In a move welcomed by Armenia, Bolivia’s parliament dominated by political allies of President Evo Morales has recognized the 1915 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
In separate resolutions adopted by its both chambers late last week, the parliament also denounced modern-day Turkey for denying what many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century. The Bolivian lower house also voiced support for Armenian efforts to achieve greater international recognition of the tragedy.
The acting speaker of the Bolivian Senate, Sonia Guardia Melgar, personally handed copies of the resolution to Armenia’s ambassador to Argentina, Vahagn Melikian, and the spiritual leader of the Argentinian-Armenian community, Archbishop Gisak Muradian, on Sunday. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Melgar and Melikian delivered speeches during a special ceremony held at an Armenian church in Buenos Aires.
Official Yerevan was quick to thank Bolivia for the move. “With this step coming ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Bolivia has made an important contribution to the noble task of restoring historical justice, recognizing, condemning and preventing crimes against humanity, and combating genocide denial,” Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement.
There was no official reaction to the development from Turkey as of Monday evening. Ankara has strongly condemned the governments and parliaments of 19 other foreign states that have recognized the Armenian genocide.
Four of those states -- Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela -- are also located in South America. Uruguay and Argentina have influential Armenian communities that mainly consist of descendants of genocide survivors.