Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has landed in Argentina from Cuba and been granted refugee status, Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá confirmed on 12 December.

After ruling for nearly 14 years, Morales resigned on 10 November, when the police and military withdrew their support and called for him to step down, following weeks of unrest over disputed election results. He has since been in exile in Mexico and in Cuba.

Solá said Morales left Bolivia because he feared for his safety, as his critics had been accusing him of terrorism for allegedly inciting violence: “If we didn’t take care of him he’d very quickly be afraid for his life” he explained.

Critics argue that his arriving in Argentina might worsen the bilateral relations between the two countries:

“If Argentina refuses to play a role in the democratization of Bolivia through new elections, while Brazil does play that role – and the new government of Bolivia resembles the current interim government, Argentina will have missed the boat in its relationship with Bolivia”, warned Ivan Briscoe, director of Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group.