Morales went to Mexico, where he was granted political asylum, and has lived under heavy security in Mexico City ever since (earlier this week, he was granted refugee status in Argentina). On December 3, I sat with Morales in Mexico City for an hourlong interview that was wide-ranging in scope: not only about the events that led to his removal and exile from Bolivia, but also broader trends in regional and global politics, as well as the role played by the U.S. in Latin America.
We also discussed the once-notorious but now forgotten extraordinary event in 2013, when Morales’s presidential plane was forced to land in Austria as he was traveling back to Bolivia from a state visit in Russia, on the pretext that the U.S. believed he had Edward Snowden on board and was taking him back to Bolivia for asylum. And Morales was particularly insightful on the role played by Bolivia’s deals with China to sell lithium, and its alliance with Russia, and why those relationships so infuriated the U.S.
I was not sure what to expect from this interview. After all, Morales had suffered a violent military coup that forced him from his country only weeks earlier, and I thought that — brimming with anger and resentment over recent events — he might be unwilling or unable to do much more than offer platitudes about the injustices, repression, and military violence in his country that forced him to flee.
But that expectation proved untrue. Morales was incredibly thoughtful, reflective, insightful, and analytical about virtually everything we discussed, not only about Bolivia but also regional and world politics. As someone who presided over a left-wing success story for 13 years in the U.S.’s backyard, he obviously has a unique and sophisticated perspective on a wide range of geopolitical events, and that wisdom shaped the interview. As a result, I regard this as one of the most informative and compelling interviews I’ve done. I hope you’ll watch the full 50-minute video as I believe it’s well worth your time, providing a sophisticated perspective rarely heard in the mainstream press.