By Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - One of the leading Democratic presidential hopefuls in the U.S. said he is very concerned about the "coup" in Bolivia.
Bernie Sanders, who has a long record of opposing military interventions and coups across the world, urged U.S. to support Bolivia's democratic institutions late Monday.
"I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions," Sanders said on Twitter.
So far, he has been the only Democratic presidential candidate to voice concern over forced removal of an elected president in Latin America.
If elected in the next year elections, the 78-year-old senator from the state of Vermont would be the oldest president to serve.
On Monday, Mexico announced it is granting asylum to former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who resigned on the call of Bolivia’s army chief over the weekend amid protests over alleged irregularities in last month’s presidential elections.
The U.S. Department of State and Trump administration have welcomed the removal of Morales and said his "departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard".
Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar also took to Twitter and defined what happened in Bolivia as a "coup", urging American lawmakers to "unequivocally oppose political violence in Bolivia".
"There's a word for the President of a country being pushed out by the military. It’s called a coup. Bolivians deserve free and fair elections," Omar, a Democrat, added on Twitter.
Mike Gravel, a former U.S. senator, has sarcastically criticized the CIA for the “coup” in Bolivia, hinting U.S. involvement in the downfall of elected president on Sunday.
"Congratulations on winning power in Bolivia, @CIA!," he said on Twitter on Sunday, in an apparent hit at the spy agency.
In Bolivia’s Oct. 20 presidential polls, Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, gained 47.8% of the vote, securing victory in the first round. But when the opposition claimed fraud, some parties urged supporters to take to the streets.
After the opposition called for the polls to be cancelled, Morales announced there would be new elections, but opposition supporters said they would continue protests until an election was held without him.
On Sunday, in a televised address, Bolivian Army chief Williams Kaliman called on Morales to step down.
Morales, president since 2006, said a "coup" had been carried out against him, and he resigned to prevent opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa, a former president, from issuing further instructions to their supporters to attack Bolivians.