Morales confirms Bolivia return, with chaperone

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Bolivia's former president Evo Morales confirmed on Saturday that he will return from exile on Monday but said that Argentina leader Alberto Fernandez would accompany him "for security reasons."

Morales has spent the last year in Argentina after he resigned as president and fled the country following three weeks of protests at his controversial re-election to an unconstitutional fourth term in October 2019.

His successor as head of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, Luis Arce, won last month's election and will be inaugurated as president on Sunday.

"The day after tomorrow (Monday) in the morning, at 10:00 or 11:00 am, I will be crossing the border," said Morales.

Fernandez is due to attend Arce's inauguration but will then travel back to the border town of La Quiaca from where Morales will cross into Bolivia.

"I hope I won't have any legal problems," said Morales, adding that Fernandez would cross the border to Villazon with him.

From there he will travel on to the Tropico de Cochabamba region where he began his political career as a cocalero union leader.

Morales had been the subject of a detention order for "terrorism" should he return, but that was lifted by the public prosecutor following Arce's election victory.

He is also under investigation for "rape and trafficking" over two alleged relationships with underage girls, including one with whom he supposedly fathered a child.

He is due to travel more than 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) by land from the border as part of a vehicle caravan that will pass through several villages and areas where he remains hugely popular.

The 61-year-old was his country's first ever indigenous president and ruled for nearly 14 years after defying the two-term presidential limit set out in the constitution he promulgated in 2009.