Bolivia Set Back Twenty Years

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Above Photo: Filippos kolivas/Flickr

Western media are portraying the coup in Bolivia as the result of legitimate popular protests against electoral fraud. They base their accounts on yet another phoney, illegal report from a mission of the Organization of American States. The report openly violated the terms agreed with Bolivia’s electoral authority on the progam for the audit of the recent national election results and was key in accelerating the media impact of the fascist-led attack on Bolivia’s legitimate government. What Western media have deliberately covered up is the sheer hatred and extreme violence of Bolivia’s fascist-led offensive, identical to the hatred driving the US backed right wing aggression in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Just as in Nicaragua and Venezuela, right wing activists and paid delinquents attacked, burned and looted houses of government officials and invaded government offices, as well as kidnapping and abusing numerous government supporters either by seeking them out or by detaining them at road blocks. The Bolivian coup also has elements of the 2009 coup in Honduras, with the police turning on their government and the coup leaders shutting down pro-government media outlets. As usual, little or nothing of this brutal attack on democracy appears in Western corporate or alternative news media.

The final condition guaranteeing the success of the coup was the decision of the armed forces leadership not to guarantee public order but instead to “suggest” the resignation of President Evo Morales. When both Evo Morales and his Vice-President Alvaro García resigned on Sunday November 10th, they made clear they did so in order to avoid loss of life at a time when the police were openly siding with right wing militants and delinquents attacking government supporters. Their resignation met the demands of right-wing leaders, former president Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho.

For Carlos Mesa, Morales’ resignation is sweet revenge for his own resignation as president in 2005 resulting from nationwide protests led by Evo Morales who subsequently won the 2005 presidential elections. Mesa is very much a right wing figurehead for other mediocre local right wing political figures, their fascist allies and also for his US government backers. For his part, Camacho is an openly racist regional political leader, businessman and taxation lawyer from one of the wealthiest families in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department, which contains almost a third of Bolivia’s national territory.

In contrast to the legitimate peaceful protests in Ecuador and Chile and elsewhere against decades of neoliberal austerity policies attacking working people, students, pensioners and minorities, the coup in Bolivia seeks to install a government to implement precisely those policies. How far it will achieve that objective remains in doubt. As with the recent US backed regime change offensives in Nicaragua y Venezuela, the offensive in Bolivia implemented a blitzkreig shock attack whose psychological warfare effect will most likely wear off over the next few weeks long before any new elections can be held.

As in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the impoverished majority of people at grass roots may well realize that the right wing offensive is aimed not so much at Evo Morales but at them, their livelihood, their welfare and their very identity, for example, as indigenous people or as women. Right now, an interim government based on the authority vested in the country’s legislature must call elections in three months time. Since Evo Morales’ MAS party is the biggest political force in the country how the new electoral process will develop is far from clear.

But the pattern of events is clear from the precedents in Nicaragua and Venezuela. For Evo Morales and MAS and their political allies, the challenge now is to remain united, resist and regroup. For the fascist led right wing opposition their dilemma is how to maintain momentum when they can neither continue to cloak their tactics with the false alibi of legitimate protest nor sustain extortionate levels of intimidation and violence without alienating public opinion which they have so far fooled with mendacious psychological warfare. Both sides face a fundamental problem of governability in a polarized society which the elections are unlikely to resolve.

Regionally, the coup confirms the nefarious role of the OAS as a tool serving the cynical hypocrisy of US led Western imperialist governments. Mexico and Argentina’s new government, which takes office early in December, will play an important role influencing the regional context in favor of something approaching a more democratic outcome. The events of this weekend are only the beginning of an intricate political conflict for the US government and its regional allies who campaign on fear, hatred and systematic deceit. In the short term, as in Honduras, the right wing in Bolivia will try and use police repression to ensure they maintain their advantage.

In the medium and long term, whatever advantage the fascist-led right wing may eventually gain in the new elections in Bolivia will be inherently unsustainable, given Bolivia’s history of popular uprisings. For the Western elites and the governments fronting for them, their objective is to sabotage successful socialist inspired political projects and create obstacles for regional integration and deeper engagement with China. A right-wing government in Bolivia will privatize Bolivia’s wealth developed under Morales  to benefit its people, promote the West’s climate agenda of which Evo Morales was a very effective critic, and most probably block China’s trasncontinental railway across Bolivia from Peru to Brazil.

The Western elites’ plan for Bolivia, as across the region, is to degrade the country the way they have degraded Haiti and Honduras. With lawfare style judicial persecution and police repression and with the OAS overseeing the electoral process, the US and the EU and their regional right wing allies will definitely win the presidential vote in the new elections. But in the same way the right wing elites organized their coup to remove Evo Morales this weekend, the events of 2000-2005 demonstrated that Bolivia’s majority are also capable of organizing, except that in their case it will be a genuine popular uprising like those convulsing the region elsewhere. Like Ecuador, with this latest coup Bolivia has regressed twenty years.