[Marxism] Political and Social Instability in Bolivia

Greg McDonald gregmc59 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 21 15:06:55 MST 2019

Crisis after the coup d'état
Eduardo Paz Rada*

The coup in Bolivia has not been consolidated. In spite of the fact that
twenty-nine people have already been killed by the military and police, who
were given license to do so by means of a decree approved by Jannine Áñez
and her ministers, the coup regime does not possess the legal impramatur to
be considered a constitutional government with the authority to govern
Bolivia. This is in no small part due to the resistance of popular
movements in several regions of the country.

Even though the coup regime has been recognized by the United States, which
promoted the coup, by Brazil, led by the ultraconservative Jair Bolsonaro,
by the imperialist agent Luis Almagro of the Organization of American
States (OAS) and by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, none of this has
been sufficient to stabilize the coup. This is a soft coup, with
characteristics of its own, a variant of those that have occurred in
Brazil, Paraguay or Honduras.
The Armed Forces, aided by the National Police, continues to be the central
bastion of support for the self-proclaimed president, who is subject to
different pressures from the following political sectors:

The radicals of the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, with their leader
Fernando Camacho, who have managed to give a racist and religious tone to
the regime, are looking for a fast electoral process. Their party,
 (Movimiento Demócrata), which only received 4% of votes in the last
elections and responds to the most conservative positions of Santa Cruz,
intends, with several of its ministers, to adopt immediate neoliberal
economic measures.  Carlos Mesa, former vice-president of the ultra
neoliberal regime of the nineties presided over by Gonzalo Sanchez de
Lozada, claims to give a legal "order" to the coup d'état and wants  to
hold elections in the coming months. And finally we have the ultra-left
"poristas”,  who imagine that the "workers revolution" has arrived.

Faced with these factions vying for power, Evo Morales continues to be the
ghost that frightens the coup and is the axis around which Bolivian
politics and society revolves, because he has, on the one hand, the loyalty
of the parliamentarians who have two-thirds of the chambers of deputies and
senators and, on the other hand, the popular movements in resistance.

The mobilizations by the coca growers of the central region of the Chapare,
by the residents of the populous city of El Alto, by the colonizers of
Yapacani, by the ayllus and miners of the North of Potosí, and by the
campesinos who have blocked the main highways of the country and surrounded
the capitals, have become bastions of resistance to the coup, with a toll
so far of twenty-nine dead, more than one hundred injured, and a similar
number of detainees. These demonstrations and blockades have raised the
slogans of defending democracy, demanding the return of Evo Morales,
vindicating the indigenous anti-colonial flag and national Wiphala symbol
and demanding the resignation of Jannine Añéz.

Both the National Coordination for Change (CONALCAM) and the Bolivian
Workers' Central (COB), which brings together trade union, neighborhood,
worker, peasant, women's, intercultural and indigenous organizations, have
become the organizational referents of the mobilizations together with the
Movement Toward Socialism (MAS).

The Chambers of Senators and Deputies, whose Presidents are Eva Copa and
Sergio Choque, both representatives of El Alto, are the political wing in
charge of managing the next elections.  They will preside over the
 nomination of members to a new National Electoral Tribunal (TNE). They
will need to approve the call for new national elections, although it is
not ruled out that the coup regime will choose to bypass or even close the
legislative Assembly outright.

All the while, Evo Morales has been isolated in Mexico at the behest of the
government of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. He arrived in Mexico on November
11th, after a dangerous flight boycotted by the governments of Peru and
Ecuador, which denied him airspace. He was supported, however, by Alberto
Fernandez, the future president of Argentina. Morales has become the
reference point for Bolivian politics, as much for his base of support
among the popular majority and the Legislative Assembly, as for his
detractors among the middle class and those claiming to be the governing

*Bolivian Sociologist and member of USMA

Postscript by Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky:

The question is what will happen if Áñez tries to make the last leap,
appoints an electoral tribunal that is clearly unconstitutional, and
launches the Armed Forces to assassinate and massacre under the protective
mantle of the OAS, [as Piñera does in Chile through the Special Forces?]

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