A Mexican Air Force G550 aircraft landed on Tuesday in Mexico City with Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who was granted political asylum by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) on Monday.
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During his morning press conference, the Mexican president revealed that the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) leader’s air travel was a real odyssey.
“A journey through different spaces and political decisions”, AMLO commented while listening to the trip's details, which were briefed by Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
On Monday morning, Mexico sent an airplane to pick up Evo Morales in anticipation that the Bolivian leader would accept the asylum offered by the Mexican government.
Initially, the Air Force G550 aircraft had planned to land in Lima and wait in Peru's capital until the “competent authorizations” allowed its entry into Bolivia.
"'It is the military who rule. This is a coup, this is a coup,' said an official Mexican source," as outlet El Pais reported, adding that the military authorized Evo's transfer to Mexico on Monday afternoon.
"That's how Evo Morales arrived in Mexico."
"That's why the Mexican plane took off from Lima." Once it arrived in Bolivian airspace, however, the aircraft did not have permission to land and had to return to Lima.
“Waiting hours in Lima seemed endless. The operation is about to go to waste. The refueling operation gets complicated because cash payment is overdue, which further delays the takeoff,” El Pais held.
While these "logistics" problems were resolved, Mexico’s Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs continued to work with the Bolivian military.
The Bolivian air force command finally granted definitive permission to pick up Morales, "which says who has the power now in Bolivia," Foreign Minister Ebrard said at the press conference on Tuesday.
The Mexican Air Force aircraft took off at 07:00 pm on Monday from the airport in Chimore, a town located in Cochabamba, where Morales was sheltered after being forced to resign under pressure from the mutinous military and police.
Morales' problems did not end right there and then. While his airplane was flying, Peru revoked its permission to refuel in Lima "due to political evaluations," as the Peruvian Foreign Minister told his Mexican counterpart.
A tense-wait period began and the Mexican plane had to plan an alternative route to return to its country.
Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez spoke with Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo, asking him to authorize the entry of the Mexican plane to Asuncion to refuel.
A few minutes later, Paraguayan’s Foreign Minister contacted Ebrard to inform him that Evo's plane could land in his country.
Simultaneously, Mexican diplomats made consultations with Ecuador to request that the plane be allowed to land in Guayaquil in case a new fuel refill was necessary.
Initially, President Lenin Moreno's administration authorities accepted such a possibility. Then, however, they changed their minds.
Once again, when the Mexican plane was about to take off from Paraguay, the Bolivian military said the aircraft had no authorization to fly over the Bolivian airspace with Morales on board.
Brazil's ambassador to La Paz, who offered to help, got a permit so that the Mexican plane could fly just over the Bolivia-Brazil borderline, then head to Peru, and finally navigate over international waters.
The Mexican Air Force aircraft took off from Asuncion at approximately 02:00 am on Tuesday. Upon leaving Paraguay, Bolivia's leftist leader expressed his feelings through a tweet.
“Sisters and brothers, I am leaving towards Mexico... It hurts to leave the country for political reasons; however, I will always be watching. Soon I will return with more strength and energy,” Morales said.