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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 1 of 4 pages)   9 comments
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Bolivia: Pro-Morales indigenous people march against interim president Anez in La Paz Subscribe to our channel! Thousands of indigenous supporters of former Bolivian President Evo Morales marched in La Paz on Wednesday, ...
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By Ron Ridenour

Did a coup d e'tat take place in Bolivia with the removal of President Evo Morales? Certainly, an internal coup was a major cause, along with a rebellion calling for Morales' resignation. When the commander of the armed forces, backed by many generals, publically calls for the president to abdicate, that is an internal coup. Did the US orchestrate this coup? Well, it would be nothing new.

The 1823 "Monroe Doctrine" asserted that Latin America belonged in the US's backyard. After World War II, and 9/11, Manifest Destiny extended that claim to the entire globe. Of the thousands of times that military forces have been deployed by the US, many countries have been subjected several times. Cuba was attacked 12 times since 1814; Nicaragua 12 times since 1853; Panama on 13 occasions since 1856.

The US stole half of Mexico in 1848. Between 1869 and 1897, the U.S. sent war ships to intervene in Latin America 5,980 times-one ship every two days over three decades. These landings resulted in the murders of striking local workers and insurgents opposing repressive local governments. William Blum (Anti-Empire Reports) showed us that just since WWII the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them Latin American-most recently in Honduras, Paraguay, and Venezuela

While there is evidence that President Donald Trump and major US senators wanted Morales regime-changed, their role may have been minimal and advisory. This I will address after I introduce an overall picture of Morales and his policies, and some of the conflicts within the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS). Some of these policy errors offered the US Military Empire the "human rights" trump card it likes to employ these days when invading or regime changing annoying leaders who do not heel when ordered.

COP 15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen

I immediately took to President Morales upon meeting him in December 2009. I was a PR worker for the Bolivian embassy in Denmark, and one of two press secretaries for Bolivia at the climate summit. I had planned a dozen individual interviews with media. Morales took the first three then walked away while journalists looked at me: what about our interview? I rushed after the president and reminded him of our agreement about the interviews. Morales looked at his ambassador to Denmark and indicated that they needed to talk outside my hearing. I assured journalists that he would return, and he did. He was unhappy with my brashness, but the ambassador and UN ambassador, Pablo Solon, told him I was only doing my job for the benefit of the nation.

Morales accepted this as he did when I introduced indigenous leaders to a press conference the next day, because Morales and Hugo Chavez were late arriving. Use the "dead" time, my experience told me. I translated for two leaders of social movements. They said this very act of taking the podium before their president's arrival illustrated how democratic the new Plurinational State of Bolivia actually is. Social movements work hand in glove with the government and their president, they said. Then in walked presidents Morales and Chavez followed by the Cuban, Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan leaders. The activists and I calmly walked off the stage and the state leaders took our seats as we nodded to one another.

In those hectic days, I viewed President Morales as a man of his people, and his people at the summit clearly viewed him as their president and one who listens to them. I, too, continue to listen to and follow him regarding his "live-well-not-better" thesis: "Ten Commandments Against Capitalism, For Life and Humanity"

Following Evo Morales initial election victory in October 2005, he initiated a new constitution (2009), which granted important rights to the indigenous and also equal gender rights. It also limited consecutive terms of political office, including the presidency, to two consecutive five-year terms. This opens the way for fresh faces, greater public participation in decision-making, less reliance on personal power. Yet power hangs heavy on the shoulders of leaders of all stripes.

Living Standards Improved

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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