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Mon Nov 9, 2020, 06:24 PM

Evo Morales makes triumphant return to Bolivia [View all]

Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indigenous president and one of Latin America's most prominent leftists, has made a triumphant return to his home country after being controversially driven from power one year ago.

The socialist leader, 61, crossed the border from Argentina on Monday to begin a 625-mile odyssey through the heartland of his support, accompanied by a festive, flag-flourishing convoy of vehicles.

"Today is one of the most important days of my life," he wrote on Twitter as he embarked on his return journey. "To be returning to the country that I love fills me with happiness."

Morales' return comes one day after Luis Arce, his former economy minister, was sworn in as Bolivia's president, delivering a major victory to the nation's socialist movement and its allies.

Arce, 57, surprised observers last month by winning the first round of the presidential election with 55% of the vote.

A soft-spoken, low-key figure, he assumes power in a nation that is politically polarized, and where the economy and health system have been severely battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

At: https://www.npr.org/2020/11/09/933139632/evo-morales-makes-triumphant-return-to-bolivia

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales (right), who was ousted in a violent right-wing coup a year ago, waves to supporters while crossing the border into Bolivia with Argentine President Alberto Fernández.

Morales lived in Buenos Aires' co-operatively run Bauen Hotel for most of his year-long exile, and has on numerous occasions credited the Argentine president for saving his life.

"Thank you my Argentine brothers and sisters - and thank you, brother Alberto, for being with me and guaranteeing my security," Morales said.

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