OAS Permanent Council Holds Special Session on Bolivia

Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States (OAS), addresses a special session of the Permanent Council on the electoral crisis in Bolivia, November 4, 2019.

Remarks by Ambassador Carlos Trujillo
Permanent Representative of the United States to the OAS
at the Special Meeting of the Permanent Council to receive the Foreign Minister of  Bolivia

November 4, 2019

Madame Chair, Minister Pary, my fellow Permanent Representatives to the Organization of American States, ladies and gentlemen.

The United States has two interests in Bolivia, supporting the democratic system in Bolivia, and ensuring that the will of the Bolivian people is heard. The United States does not support any candidate in this election, but rather a free and fair election. When there have been free and fair elections in other countries, and the people have chosen a candidate, even one critical of the United States, we have recognized the legitimate winner of a free and fair election, including in Bolivia.

We welcome Minister Pary’s return to the OAS, and he has now addressed a Special Permanent Council meeting twice in two weeks. Minister Pary’s invocation of two Special Permanent Council meetings underscores the deepening crisis and the central role of the OAS.

The OAS is critical for two reasons. First, one of the OAS’s core values is supporting representative democracy through free and fair elections in the Western Hemisphere. In the OAS we cannot accept sham elections, so we must insist on elections which reflect the will of the people. Second, the OAS is critical to ensuring that elections are truly free and fair. The OAS electoral observation missions are internationally known for their credibility, objectivity and expertise.

We are pleased that the Bolivian Government invited the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to monitor the October 20 elections in Bolivia. We are also pleased that, after substantial election irregularities in the first round were found, the OAS was invited back by the Bolivian government to perform an analysis of the electoral integrity of the Bolivian elections.

The OAS has a responsibility to defend democracy in Bolivia. It is one of our core values, and democracy is essential to the peace, stability and development of the region. Will we fight for it? Or will we fall back on familiar excuses and do nothing?

Madam Chair, there are those in the Americas and around this table who want this Organization to do nothing to protect democracy in Bolivia. Their arguments invariably rely on the same two excuses. First, we cannot intervene. But how are we intervening when the Bolivian Government itself asked the OAS to send an electoral observation mission to monitor their election? How are we intervening when the Bolivian government itself agreed to invite the OAS to conduct an analysis of the Bolivian electoral integrity? Moreover, when democracy is under threat in an OAS member state, are we comfortable sitting back and doing nothing?

The second excuse is even more transparent. We are told that it is too early in the process, and we should wait to say anything. In contrast, the Government of Bolivia has already declared President Morales the winner in the first round. Why does the OAS need to wait while the Bolivian Government is already trying to consolidate its questionable victory?

My final point concerns the legitimacy of the Bolivian Government and its electoral authorities, which have already declared President Evo Morales the winner, despite the well documented report of the OAS electoral observation mission citing numerous irregularities, including the interruption of the Transmission of Preliminary Election Results (TREP).

Based on the interruption of the vote count, and all of the election irregularities found by the OAS electoral observation mission, there will always be a shadow on the legitimacy of this election of President Morales.

There is one way to lift this shadow and ensure a legitimate winner, and that is to have a second round of free and fair elections, as recommended by the OAS electoral observation mission. If the Bolivian Government, and all the OAS Member States, truly care about recognizing the will of the Bolivian people, and electing a legitimate president of Bolivia, we strongly urge a second round of free and fair elections to select a legitimate President of Bolivia.

Joint Declaration on the situation in Bolivia

Taking into account the situation in Bolivia and the recent evolution of the electoral process in that country, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela declare:

1. Support the professional and technical work carried out by the MOE-OEA team and the OAS team that continues to work to strengthen the electoral process in Bolivia.

2. Point out that the MOE established that every election must be governed by the principles of certainty, legality, transparency, fairness, independence and impartiality. In that sense, the MOE affirmed, in its preliminary report of October 23, 2019, that it was able to verify that several of these principles have been violated by different causes throughout the Bolivian electoral process.

3. Support the conduct of an analysis of electoral integrity by the OAS in Bolivia, as established in the Electoral Integrity Agreement, signed between the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, and assuming in good faith the obligations contained therein;

4. To urge all the parties to the electoral contest and all the social actors to assume the result of the analysis of electoral integrity with binding character and implement their conclusions, according to the deadlines established by the Constitution and the Laws of the Plurinational State of Bolivia;

5. Urge the Bolivian government, political parties, electoral authorities and all social actors to collaborate fully with the OAS and to guarantee the security, transparency and credibility of the process;

6. Support the mechanisms for the preservation and defense of representative democracy in Bolivia, in compliance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

7. To call on the Government of Bolivia and all the participants in the electoral contest to respect and honor the democratic will of the Bolivian people and the cessation of violence.


Declaración sobre la situación en Bolivia

Teniendo en cuenta la situación en Bolivia y la evolución reciente del proceso electoral en aquel país, los gobiernos de Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Republic Dominicana,  Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Estados Unidos, y Venezuela declaran:

1. Apoyar el trabajo profesional y técnico realizado por el equipo de la MOE -OEA y al equipo de la OEA que continúa trabajando para fortalecer el proceso electoral en Bolivia.

2. Señalar que la MOE estableció que toda elección debe regirse por los principios de certeza, legalidad, transparencia, equidad, independencia e imparcialidad. En ese sentido, la MOE afirmó, en su informe preliminar del 23 de octubre de 2019, que pudo constatar que varios de estos principios han sido vulnerados por distintas causas a lo largo del proceso electoral boliviano.

3. Apoyar la realización de un análisis de integridad electoral por parte de la OEA en Bolivia, según lo establecido en el Acuerdo de Integridad Electoral, suscrito entre el Gobierno del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia y la Secretaría General de la Organización de Estados Americanos, y asumiendo de buena fe las obligaciones contenidas en el mismo;

4. Instar a todas las partes de la contienda electoral y a todos los actores sociales a que asuman el resultado del análisis de integridad electoral con carácter vinculante e implementen sus conclusiones, según los plazos establecidos por la Constitución y las Leyes del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia;

5. Urgir al gobierno boliviano, a los partidos políticos, a las autoridades electorales y a todos los actores sociales a que colaboren plenamente con la OEA y a que garanticen la seguridad, transparencia y credibilidad del proceso;

6. Apoyar, los mecanismos para la preservación y la defensa de la democracia representativa en Bolivia, en cumplimiento de la Carta Democrática Interamericana.

7. Hacer un llamado al Gobierno de Bolivia y todos los participantes en la contienda electoral para que respeten y honren la voluntad democrática del pueblo boliviano y al cese de la violencia.