[Marxism] James Petras on Evo Morales
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jan 4 09:30:54 MST 2006
(This should not indicate that I endorse Petras's views. I consider him to
be prone to ultraleft errors and wrote a reply to his attack on the FSLN
Counterpunch, January 4, 2006
The Bankers Can Rest Easy
Evo Morales: All Growl, No Claws?
By JAMES PETRAS
A realistic assessment of the electoral victory of Evo Morales requires
knowledge of his recent role in Bolivia's popular struggles, his program
and ideology as well as the first measures adopted by his regime. In the
recent past innumerable leftist intellectuals, academics, journalists and
NGOers have jumped on the bandwagon of a series of newly elected "popular"
presidents(Lula in Brazil, Gutierrez in Ecuador, Vazquez in Uruguay and
Kirchner in Argentina) who maintained all privatized firms, punctually paid
the foreign debt, applied IMF fiscal policies and sent military forces to
Haiti to uphold a US-imposed puppet regime and repress the poor struggling
to restore the democratically elected Aristide government.
Once again in Bolivia we have a popular leader elected to power. Once again
we have an army of uncritical left cheerleaders, ignorant of significant
facts and policy changes over the last 5 years.
Evo Morales' margin of victory, 54 per cent against 29 per cent for his
closest opponent exceeded that of any prior president in half a century.
His party, the MAS (Movement to Socialism) gained a majority in the lower
house, and a near majority in the Senate, and won 3 tof 9 governorships,
despite the fact that the Electoral Council eliminated nearly one million
registered voters (mostly peasant-Indian voters for Morales) on
technicalitiesMorales won all the major cities (except Santa Cruz, bulwark
of the extreme right) and exceeded 65 per cent in many rural and urban
impoverished regions. Morales and the MAS won despite the opposition of all
the major electronic and print media, the business and mine owners
associations and the heavy-handed intervention and threats of the US
embassy. In this case US business opposition to Evo added to his popular
support and resulted in a record turnout.
Contrary to the "media critics", most people were not influenced by the 24
hour barrage of dirty propaganda by all the mass media. , Evo was presented
by the mass media and his publicists as the first Indian president of the
Americas, which was technically correct. However, it should be noted that
President Chavez of Venezuela is part Indian, a former Vice president of
Bolivia was a (neo-liberal) Indian, Peruvian President Toledo claimed
Indian origins and wore a poncho during his campaigns, and Indians in
Ecuador occupied key ministerial posts during the regime of the ousted
President Gutierrez in Ecuador (including Agriculture and Foreign Affairs).
With the exception of Chavez, the presence of Indians in high places did
not lead to the passage of any progressive measures in basically
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