NSCAG condemns right wing coup in Bolivia

NSCAG News | on: Monday, 11 November 2019

Thousands march in La Paz against the coup and in defence of democracy

Thousands march in La Paz against the coup and in defence of democracy

The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group has condemned the US-backed right wing coup in Bolivia which has forced the resignation of President Evo Morales.

The coup is an assault on democracy and social justice and the right of Bolivian people to live in peace and determine their own future. It follows two weeks of violence during which Bolivia’s right wing opposition, in actions reminiscent of the failed attempted coup in Nicaragua last year, burned and ransacked the homes of members of Morales’ MAS (Movement for Socialism) party, assaulted his supporters and kidnapped a Bolivian mayor. Morales’ resignation came following his announcement that he would hold new elections after the US-dominated OAS questioned his October victory and claimed that the vote was fraught with irregularities, even though there was no evidence to suggest that this was the case. Trump administration officials and Republican senators such as Marco Rubio were quick to trumpet the OAS line and to demand ‘credible and transparent elections’.

'To see @evoespueblo 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.' - Jeremy Corbyn, 10 November 2019

Since becoming president in 2006, the government of Evo Morales has lifted millions of people out of poverty with improvements to public health, nutrition, education provision and a large public housing programme. The World Health Organisation described Bolivia’s newly implemented universal health system as '…an important model for the world'.

No other government in Bolivia’s history has done more to restore the rights and dignity of the majority indigenous population, including the recovery of land illegally appropriated by large landowners. The country was transformed from a heavily indebted developing country into one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Bolivia also became a leading voice for international justice and action to tackle climate change. Since assuming the Presidency in 2006, Morales oversaw a reduction in poverty of almost 50%. Unemployment was also halved and illiteracy reduced by 11 percentage points from 13% to 2.4%. In May this year, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP celebrated Bolivia’s economic model and said that the country must maintain the gains of the last 13 years under Morales.

‘Bolivia has entered a new phase of development, marked by social equality, general welfare, social justice and the redistribution of wealth and services, this must be guaranteed and I don’t think this is negotiable’ – Luciana Mermet, UNDP representative, May 2019

The US administration has made no secret of its hostility to Morales, dating back to before his successful election victory in 2005 which replaced a neoliberal regime in hock to foreign mostly US corporations while 75% of the rural population lived in extreme poverty. As with Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, the US administration regarded Bolivia’s social progress and achievements as a threat, and sought to destabilise the country by pouring in funding through organisations such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (Morales expelled USAID from the country in 2011, accusing it of funding NGOs working against the nation’s sovereignty).

At a meeting of the UN Security Council in 2018, Morales openly criticized the policies of the Trump administration around the world, and it was expected that the US would make further efforts to attack Morales in the run up to the 2019 elections. Indeed, US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen earlier this year asked US Congresswomen to join efforts to prevent Morales from running for the 2019 Presidential elections and also attacked his presence on the UN Security Council saying ‘Morales has actively worked against US and regional security interests’.

It is telling that Nicaragua’s opposition Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) has sent greetings to the ‘democratic struggle in Bolivia that culminated in the resignation of Evo Morales’ and has congratulated the Bolivian people for their ‘democratic conquest’.

The international community must raise its voice loud and clear against US attempts to further destabilise the region in an effort to oust democratically elected left wing governments and replace them with client states that will enrich the rich and impoverish the poor.

This is not a betrayal of social movements. The fight continues. We are the people, and thanks to this political union, we have freed Bolivia. We leave this homeland freed’ – Evo Morales, November 2019

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