Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales returned to the South American country on Monday, ending a year-long exile after a member of his Movement for Socialism party was sworn in as president.
Morales crossed into Bolivia on foot after being accompanied to the border by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. On the Bolivian side of the border, in Villazon, he was greeted by a large crowd that had gathered to welcome their exiled leader home.
“Today is one of the most important days of my life, to be returning to the country that I love so much fills me with happiness,” he wrote on Twitter.
Morales led Bolivia for almost 14 years as its first indigenous president. He was driven to leave the country last November in what supporters called a US-backed coup.
He is set to travel more than 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) as part of a vehicle caravan that will pass through several areas where he remains hugely popular.
The path home was cleared for the 61-year-old politician following the victory of the Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), and of his close ally Luis Arce, in an October election.
Arce was sworn in as president on Sunday in a ceremony in the highland city of La Paz. The ceremony was attended by the leaders of several South American countries including Argentina, Columbia, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Arce has said that former president Morales will play no role in his government.
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