Engel Statement on Bolivia

November 29, 2017

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today made the following statement on efforts in Bolivia to eliminate term limits in order to keep President Evo Morales in power:

“I am extremely troubled by Evo Morales’s most recent attempt to chip away at democracy in Bolivia.  A majority of Bolivia’s citizens voted last year to reject President Morales’s effort to continue to remain in power.  Unfortunately, the Bolivian Supreme Court has legitimized his power grab by striking down limits on re-election.  The Supreme Court curiously cited the American Convention on Human Rights in justifying its unwise decision.  The Human Rights Convention protects the liberties and personal security of the people, not the ability of a leader to remain in office.  I agree with Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro that this convention ‘does not mean the right to perpetual power.’

“I am heartened that leaders from the Americas have regained their voice when it comes to speaking out about democracy in the region, particularly in Venezuela.  I urge all OAS member states to reject the reckless decision made by Bolivia’s Supreme Court.”

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