In Bolivia, Evo Morales, Fiona Edwards, Latin America and the Caribbean, US aggression, Writers F-J

With the backing of the US government, a highly sophisticated and well-resourced coup has succeeded in overthrowing Bolivia’s legitimate and democratically elected president Evo Morales. This massive blow against democracy and social progress comes after more than a decade of US intervention aimed at destabilising Bolivia and overthrowing its successful socialist government.

By Fiona Edwards

Published on The Canary, Nov 14, 2019
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With the backing of the US government, a highly sophisticated and well-resourced coup has succeeded in overthrowing Bolivia’s legitimate and democratically elected president Evo Morales. This massive blow against democracy and social progress comes after more than a decade of US intervention aimed at destabilising Bolivia and overthrowing its successful socialist government.

A wave of fascist violence

US terrorist role

On 10 November, Morales resigned after escalating violent attacks from the right and the Bolivian military’s demand that he step down. Under threat of being illegally arrested by the organisers of the coup, and with serious concerns that he would be assassinated by fascist thugs, Morales left Bolivia for Mexico. What the US-backed right-wing opposition could not achieve at the ballot box, they had finally attained through violence and military pressure.

The fascist groups that took the lead in overthrowing Morales’s government did so by unleashing a wave of racist violence. As the coup plot unfolded, there was a large-scale, coordinated operation to kidnap relatives of prominent left-wing politicians to force them to resign their positions. At the same time, the homes of some members of the ruling Movement For Socialism (MAS) were burnt as arsonists went on the rampage. Hours after Morales stepped down, his own home was invaded and vandalised. The Bolivian police did nothing to prevent this lawlessness, giving a clear green-light to the coup.

Around 24 hours before the Bolivian military made the decisive ‘request’ that Morales resign, the coup plotters shut down Bolivia TV and Nueva Patria Radio. The director of the radio station, José Aramayo, was even tied to a tree by right-wing activists. As a result, there has been a media blackout of progressive TV channels in the country since 9 November. Freedom of speech has been suppressed by the far right in order to prevent the truth from getting out to the population.

Racism boosted

The coup has also stimulated an outpouring of violent racist hatred directed against Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples. Right-wing opponents of Morales celebrated his resignation by burning the Wiphala flag, which is a symbol of resistance of the Indigenous peoples and Bolivia’s second official flag. The pro-coup Bolivian police, meanwhile, have been filmed cutting the indigenous flag off their uniforms.

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