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Bolivia between elections and threats of a new coup

by Marco Consolo, Co-coordinator of the EL Latin America and Caribbean WG       
Photo: Twitter of Evo Morales – Uyuni Solar Photovoltaic System of 60 MW

On Sunday, October 18th, general elections are held in Bolivia, which have been postponed 3 times by the coup government. In the polls the President, Vice-President and the deputies to the parliament (Pluri-National Legislative Assembly) will be elected. The environment is very tense in the country and rumors of a new possible coup d’état in the event of a victory by the left are incessant.

In the months leading up to the last elections in October 2019, the supremacist right created the conditions for a coup d’état, with the unfailing support of the United States, Bolsonaro’s Brazil and the Organization of American States, the infamous OAS, whose Secretary Luis Almagro was a fundamental pillar of the bloody coup.

The main accusation against Evo Morales’s government was that of electoral fraud that would have resulted in “a scandalous and gigantic fraud”, a version repeated over and over again by many international media.

Following the coup, several authoritative studies have demonstrated the instrumental falsity of the accusation of fraud: in reality, Morales had obtained 47% of the votes. But as you know, the script is written by whoever wins.

In recent months, the coup leaders have conducted a ruthless repression, they have done everything to get rid of Evo Morales and the Movement to Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of Peoples (MAS-IPSP). They tried to outlaw the party or at least its main candidates – including Evo himself, who was forced into exile in Argentina along with various leaders. They murdered, denounced and imprisoned social leaders, forced some prominent figures to take refuge in embassies, closed community radios and the few pro-MAS media, threatened and arrested journalists.

But eliminating the protagonism of the indigenous peasant, worker and popular bloc – also through coups of a new type, based on lawfare – has not been and will not be easy.

From the progressive emergence of the bloc in Bolivian politics, up to the rise to government in recent years (2006-2019), with the government led by Evo Morales, the Plurinational State of Bolivia has seen the most radical transformation process of the country’s history.

Important measures have taken place such as the nationalization of oil and gas together with the redistribution of their profits, the recovery of other companies, the beginning of the replacement of the neoliberal model for a social-community one, the industrialization of lithium (strategic material of which is among the world’s leading producers).

The recovery of national sovereignty from imperial interference also resulted in the expulsion of the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg (for his open interference in Bolivian politics) and in the decision to disregard the services of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

And above all, the original peoples (ill-called “indigenous”) have recovered their dignity and pride, they have acquired organization and awareness as a result of the political, organizational and conscience accumulation in decades of struggles, with their defeats and victories.

Against the “campaign of hatred and fear”, the best response will be participation and the vote to resume the interrupted path. Many eyes in the world are on Bolivia.