President López Obrador remarked that he was the one “who gave instructions to offer political asylum” to former Bolivian President Evo Morales. And highlighted that he is proud to head a government that concedes such a right. During a press conference last Tuesday morning he said that his government takes up the best tradition of Mexico’s diplomatic history by which “asylum has been given to those persecuted from all schools of thought, from all religions.”
As part of Mexico’s working class, the Socialist Workers Current, CST, we proudly advocate the Mexican tradition of hospitality to political and social refugees. This has been done in numerous cases. Just to mention a few, during the Spanish civil war in the 1930s and the Latin American coups d’état in the 1970s.
We do not underestimate the political decision of AMLO to offer asylum to Evo Morales, in the face of a counterrevolutionary coup d’état. We acknowledge broadly Evo Morales’ and other government officials’ right to apply for this asylum. As well as defending their right to stand for immediate free elections without proscriptions in Bolivia. Our conviction regarding this democratic right does not inhibit our deep criticism of Evo Morales for his innumerable political concessions to this same coup bourgeoisie in Santa Cruz during his government. Nor can we stop criticizing his refusal to resist the coup and fight the ultra-reactionary and racist coup plotters. From his exile in Mexico, Evo calls them to a “national dialogue” while many thousands of peasants and workers from the Altiplano, led by the Community of El Alto, march to La Paz to fight the coup d’état on the streets in defense of their rights.
On the other hand, the gesture of Ebrard and AMLO regarding the case of Evo Morales and members of his government – proclaimed as “sovereign” – strips some of his gross inconsistencies. Both the president and the chancellor say they recover the “historical respect for humanitarian and constitutional principles.” But that respect was not recovered even remotely for the thousands of Venezuelan, Central American, Caribbean and African refugees, whose life and physical integrity are really in serious danger in their native countries. But the asylum they applied for is denied while they are held crammed at the southern border, receiving inhuman treatment from the National Guard to meet Trump’s demands.
And the respectful government attitude towards the former indigenous Bolivian president has no parallel regarding the native peoples in Mexico, where indigenous communities continue to suffer the dispossession of their lands and natural resources by foreign corporations, by gangsters cartels, and by megaprojects driven by the government. They even continue to be murdered and kidnapped by those cartels and the violent repression of the military that respond to the orders of the Mexican government.