The Bolivian Indigenous, poor and working-class people are in a struggle for their lives against the recent U.S.-backed coup. Bolivians are demanding democracy, justice, and a return to the presidency of Evo Morales, who won the recent October 20 elections. They are struggling to overcome the violent racist dictatorship imposed by the military.
As of this writing, at least eight people were massacred and 115 wounded yesterday by military and police forces who suppressed anti-coup protests in Sacaba in the outlying areas of Cochabamba. Videos of the protests showed bloodied people carried away from the streets where live ammunition and thick clouds of tear gas were used to repeal the unarmed protesters. Ten people were killed by police and army in the days before.
Despite the severe repression, including gunfire from helicopters overhead against protesters, thousands of people have mobilized to demand the resignation of the coup leaders.
These images of violence are not being circulated on the corporate-owned media. Instead, CNN, MSNBC and the like are fixated on repeating coverage of the impeachment hearing targeting Donald Trump for pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for corruption. The hearings do not, however, target Trump for his policies attacking Muslims and immigrants, his violations of environmental protections, or his repeated interventions and plots in the affairs of Latin American socialist and progressive governments.
This weekend will be telling for the direction and momentum of the Bolivian movement as the street mobilizations are expected to increase in numbers with people coming from surrounding cities and towns into La Paz. Here in the U.S., protests will continue to take place throughout the weekend. U.S.-based activists angered and mobilized by the coup have pointed out the importance of attending protests at this critically important time for Bolivia. A list of protests can be found here.
Nov. 11 mass protest against the coup at Universidad Publica de El Alto. Photo: Twitter/amandaasubiar, Twitter/UpeaAlDia
In addition to the street mobilizations in Bolivia, members of MAS, the “Movement to Socialism,” have refused to accept the resignation of Morales, which would be procedurally required. MAS has two-thirds’ majorities in both houses of the Bolivian legislature, which are now both led by pro-Morales MAS members Eva Copa and Sergio Choque. This adds a significant roadblock for coup plotter Jeanine Áñez Chávez — who declared herself “interim president” on Tuesday — Luis Camacho, and the rest of the golpistas to consolidate a new coup government.
Coup plotters reveal themselves
The brutal, deadly and torturous response against the mass protests by the military and police that allowed and led the coup has further revealed the coup’s fascist character. They seem willing to go to any length to ensure the rights of unfettered profits for their ruling class and multinational corporations, and to crush the plurinational character of Evo Morales’ Bolivia. Because they cannot allow a true democratic process, they resort to beatings, terrorism and violence.
Anti-Morales forces claim that his “resignation” was due to election fraud. If that were true then why didn’t the vice president assume power? Instead it was the second VP of the Bolivian Senate, Áñez, who declared herself president. The military not only forced Evo to resign but also his VP and the former president of the House and the Senate, after threats to their lives. Morales’ Movement to Socialism party won legislative majorities in the elections. But now the legislative victory is also being annulled as the military clearly insisted that everyone resign straight down the line until they could find a right-wing oppositionist to take over. They were not interested in “election fraud” and in fact are committing far greater crimes.
Donald Trump immediately recognized the coup, and declared it “democracy.”
Also telling was the threat from Áñez’s coup “Minister of Communication” Roxana Lizárraga, who claimed to have identified journalists and said she will arrest Bolivian and foreign journalists who are causing, in her words, “sedition.” (La Jornada)
This threat is extremely dangerous and is understood to be blatantly directed at any journalists who criticize the coup.
The media blackout has extended to social media, where it was found that over 4,500 fake twitter accounts containing anti-Morales content were created on Twitter just a couple days after the coup. (Radio Havana Cuba)
The coup also has a clearly racist, white-supremacist and conservative religious character. Opposed to the socialism of Morales, who is Indigenous, deleted Tweets have emerged by Áñez calling Indigenous culture and ceremonies “satanic” and referring to Morales as a “poor Indian.” The Bolivian population has many different Indigenous groups, and more than 88 percent of Bolivians are Indigenous in whole or part.
Áñez did not appoint a single Indigenous person to her five-person announced “cabinet.” Upon declaring herself president, she made the statement with an oversized bible in front of herself. The Wiphala flag, a multi-colored flag representing all the Indigenous groups, has been burned on the street by anti-Morales people. In another incident, soldiers were caught tearing off and destroying the Wiphala patches from their uniforms.
On the international scale, the anti-socialist and pro-U.S. character of the coup leaders was shown today when they broke diplomatic relations with Venezuela and expelled the Venezuelan diplomats. Days before, four Cuban health care workers were arrested in Bolivia. In response, the Cuban government released a statement stating in part, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects false accusations that these collaborators encourage or fund protests, based on deliberate lies with no basis whatsoever.” The four are: Amparo Lourdes García Buchaca, Idalberto Delgado Baró, Ramón Emilio Álvarez Cepero, and General Gustavo Aldereguía.
On Nov. 15, the Cuban government announced the immediate withdrawal of the 750-plus Cuban medical team, as well as from Ecuador, where the right-wing government of Lenin Moreno rules. Yet, despite the withdrawal, the chief of Cuba’s medical missions in Bolivia, Doctor Yoandra Muro Valle, was detained by Bolivian police.
As proof of direct U.S. involvement and direction of the fascist coup, in front of the house during the doctor’s detention was a car registered to the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez tweeted the picture of the U.S. diplomatic vehicle with license plate number 28-CD-17. Although she was later freed, the four Cuban doctors arrested on Nov. 13 are still in detention.