Updated Nov 21, 2019

Bolivia unrest: What you need to know

Supporters of Evo Morales run from tear gas as clashing with police during protests on November 19

Supporters of Bolivia's former President Evo Morales during clashes with police on Nov. 19 in El Alto, La Paz. Photo: Gaston Brito Miserocchi/Getty Images

Bolivia's interim president asked Congress Wednesday to back fresh elections as violence continued to grip the country in the wake of former President Evo Morales' resignation, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: There have been running street battles ever since the disputed Oct. 20 election, claimed by Morales. Clashes between Morales' supporters and security forces have been ongoing since his Nov. 10 resignation and subsequent departure for the political asylum of Mexico. At least 32 people have died in the unrest, per the BBC.

  • The U.S. State Department ordered family members of United States government employees on Nov. 13 to leave Bolivia because of "widespread unrest" there.
  • It cautioned Americans against travel to Bolivia and advised U.S. citizens in the country to "strongly consider departing as soon as they safely can do so."

The big picture: While Morales' supporters do not recognize the self-declared interim president Sen. Jeanine Áñez, U.S. officials have said they "look forward" to working with her as she and authorities "arrange free & fair elections as soon as possible."

  • Áñez has yet to announce an election date, according to the BBC.

What he's saying: Morales said from Mexico that the country saved his life by granting him political asylum, but he said he's not done with politics, per AP, which reports him saying, "Let the whole world know that I won’t change ideology because of his coup."

Background: The Organization of American States reported widespread electoral fraud. Morales promised fresh elections.

Between the lines: Per Axios' Dave Lawler, "Morales is a giant of recent Bolivian history. The country's first indigenous president, he's been credited with reducing poverty and overseeing strong economic growth."

  • "But he also consolidated power over institutions and the media, and sought the presidency this year despite losing a referendum on whether he could do so."

Go deeper: Bolivian Sen. Jeanine Áñez declares herself interim president

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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