Five Lessons From The US-Supported Coup In Bolivia

| Educate!

Above: Screen grab taken from a handout video released by Bolivia TV showing Bolivian President Evo Morales leaving after announcing his resignation on November 10, 2019 in a televised address from Cochabamba, Bolivia, Photo by HO / Bolivia TV / AFP.

The Bolivian tragedy eloquently teaches us several lessons that our people and grassroots social and political forces must learn and permanently etch into our consciences. Very briefly, and while events are unfolding, I will list some of them as a prelude to a more detailed discussion later.

ONE, no matter how exemplary one is with the national economy, as Evo’s government was—ensuring growth, redistribution of wealth, investment flows, and improvements to all macro and microeconomic indicators—the Right and imperialism will never accept a government that does not place itself at the service of their interests.

TWO, we must study the manuals published by various U.S. agencies and their spokespersons disguised as academics or journalists in order to detect the telltale signs of an offensive. Their writings invariably stress the need to destroy the reputation of a popular leader, which in the specialized terminology is called character assassination, calling him or her a thief, corrupt, dictator, or ignorant. This task is assigned to social communicators, self-proclaimed “independent journalists,” who under almost monopolistic control of the media drill all of these accusations into the population’s heads. And in the case at hand, they are accompanied by hate speech aimed at the native peoples and the poor in general.

THREE, once the above is accomplished it is the turn of the political leaders and economic elites to call for “a change” and the end of “the dictatorship” of Evo who, as the disgraceful Vargas Llosa said a few days ago, is “a demagogue who is trying to stay in power forever.” I imagine he is drinking champagne in Madrid upon seeing the images of the fascist hordes looting, burning, and chaining journalists to a post, shearing a female mayor and painting her red, and destroying the records of the recent election to carry out Vargas Llosa’s order and liberate Bolivia from that evil demagogue. I just mention him because he has been and continues to be the immoral standard-bearer of these vile attacks, these limitless felonies that crucify popular leaders, destroy democracy, and install a reign of terror run by hit men hired to teach a lesson to those honorable people who dared to try and be free.

FOUR, the “security forces” come on the scene. In this case we’re talking about institutions controlled by numerous military and civilian agencies of the United States government that arm and train them, conduct joint exercises, and provide political education. I had the occasion to see this for myself when Evo invited me to speak at the opening of a course on “Anti-imperialism” for senior officers in the three branches of the military. I was stunned to see how much they had taken on the most reactionary American slogans inherited from the Cold War, as well as their blatant displeasure at having an indigenous president in their country. What these “security forces” did was abandon the scene, leaving the field open for the unchecked actions of the fascist hordes, like those who acted in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, and Syria to overthrow—or attempt it in the latter case—leaders that the Empire dislikes. In this way they can intimidate the population, members of the party, and even government officials. In other words, it is a new socio-political technique: a military coup “by omission,” leaving the reactionary bands, recruited and financed by the Right, to impose their law. Once terror reigned and the government was rendered defenseless, the outcome was inevitable.

FIVE, law and order and public safety in Bolivia should never have been entrusted to institutions such as the police and the army, which are colonized by imperialism and its lackeys, along with the country’s own right wing. When the offensive against Evo was launched, they opted for a policy of appeasement rather than responding to the provocations of the fascists. That only emboldened them to up the ante: first they demanded a new vote; then they proclaimed there had been fraud and demanded new elections; later came Evo’s resignation; and finally, given his reluctance to give in to blackmail, they sowed terror in the population with the complicity of the police and the military. This forced Evo to resign. Just like in the manuals.

Will we ever learn these lessons?

  • Ana Maria Lopez Renjel

    If all this comments where true the people in Bolivia didn’t need to say NO to a 3th period and no body needed to do election’s fraud if Morales was so good.

  • Sharlene

    I almost spit out my coffee when I read this choice bit of BS: “…exemplary one is with the national economy, as Evo’s government was—ensuring growth, redistribution of
    wealth, investment flows, and improvements to all macro and microeconomic indicators.” With a national poverty rate of 55% and the lowest living standards of South America, y’all want to applaud Morales’ time in power? Shame on you.

    It amazes me that the majority of English-language articles on this fail to mention that Morales was ILLEGALLY in power against the constitutional term limits even after losing a plebiscite that did not allow him to simply change the constitution as he saw fit. How many of these “journalists” been to Bolivia or spoken with actual Bolivians? Or does this just fit nicely into a pre-baked, half-assed, oft-repeated narrative?

    If you’re an English-speaker living far away from us down here at the geographical bottom with a limited understanding of the situation, please know that Bolivian people stood up to dictatorship, won, and now can’t even get the credit for it. #BoliviaNoHayGolpe

  • subcomandante Felix

    Sadly, the Left has never – maybe never will – learn the most important lesson of all. The
    middle class (aka bourgeoisie) are not friends of the revolution and will always act to protect their privilege in the capitalist hierarchy. It’s the one constant of popular revolutions, Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, now Bolivia, just to name a few. It’s a devil’s bargain with the oligarchs, the military and their imperialist puppet masters. Obey, conform, act as agents of the fascist hierarchy and your position of relative privilege will be restored. The number one reason there hasn’t been a revolution in the U.S. is the size and strength of its middle class (thankfully now declining).

  • Steven Berge

    I hope the people can keep a U.S. puppet from taking over and allowing corporate pillage to run rampant.

  • chetdude

    NPR (National Propaganda Radio) has been doing their part using the language and labels from the manuals while pushing the Imperial Propaganda against Morales and the People’s Movement his Presidency has been energizing and supporting.

  • chetdude

    Ah, the Oligarchy speaks…

  • chetdude

    Bolivians said “Si” to Evo Morales.

    It’s the Oligarchs and the Great Satan to the North who have said, “No.”

  • subcomandante Felix

    I’ll bet NPR never used the labels class and race war, even though the violence is overwhelmingly white supremacist and directed at indigenous peoples. Those labels are used only when the people fight back. Cindy Forster gives a good account of what is happening, “Bolivia in Crosshairs of US Counter-revolution” in TeleSUR.

  • Nicarag

    Now we see what the playbook for Nicaraguas next election in 2021 will be. Dispute the popular vote, send in the treacherous OAS whom will pour more fuel on the fire..and more deaths!
    Ortega’s crackdown will be inevitable!
    The OAS should suffer a massive walkout of countries against these illegal practices. And its election observers banned from attending elections.

  • mwildfire

    This is partly true; the upper class in Bolivia, never happy with Morales, stood up to–well, they stood up to the elected president and with a lot of violence all over, persuaded him to step down. Now with the Right empowered, I suppose the poverty rate will go down in Bolivia, right? No, it’ll be like Honduras, with violence against anyone associated with the left,journalists and human rights activists and environmentalists and indigenous leaders targeted…but the whiter, richer people will be satisfied. You can call that democracy if you want. And you say you are “amazed” that English-language pieces don’t mention that the plebiscite to remove term limits failed so he was running illegally–but YOU fail to mention that the Bolivian Supreme Court ruled that the term limits were unconstitutional, and thus his run WAS legal–and the people didn’t have to vote for him but they did.

  • mwildfire

    Have you any evidence of election fraud?

  • Sharlene

    I’ll tell you what is definitely not democracy; a bought-off court declaring term limits unconstitutional. Democracy do not function under a “for-life” style president/strongman, no matter his indigenous street cred. Courts make anti-people decisions all the time. That’s no reason to support them because it feeds the narrative you’re interested in promoting.

  • Sharlene

    An ad hominem attack is the refuge of the weak-minded and emotionally immature.

  • Sharlene

    Are you suggesting they need a papi to run things for them? Too stupid and unqualified to fight for their own rights and future?

  • chetdude

    If you wish to consider being a member of the oligarchy as a bad thing…OK…

  • chetdude

    IF there free and fair elections are allowed in Bolivia now that the coup has been begun, expect another Morales to be elected…

  • Ali Zabouti

    It is indeed ad hominem, i.e., name-calling in plain English. Not an argument.

  • Ali Zabouti

    So? Is this an argument that Morales didn’t become unpopular? That it was okay to ignore term limits? Etc?

  • chetdude

    Apparently is was OK with a large majority of those living and voting in Bolivia…

    What’s your problem? You like far-right-wing, fascist Oligarchs and dictators?

  • kevinzeese

    He won the election and ran because the Bolivian Supreme Court said he was allowed to do so.