutionally in line for the job quit as well.

Crowds of jubilant foes of the socialist leader celebrated in the streets with honking horns and fireworks after Morales’s announcement Sunday, treating as a triumph of democracy the ouster of a man who pushed aside presidential term limits and claimed victory in a widely questioned October election.

“We are celebrating that Bolivia is free,” said one demonstrator near the presidential palace

But others — including Morales himself — saw it as a return to the bleak era of coups d’etat overseen by Latin American militaries that long dominated the region. Morales stepped aside only after the military chief, Gen. Williams Kaliman, called for him to quit to allow the restoration of peace and stability.

Morales earlier in the day had already accepted calls for a new election by an Organization of American States team that found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the Oct. 20 election whose official result showed Morales getting just enough votes to avoid a runoff against a united opposition.

It wasn’t immediately clear who would succeed Morales, or how his successor would be chosen.

His vice president also resigned as did the Senate president, who was next in line. The only other official listed by the constitution as a successor, the head of the lower house, already had resigned.

There were no immediate signs that the military itself was maneuvering for power, but “I think we have to keep a close eye on what the military does over the next few hours,” said Jennifer Cyr, associate professor of political science and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona. “Are they overstepping their role?”

She said “the power vacuum opens up space for the military to potentially step in.”

Morales was the first member of Bolivia’s indigenous population to become president and he brought unusual stability and economic progress, helping cut poverty and inequality in the impoverished nation, and he remains deeply popular among many Bolivians. Backers of the president have clashed with opposition demonstrators in disturbances that have followed the October vote.

After nightfall, there were reports of tensions in La Paz and the neighboring city of El Alto, with reports of looting and burning of public property and some houses.

The leadership crisis had escalated in the hours leading up Morales’ resignation. Two government ministers in charge of mines and hydrocarbons, the Chamber of Deputies president and three other pro-government legislators announced their resignations. Some said opposition supporters had threatened their families.

In addition, the head of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Maria Eugenia Choque, stepped down after the release of the OAS findings. The attorney general’s office said it would investigate the tribunal’s judges for possible fraud, and police later said Choque had been detained along with 37 other officials on suspicion of electoral crimes.

Morales, whose whereabouts were unknown, went on Twitter late Sunday to claim authorities were seeking to arrest him, but police Gen. Yuri Calderon denied any apprehension order had been issued for him.

In his tweet, Morales said: “I report to the world and Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he has instructions to execute an unlawful apprehension order against me; in addition, violent groups also stormed my home.”

Armed intruders did break into Morales’ home in Cochabamba.

Mexico’s government reported Sunday night that 20 members of Bolivia’s executive and legislative branches were at the official Mexican residence in the capital seeking asylum.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard also said on Twitter that Mexico would offer asylum to Morales if should ask for it, though there was no indication he had.

Morales was elected in 2006 and went on to preside over a commodities-fed economic boom in South America’s poorest country. The combative former leader of a coca growers union paved roads, sent Bolivia’s first satellite into space and curbed inflation.

But even many backers eventually grew wary of his reluctance to leave power.

He ran for a fourth term after refusing to abide by the results of a referendum that upheld term limits for the president — restrictions thrown out by a top court critics claimed was stacked in his favor.

After the Oct. 20 vote, Morales declared himself the outright winner even before official results indicated he obtained just enough support to avoid a runoff with opposition leader and former President Carlos Mesa. A 24-hour lapse in releasing results fueled suspicions of vote-rigging.

The government accepted an OAS team sent to look into the election, and that group called for a new contest with a new electoral tribunal.

“Mindful of the heap of observed irregularities, it’s not possible to guarantee the integrity of the numbers and give certainty of the results,” the OAS said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement calling for the OAS to send a mission to Bolivia to oversee the electoral process. “The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections,” it said.

The state news agency ABI said Morales announced his resignation from Chapare province, where he began his career as a union leader. At the end of his speech, he said he was returning to Chapare.

“I return to my people who never left me. The fight goes on,” he said.


Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This week will mark a new and unparalleled chapter in Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, as the Democratic-led impeachment probe goes public with televised hearings into allegations about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine

    Beginning on Wednesday, three witnesses will publicly detail their concerns, previously expressed behind closed doors, that the Trump administration sought to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of the Republican president’s potential Democratic rival for the presidency, Joe Biden.

    The testimony will be carried by major broadcast and cable networks and is expected to be viewed by millions, who will watch current and former officials from Trump’s own administration begin to outline a case for his potential removal from office.

    It has been 20 years since Americans last witnessed impeachment proceedings, when Republicans brought charges against then-Democratic President Bill Clinton.

    Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives argue Trump abused his authority in pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

    Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which will hold the hearings on Wednesday and Friday this week, accused Trump on Sunday of “extortion.”

    “We have enough evidence from the depositions that we’ve done to warrant bringing this forward, evidence of an extortion scheme, using taxpayer dollars to ask a foreign government to investigate the president’s opponent,” Swalwell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

    Trump argued on Twitter over the weekend that he was not guilty of misconduct and that the probe was politically driven.

    “NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!” he wrote on Sunday.

    ‘Democrats consider the open hearings to be crucial to building public support for a formal impeachment vote against Trump. If that occurs, the Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial on the charges. Republicans have so far shown little support for removing Trump from office, which would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.


    The House Intelligence Committee will first hear from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who told the committee in closed-door testimony that he was unhappy U.S. aid to the country was held up by the administration.

    Taylor said he also became uncomfortable with what he described as an “irregular channel” of people involved in Ukraine policy, including Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

    George Kent, a senior State Department official who oversees Ukraine, will appear at Wednesday’s hearing as well. Kent was also concerned about Giuliani’s role in conducting shadow diplomacy – and has testified that he was cut out of the decision-making loop on Ukraine matters.

    On Friday, the committee will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. She says she was ousted from her post after Giuliani and his allies mounted a campaign against her with what she called “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

    Democrats are likely to call further witnesses after this week.

    House Republicans released their list on Saturday of witnesses they would like brought before the committee, including Hunter Biden and the yet-unnamed whistleblower who first brought the complaint against Trump over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

    Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, is unlikely to summon either to testify, and even some Republicans have opposed the push from Trump and some of his supporters that the whistleblower be identified.

    “I think we should be protecting the identity of the whistleblower,” Will Hurd, a former CIA officer and a Republican member of the committee, said on the “Fox News Sunday” program, “because how we treat this whistleblower will impact whistleblowers in the future.”

    Hurd said, however, he “would love to hear from Hunter Biden” and accused Democrats of running a “partisan exercise.”

    Trump and Giuliani have led accusations – without providing evidence – that Joe Biden sought the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor to block a corruption probe of Burisma. The Bidens have denied wrongdoing.

    Republicans on the committee will be permitted to question the witnesses this week and defend the president, although the president’s lawyers will not allowed to do so – something Trump has complained about bitterly.

    Reporting by James Oliphant; Additional reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Peter Cooney


    CLEVELAND — The Buffalo Bills had their chances to recover from a bad start against the Cleveland Browns, but kicker Stephen Hauschka missed a 53-yard field goal in the final minute to tie the game. Buffalo lost 19-16, dropping their first game on the road this season.

    The Bills (6-3) defense got punched in the mouth again at the start of the game. The run game for the Browns (3-6) combined with some nice plays in the passing game led to an opening-drive score. The Bills took the lead in the second half on a Josh Allen rushing touchdown, but the Browns answered on the next drive

    Cleveland won the time of possession battle 31:46-28:14 and ended up converting in the red zone when it mattered the most in the fourth quarter. In the first half, the Browns were stopped on eight straight plays inside the Bills’ 2-yard line on the goal line. That effort by the Bills defense changed the momentum of the game at the time.

    Allen threw for a career-high 266 yards and didn’t throw an interception for the fourth straight game. But it wasn’t enough to lead the Bills to a win.

    1. Slow start for run defense … again, but what a second-half turnaround

    It wasn’t as bad as the Philadelphia game, but the Buffalo defense was on its heels again as the Browns fed the ball to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the first half. They ran for 110 yards as a team one week after Washington running back Adrian Peterson went over 100 in the first half.

    It’s not like it was some sort of surprise. The Bills knew all week they were going to face a heavy dose of running with Hunt back in the mxi after serving his eight-game suspension.

    Like they did a week ago, the Buffalo defense got things figured out and put the clamps on Chubb and company in the second half. It was actually pretty dramatic how good the Bills run defense was in the second half. Part of the issue for the Browns was bad coaching by Freddie Kitchens; Chubb had just four carries through most of the second half.

    2. Josh Allen’s day a mixed bag

    Allen’s completion percentage looked like a flashback to 2018, but he was probably more effective than the box score indicates.

    He went over 200 yards passing and made quite a few big throws throughout the game to keep the chains moving. The offense as a whole continues to struggle to execute consistently to sustain drives. Receivers dropped passes, and more untimely penalties continued to push the Bills offense back.

    The Bills converted just 4 of 11 third downs through late in the fourth quarter. On the bright side, receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley were involved in the game plan and Allen seemed to be in sync with both playmakers. Brown went went over 50 receiving yards for the ninth straight game, becoming the first player in Bills history to do it. Beasley hauled in four catches for a team-high 74 yards.

    Allen’s big mistake came late in the fourth quarter when he fumbled on a quarterback scramble near the goal line. Luckily for the Bills, right guard Jon Feliciano made a magical play to dive on the loose ball to get the ball back for Buffalo. That makes 11 fumbles on the season for Allen.

    3. Tremaine Edmunds is a streaky player at 21

    Tremaine Edmunds was a huge key for the Bills defense to get things turned around in the second half. He recorded a safety on a blitz early in the third quarter to tie the game at 9-9.

    When Edmunds gets lost out on the field it’s apparent, and it’s usually when the Bills struggle the most against the run. Don’t get me wrong, his partner Matt Milano is usually deserving of equal blame and the defensive line breaks down at times, but the middle linebacker has to make plays in the run game.

    Edmunds was supercharged in the second half and made a ton of big tackles and plays around the ball. He still managed just three tackles for the game and that was a result of poor tackling in the first half.

    4. Devin Singletary usage a mystery

    Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary only touched the ball three times in the first half and then had just eight carries for the game. This comes a week after Singletary shined with 20 carries in a Bills win over Washington.

    Buffalo’s offense looked like it was starved for some consistent yards throughout the game. Singletary provided that a week ago. It was completely puzzling why Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll didn’t get the ball in Singletary’s hands even more in this one.

    5. Robert Foster finally gets some run but not enough

    Bills receiver Robert Foster made his first reception of the season and was out there on offense more than any game this season. The catch was for 20 yards on a third down play that set up the Bills’ first touchdown. He didn’t get targeted the rest of the game.


    Score: Cleveland 19, Bills 16

    Records: Bills 6-3; Cleveland 3-6

    Total net yards, Bills: 344

    Total net yards, Cleveland: 368

    Team rushing, Bills: 84 yards

    Team rushing, Cleveland: 147 yards

    Team passing, Bills: 260 yards

    Team passing, Cleveland: 221 yards

    Penalties: Bills 7 for 40 yards | Cleveland 4 for 70 yards

    By: Matt Parrino



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