11 November 2019 — Counter Currents
Amidst a right wing coup, Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to resign Sunday. Evo’s forced exit from the Bolivian presidency was a right wing coup by army and police chieftains with imperialist backing.
Prior to the putsch, imperialism-backed rightists organized unrest, violence and arson including setting fire to residences of two governors’ and of Evo’s sister.
The rightists organized the widespread violence against Evo’s October 20 elections victory since the election.
Two officials next in line to take over the helm of the government also resigned as Bolivia is in turmoil.
“I resign from my position as president so that Mesa and Camacho do not continue to persecute socialist leaders,” Evo said during a televised address naming the rightist ringleaders.
The struggle continues, we’ll come back
Evo Morales stressed that his resignation does not mean that the socialist case is defeated.
“It is no betrayal. The struggle continues. We are a people,” said Evo.
“We will come back and we will be millions as Tupac Amaru II said,” Evo declared.
The Bolivian leader said that he decided to leave the post in hopes that his departure would stop the spate of violent attacks against officials and indigenous people, “so that they [the rightists] do not continue burning the houses [of public officials]” and “kidnapping and mistreating” families of indigenous leaders.
“It is my obligation, as the first indigenous president and president of all Bolivians, to seek this pacification,” he said.
Evo said that he hopes opposition would “understand the message.”
Evo urged protesters to “stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking.”
Shortly after the announcement, his Vice-President Alvaro Marcelo Garcia Linera also submitted his resignation.
The two leaders said that they would be handing their resignation letters to the country’s National Assembly.
The next person in line to take over the government, the president of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra, resigned soon after. But she also later issued her resignation as well as the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
Jeanine, a lawmaker, assumes presidency
Jeanine Anez, a rightist opposition lawmaker from the Democratic Union party, has stated she will assume Interim Presidency.
Anez assured she will call for new elections.
As the second deputy senate majority leader, the Senator is the first official in line for succession after Vice President, Senate Majority Leader and First Deputy Majority Leader resigned following Evo Morales’ decision.
Earlier on Sunday Evo announced snap elections, giving in to the mounting rightist pressure over the disputed results of the October 20 polls.
The decision followed the release of a preliminary report from the Washington-backed Organization of American States (OAS) mission on the elections, that was unable to validate them, saying it is “statistically unlikely” that Morales secured a 10-percent lead, the constitutional requirement to avoid a runoff vote.
Bolivian rightist opposition urged Morales to resign altogether despite his promise of the new elections. Evo he briefly resisted such calls, branding them “unconstitutional” and an “attempted coup,” the President eventually gave in after the military joined that reactionary choir.
Shortly before Evo announced his resignation, Bolivian TV channels aired footage of what they say was a presidential plane departing from El Alto International airport.
It was reported that the plane took Evo to his political stronghold of Chimore in the Department of Cochabamba, 300 kilometers east of La Paz, a city where he launched his reelection bid back in May.
Evo and Garcia Linera will stay in Chimore in the central Department of Cochabamba to work with the people.
However, citing opposition source, a report said:
Police and military have been on the lookout for Evo.
Morales dubbed the arrest warrant “illegal” while police chief denied its existence altogether.
Earlier, Bolivian rightist protest leader Luis Fernando Camacho has said that an outstanding warrant exists for the socialist leader’s arrest.
Supreme Electoral Tribunal President Maria Eugenia Choque Quispe was arrested on November 10 after the resignation of President Evo Morales.
The Attorney General’s office has issued arrest warrants for all leaders of the electoral tribunal and members of the body.
Assault on Evo’s home
“I denounce in front of the world and the Bolivian people that a police official publicly announced that he has instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; in addition, violent groups assaulted my home. The coup destroys the rule of law,” Evo stated on Twitter.
Global solidarity against coup
Solidarity across the globe continues for Evo and his government.
World leaders and organizations expressed Sunday their solidarity with former Bolivian President Evo Morales under the hashtag #ElMundoconEvo (the World with Evo) and strongly condemned the right-wing coup, which forced Evo to resign.
The Cuban and Venezuelan leaders have voiced their support for Evo. They condemned the incident as a “coup”.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel described it as a “violent and cowardly” attempt against democracy.
Miguel Diaz-Canel urged for “the world to mobilize for the life and freedom of Evo.”
“A coup d’état is underway against the legitimate President of Bolivia, @evoespueblo,” Diaz-Canel said in a tweet. “The right-wing opposition refuses to recognize their defeat at the polls and resorts to violence against the constitutional order. We strongly denounce this coup attempt!”
The messages of solidarity came just hours before Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that he was calling new presidential election.
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro tweeted: “We categorically condemn the coup realized against our brother president.”
Maduro added “the social and political movements of the world declare mobilization to demand the preservation of the life of the Bolivian Indigenous people victims of racism.”
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised Evo Morales’ decision to put the people first over his mandate.
Argentinean President-elect Alberto Fernandez says “institutional breakdown in Bolivia is unacceptable.” “My full support to the president @evoespueblo in the face of this attempt to interrupt the constitutional order,” Alberto Fernandez said in a tweet Saturday night. “The region together with the international community, we must follow this situation closely and act in case of any event that implies an institutional breakdown.”
The ALBA-TCP countries also issued a statement expressing support for the Bolivian government and institutions and denouncing the coup d’état in progress, while called for the return to peace.
Former President of the National Assembly and current Minister of Health Gabriela Montaño denounces that police are “illegally intending to arrest Evo Morales. We denounce this madness to the world.”
“I just heard that there was a coup d’état in Bolivia and that comrade Evo was forced to resign. It is unfortunate that Latin America has an economic elite that does not know how to live with democracy and the social inclusion of the poorest,” former Brazilian President and Leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.
“To see Evo who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice, and independence,” tweeted British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Sunday.
Dictatorship, never again
Social movements and organizations also shared their messages of support and condemnation to the internationally repudiated coup in Bolivia.
Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, the world’s biggest landless peasants’ organization, strongly demanded “dictatorship, never again”, as the organization called for the people to decide Bolivia’s future.
The Argentinean human rights movement Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo sided with Evo and his former vice president.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia in these hours of suffering and demand the continuity of the transparent and unrestricted electoral process,” the progressive Group of Puebla issued a statement adding that they “demand that the International Human Rights Bodies guarantee the clarification of the acts of violence committed, the trial and punishment of those responsible, and the restoration of order, peace, social life, and democracy in Bolivia.”
Mexico receives 20 Bolivian officials
Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs @m_ebrard confirms that they have received 20 officials from the Bolivian executive and legislature in the Mexican diplomatic residence in La Paz, while also offering asylum to Evo Morales if needed.
Videos from La Paz, the site of many recent anti-Evo Morales protests, showed rightist violent mob was cheering after the resignation announcement.
The lumpen and rich appearing rightist mob took to the streets to celebrate, chanting, “Yes we could”. They set off firecrackers in jubilation.
Ruling Bolivia since 2006, Morales has gained a reputation as a staunch defender of socialism, rights of the exploited. He is an ardent critic of U.S. imperialist foreign policy. Evo was one of the closest allies of Cuba and Venenzuela.
The country’s highest court ruled in 2018 that he could run for the fourth time. With Evo at the helm, the country, one of the poorest in the region but rich with resources, made exemplary progress in the areas of health, education and health. Bolivia under Evo’s leadership was making headways in many significant and big development projects, which would have improved life of the poor.
After the contested October elections, there were rival rallies of Morales’ opponents and supporters throughout the country.
While some anti-government protests have remained peaceful, others have led to rioting in major cities, clashes with police, and attacks on pro-government politicians.
Saturday saw some of the most violent nights in the country as opposition protesters burned down the houses of two governors as well as the house of Evo’s sister.
Violent protesters also took over two state media outlets and threatening their staff. The signal of Bolivia TV was cut down off air for more than eight hours.
Protesters burned the house of Oruro city governor Victor Hugo Vasquez, who stood by the president as tensions flared up.
Violent mobs harassed authorities in several cities. Police joined the demonstrators in some cities, marching in their uniforms.
Along with strong violent onslaughts against activists and leaders of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), the rightists intimidated journalists.
There was betrayal of political allies also. Several political allies of Evo resigned, some citing fears for the safety of their families.
Military chief’s call
An earlier report said:
Bolivia’s military urged President Evo Morales to resign stating that it would help to preserve “peace” in the country.
The military’s call came after Morales agreed to hold new elections.
“After analyzing the internal conflict situation, we ask the President of the State to renounce his presidential mandate, allowing for peace to be restored and the maintenance of stability for the good of Bolivia,” said the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces Williams Kaliman.
Shortly before Kaliman’s statement, Bolivia’s military said it had ordered air and land operations to “neutralize” unspecified armed groups that act outside the laws of the country.
It remains unclear what groups exactly the military plans to target.
The head of Bolivia’s Air Force has also suggested that President Evo Morales resign.
The Bolivian Police also demanded resignation of Evo Morales.
On Sunday, the OAS mission, probing the election said it was unable to validate its results and urged Bolivia to hold new ones.
The opposition was insisting that the president should resign before his mandate runs out in January, which he called a “coup attempt.”
Earlier, in an interview with teleSUR’s correspondent in Bolivia Freddy Morales, the former president said the decision to call new elections was to preserve the peace in Bolivia “so that we do not confront the Bolivian family,” while calling on the opposition protesters to end the strikes and remove roadblocks in order to not harm the economy of the country.
The rightist opposition leader Carlos Mesa, who came second in last month’s poll, thanked violent mob for “the heroism of peaceful resistance.”
In a tweet, he described the development as “the end of tyranny” and a “historical lesson”.
An NED operation
Citing a release of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the U.S arm for imposing its brand of political system, a teleSUR analysis said on April 4, 2019: The CIA’s influence in Latin America is not a “leftist rant”, it is ever-present and ignoring it represents a real menace for national sovereignty and the continuity of progressive governments in the region. In 2018, one of its offshoots, the NED channeled over US$23 million to meddle in the internal affairs of key Latin American countries, under the flagship of “human rights”, “democracy” and “entrepreneurship.”
Fascist action against a socialist mayor
A fascist mob led by the right-wing opposition Wednesday set fire to the Vinto Town Hall and dragged socialist mayor Patricia Arce down the street, where they humiliated her physically and verbally.
The MAS politician was still inside the town hall when the mob set it on fire.
Once she was taken to the street, the rightwing activists forced her to walk barefoot as they kept shouting slogans alluding to her status as a woman and member of the party of President Evo.
During some stretches of an improvised political “parade”, she was beaten and pushed to the ground. The mob also threw dirt on her.
“If you want to kill me, kill me,” Mayor Arce said before the cameras and added, “I am not afraid, I am in a free country.”
After walking several kilometers surrounded by the blood-smelling fascist who did not stop humiliating her, the socialist mayor was rescued by police officers.
Note: This report above is based on reports from media including the MSM up to around GMT 0200, October 11, 2019.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.