Last Thursday, Evo Morales, the once popular leader of Bolivia, who was pressured to resign on 11 November, accused the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) of leading a coup to replace him with a government more friendly to U.S. commercial interests.
The OAS had been called in to review what was a controversial counting of votes in the recent Presidential election, including a 24-hour blackout for which Morales was accused of tampering.
After fleeing to Mexico, which granted him asylum, he denounced the charges against him from OAS, who to date has not provided evidence of election tampering, saying it “was in the service of the North American empire.”
Morales also called for an investigation into the mechanical failure of the helicopter he used to fly out of Bolivia. The helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing soon after takeoff. Morales called the incident “not accidental.”
As reported in the Trends Journal, Morales had been credited with initiating many popular and successful socialist programs since taking office in 2006.
The first indigenous native elected president, he nationalized Bolivia’s oil and gas reserves, the nation’s number one source of revenue, while redistributing much of the revenue toward infrastructure improvement, wage increases, social security benefits, education, health and price control on food, and other social programs.
Morales’ measures, which championed income growth for the poorest 40 percent of Bolivia’s population, was recognized by the World Bank Group as one of the most impressive in recent history.
But the combination of an economic slowdown; lower commodity prices; and his aggressive move to change the country’s constitution, so he could run for a fourth term despite voters rejecting the referendum to extend term limits, further damaged his popularity.
Rejecting the vote, Morales solicited the Bolivian Supreme Court, many members of whom he appointed who then rescinded term limits, thus allowing him to run.
As detailed in previous Trends Journals, after Morales won the disputed presidential election on 20 October, protests ensued and gangs began to physically attack his supporters, including burning down government ministers’ houses and taking their relatives hostage.
Under pressure from the military and concerned about the escalating riots that were endangering the lives of party members, Morales said he was resigning to avoid further violence and persecutions against his supporters and himself.
With Morales gone and four political allies resigning, Jeanine Anez, who was fifth in line of succession, filled the leadership vacuum.
As interim president, Ms. Anez said she was a provisional office holder and would call for new elections, which, according to the Constitution of Bolivia, must be held within 90 days of her assuming power.
Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) does not recognize Anez as interim president, claiming she assumed the office without the vote of Parliament, as stated in the country’s constitution.
It should be noted that Anez’s party received less than five percent of the vote in the recent election, thus, she clearly is not the people’s choice to lead the nation.
Known as a religious conservative who opposed rights of indigenous Bolivians, Anez tweeted back in 2013: “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rights. The city is not for the Indians who should stay in the highlands or the Chaco.”
More Protests, More Violence
Bolivia is again racked with protests, but, this time, it is not from those who had called for new elections after Morales’ controversial win.
Instead, it’s from indigenous natives who comprise over half the country’s population. They want Morales back and strongly oppose Anez’s openly racist attitude toward them.
As the protests escalate, so, too, has the violence. Police shot and killed eight of Morales’ supporters on Friday and wounded dozens.
On Saturday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that the violence in Bolivia could “spin out of control.”
Anez has the backing of the U.S., Britain, and Brazil.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: In his statement from Mexico, Evo Morales warned of foreign nations and corporate interests taking over the natural gas reserves and other natural resources. Among them is lithium, of which Bolivia has at least a quarter of the world’s deposits, which is in strong demand for both solar power and batteries for electric vehicles.
Therefore, once again, whether it was United Fruit Company a century ago waging wars to exploit natural resources of its “banana republic” Latin America or the U.S. waging wars in the Middle East over oil (“We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil, we left troops behind [in Syria] only for the oil,” President Trump said on 13 November)… it’s all about the bottom line: the money corporations can make by robbing and killing anyone that tries to stop them.
Long forgotten is the “Bolivian gas conflict” in 2005 when over 60 protesters were killed by Bolivia’s military force when citizens demonstrated against the privatization of the nation’s natural gas reserves.
TREND FORECAST: This conflict will devolve into civil war between interests in Bolivia aligned with the U.S. and allies who support privatization and corporate exploitation of its natural resources and those fighting to maintain nationalization.
It should also be noted that most Americans are oblivious to what’s going on in Bolivia, its implications, and the Globalnomic® significance of protests and civil wars igniting around the world.
And, as civil war erupts, more migrants will be moving north to the U.S. to escape violence, poverty, crime, and corruption.