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How OAS Deception Helped the Coup in Bolivia

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Evo Morales: [foreign language 00:06:41]

Interpreter: This is a report, and I realize from the recommendations of some leftist brothers and sisters that the OAS is not in the service of the people of Latin America, less so the social movements. The OAS is at the service of the North American [crosstalk 00:06:58].

Evo Morales: [foreign language 00:06:58]

Greg Wilpert: I believe that Evo Morales might be referring to CEPRA here actually. Now, talk to us about the OAS's role in all of this since it's been used to justify the coup.

Mark Weisbrot: Well, the OAS is not always going to do the same thing. It depends on the situation. So in this situation, the Trump administration wanted very much to get rid of this government, and I think Almagro" And they made statements showing this, and in fact, of course the Trump administration issued a statement supporting the coup itself and saying that it was bringing democracy to Bolivia. So it was very clear where they stood.

Luis Almagro, who's done a lot of terrible things as the Secretary General of the OAS, I think he saw an opportunity here. Once the election was close, he saw an opportunity to intervene because I think it had to come from high up in the OAS because the people in the Electoral Observer Mission, I mean, as I said, they have at least the knowledge that somebody who watches election returns come in. They could've asked that question. "Well, how are these district" How are these precincts different from the first returns?" And also they didn't have to focus so much on the TREP count, on this quick count because, again, it wasn't the binding count.

It wasn't even supposed to, intended to, or intended to or announced as something that reports the entire account. That's probably why they stopped at 84 because in previous elections they stopped at 70. It's not the official count. It's just something to keep people informed when the count is still going on. The official count has more safeguards and takes longer. So this was really a deliberate thing. And they have done this before, by the way. Again, I'm not going to characterize the OAS as being on one side or another in all situations. It's not like that. In fact, probably most Observer Missions are clean, but they have put their finger on the scales before.

In 2010, for example, there was an election in Haiti, and the OAS did something that probably no electoral election monitors have ever done, which is they, actually, they set up a commission that looked at the results and they reversed it without any kind of a recount or even a statistical test. In fact, the head of that mission admitted on video that it was a political decision. They didn't have any evidence for it, so they changed the results of Haiti's election in 2011. And, in fact, Susan Rice, not long after that in 2011 when Haitians were struggling not to accept that change of election results, she threatened them with a cutoff of aid, desperately needed aid, after the earthquake if they didn't accept this decision, which was really made by the US government through the OAS.

That's just one example. There's worse ones. There's another one in Haiti in 2000, which was the foundation of a coup that took place in Haiti in 2004 where the OAS changed its report. After they initially had issued a favorable report on the election, they changed it in order to support a cutoff of almost all international aid to Haiti that took place between 2000 and 2004 until the United States-backed coup succeeded in overthrowing democratically-elected president. So this has happened before, and it's a shame that so many journalists don't know this history, or they wouldn't just take the OAS's word for it because really all they have to do is look at the data themselves. Or if they can't or don't have time, just assign that to somebody and they would see that the OAS is really being extremely dishonest here.

Greg Wilpert: Finally, I mean, given all of this history, why do you think Evo Morales gave into the OAS so easily when he agreed to abide by its audit?

Bolivia's Evo Morales Forced to Resign in Coup d'État
Bolivia's Evo Morales Forced to Resign in Coup d'État
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Mark Weisbrot: Yeah, I think that was a mistake, and I think he was hoping that the audit would be" If I just have to guess, I don't know what he was thinking. But he might've been hoping that the audit would be cleaner than what they did in the election because there was Mexico, for example, was involved, and Mexico, the Mexican government. They had denounced the OAS first, their first incidents of lying about the election in their press release. They denounced that at the OAS, and so he might've figured that these other countries could keep an eye on them, and I think he miscalculated there.

Greg Wilpert: Okay. Well, we're going to leave it there for now. I'm speaking to Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Thanks again, Mark, for having joined us today.

Mark Weisbrot: Thank you, Gregory.

Greg Wilpert: And thank you for joining the Real News Network.

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