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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/19/19

Morales made unforced errors: Bolivia's Foreseeable Coup

By Ron Ridenour  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)       (Page 2 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   9 comments
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During Morales' terms in office, great accomplishments were achieved for most people.

Poverty 2006=60%; 2018=34%; Extreme poverty=2006=38%; 2018=15%

Life expectancy=2006=62; 2015=69; Infant mortality=2006=46 per 1000 live births; 2018=28.8

Bolivia's economy has undergone structural transformation with nationalization of major resources. GDP= 5% to 5.5% annual growth for the last several years. Real (inflation-adjusted) per capita GDP grew by more than 50 percent over 13 years, twice the rate of growth for the Latin American and Caribbean region. http://cepr.net/images/stories/reports/bolivia-macro-2019-10.pdf
Unemployment=2006=5%; 2017=3.4%

Gender equality-in 2006, there were 4% women in municipal assembly posts; in 2015, there were 50%, while the parliament was 53% women.

During Morales presidency, all persons 60 years old+ get state pensions, and hundreds of thousands of affordable social housing units have been built. Nevertheless, Morales made serious mistakes that alienated many followers. He focused power around his personality, reneged on promises, and made contradictory accommodations with some elite interests. These errors immersed the country in political crises, some avoidable.

Much of the international "real left", as opposed to liberal/progressive left catering to capitalism, ignores left-wing government errors and corruptions-not just those of Comrade Stalin and Chairman Mao, but also of the new 21st century socialist-oriented governments, including in the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) countries.

I believe that we must put an end to patriarchal patterns of top-down leadership. Those of us living in countries where there is no current hope of electing people-oriented governments, and who support revolutions or major progressive shifts of power elsewhere, need to stop glorifying everything they do. To be truly solidarity workers, to be true comrades, we need to point out major errors and "sins" where they exist. In that way, we offer real solidarity, and we prevent delusion amongst ourselves and those we wish to encourage and support.

In those countries where it is possible to gain a real left coalition electoral victory, strong alliances between governments, social movements and grassroots projects are needed. This could gradually change the infrastructure towards ending capitalist dominance and beginning forms of socialism run by the working people and their chosen leaders, periodically rotated.

Morales should have accepted the February 2016 referendum defeat (51.3% no; 48.7% yes),which if passed would have modified the constitution so that he could run indefinitely. Morales first accepted the loss, but next year he got the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (electoral organ, fourth estate of government) to allow elected officials unlimited time in office if re-elected. This gave him the green light to run again, but it led many to distrust him and the tribunal.

This hang-on-to-personal-power attitude is the same grave error that socialist and communist governments have made for a century. Nelson Mandela is the only exception I know of.

"Several of the social movements that had once backed Morales defected. Meanwhile, social organizations that remained loyal to Morales and the MAS begun receiving injections of government funds, reflecting deepening clientelism. Several scandals the government, the most damaging of them involving theft from the Indigenous Fund, created under the Morales government to increase investment in Indigenous communities. The 2015 scandal involved dozens of MAS insiders of indigenous origin, including government ministers." (NACLA, December 15, 2017, https://nacla.org/news/2017/12/20/bolivia-says-goodbye-term-limits)

Solon left his ambassador post in 2011 to care for his ill mother. While the ambassador criticized Morales for failing to keep promises, they remained close until the president pushed Sonon for TIPNIS, the construction of a highway through indigenous territory and a national park.

"Once he had obtained an absolute majority [in Congress], he did not deepen the original program that we had, but instead sought out pacts with sectors of the opposition, based on serious concessions, and in particular with the agribusiness sector of the eastern lowlands, which had sabotaged his government during his first term. These concessions included everything from allowing genetically modified organisms to promoting biofuels, promoting the export of meat, and not following through on the regulation [of land]"which allowed large landowners to preserve their ownership of land.," said Solon. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/evo-morales-la-ca%C3%ADda-del-h%C3%A9roe-de-la-transformaci%C3%B3n-boliviana-en/

Now, Bolivian opposition to MAS includes agribusiness elites and disaffected leftists, student groups, Christian conservatives, environmental NGOs, neoliberals, grassroots social movements and neo-fascists. The hard-core right-wing controls the opposition and the central government.

Election October 20

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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