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General News    H2'ed 2/9/21

Bolivia: First Three Months of pro-Socialist Electoral Victory

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Communitarian-indigenous-based Movement toward Socialism (MAS) returned to power in a landslide election victory, October 18, 2020, thus ousting the rightest coup government backed by the U.S. (1) This is some of first quarter developments?

Luis Arce, President Evo Morales' (2006-2019) minister of economy and public finance, and David Choquehuanca, Morales' foreign minister, won the presidency and vice-presidency with 55% of the vote (3.4 million). The closest opposition candidate was former conservative president Carlos Mesa (2003-5), with 28%, followed by rightest coup-maker Luis Fernando Camacho, with 14%. Coup dictator, Jeannie à à ez, dropped out of the campaign when polls showed her with a possible 8%.

MAS also regained control of both houses of parliament: 75 of 130 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and 21 of 36 seats in the Senate--the Senate now has a female majority. MAS did not, however, accomplish a two-thirds majority as occurred during Morales' tenure.

à à ez, a right-wing senator, assumed leadership of the coup when military leaders threatened to remove Evo Morales by force, in November 2019. He went into exile (first in Mexico, then Argentina), in order to avoid massive bloodshed, as he foresaw would occur had he stayed.

Within days of the coup, several pro-Morales protestors were shot to death by military soldiers and helicopter gunners. At least three dozen anti-coup activists, mostly indigenous people, were murdered during the year-long dictatorship.

Evo returned to his country the day after the new government was inaugurated, November 8. He told his people in the state of Cochabamba, "The transnationals do not forgive us for having nationalized our natural resources--Lithium is why the U.S. backed the coup."

Morales resumed chairmanship of MAS but is not part of the new government.

Coup-makers to be tried

Jeannie à à ez's rule was marked by authoritarian assaults and a pattern of insults to Bolivia's indigenous peoples. She called Ayamara's celebrations "satanic", which gave a helping hand to racists who burned indigenous peoples Wiphala flag, and to some militarists and police who murdered dozens of indigenous protestors.

Ten days following MAS' election victory, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approved a final report on the "massacres of Senkata [and] Sacaba." The report recommended that AÃ ez be prosecuted for genocide and proposed criminal indictments of 11 of her ministers. Senate president Eva Copa specified that the report would be submitted to prosecutors for possible proceedings.

Several coup-makers, including dictator à à ez, key cabinet ministers and top military officers, have been detained temporarily and prevented from leaving the country as the new anti-corruption prosecutor, Luis Atanacio, prepares charges. Proceedings are barely beginning, and have been largely postponed due to the corona epidemic. President Luis Arce Appoints New Military Leadership in Bolivia | News | teleSUR En/

New Government Orientation

It is expected that Bolivia will once more champion much of the policies that made Evo Morales the most beloved leader in Bolivian history. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Morales ended the 500-years.

Morales, with Vice-President à lvaro Garcia Linera, and Arce as economy minister, ended the 500-year-old system of apartheid against Bolivia's indigenous peoples. They made Bolivia the fastest growing economy in Latin America with an annual 4.6% average rate of growth; boosted the minimum wage fivefold (from approximately $57 a month to $287 a month); cut extreme poverty from 38% to 17% of the population; reduced illiteracy virtually to zero, and raised average life expectancy from 64 to 71. Quie'n es Luis Arce, el presidente electo de Bolivia - Noticias econà micas, financieras y de negocios - El Cronista

The Obama government cut off ambassadorial relations upon assuming the presidency in 2008. Morales subsequently expelled the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and United States Agency of International Development Agency (USAID), which Morales accused of "seeking to conspire against the Bolivian people and his government."

Bolivia's coup government left the people with a foreign and domestic debt of 4.9 billion dollars. The coronavirus pandemic, and dictatorial rule--marked by regressive economic policy, cuts in taxes for the rich--is predicted to cause a 6% economic contraction World Bank forecasts for 2021.

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Ron Ridenour is a retired journalist, anti-war and radical activist; author of a dozen books, including "The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert".

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