The violent, US-backed coup against the elected government of Bolivia is of great concern.
Carlos Mesa, who was the second place finisher in the recent presidential elections, called for street mobilizations after the October 20 election that led to a wave of violence throughout the nation. Violence included intimidation of journalists, burning residences of Morales party’s members, including Morales’ sister, and attacking anyone who looked indigenous.
I join with other progressive political leaders around the world, including Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and social movements that are criticizing this coup. The response of the majority of people in Bolivia will be critical to how this story unfolds. I stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia and their independent and sovereign nation.
Morales was the first indigenous leader elected president in Bolivia and was the longest serving leftist president, 14 years. Immediately before this departure, Morales called for new elections, partly to address the inaccurate accusations of election fraud levied by the OAS, accusations that were presented without evidence.
Some political allies and the national police have gone over to the side of the opposition. The military called for Morales to resign to pacify the country. He did so along with other leaders of his party. Now, conservative opposition Lawmaker Jeanine Añez from the Democratic Union Party has stated she will assume Bolivia’s interim presidency. Añez assured she will call for new elections on Monday.
Bolivia, not coincidentally, has the world’s largest untapped reserves of lithium, a mineral important in the manufacture of batteries, and it recently made it clear it would no longer allow US multinational corporations to grab all they wanted for pennies on the dollar. Bolivia recently entered into a multibillion dollar deal with China for the development of this in-demand resource.
Evo Morales has transformed Bolivia from being a country controlled by the United States to being an independent nation. He made dramatic changes in Bolivia, including nationalizing the fossil fuel industry, breaking with the World Bank and the IMF, and distributed the wealth to greatly reduce malnutrition, poverty and illiteracy as well as provide healthcare to all Bolivians. His Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) Party greatly reduced the neoliberal capitalist economy that existed before his election. Bolivia had the highest economic growth in Latin America for six years, greatly uplifting the economic circumstances of the people. An October 2019 economic review of Bolivia by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found numerous economic gains that benefitted the lives of the people because Morales challenged conventional neoliberal economic policies.
Morales’ economic and political policies resulted in efforts by the United States to undermine him. This was the third major attempt by the US to remove Morales.
The Hawkins campaign joins in solidarity with progressives around the world to denounce this right-wing coup backed by the bipartisan regime-change agenda of the United States.