Mass rage let loose

The Bolivian people reject the coup d’État

This popular struggle is expressed by tens of thousands of workers, peasants, shopkeepers, informal workers, indigenous people and urban dwellers, men and women equally.

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The attempt by the military hierarchies to “regularize” the Coup d’État in Bolivia, together with the representatives of the oligarchic right, sponsored by Donald Trump, his regional operators established in Miami and the State Department, has unleashed mass fury in the streets and highroads of the whole country, particularly in the central axis of La Paz, El Alto, the North of Potosi, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. These mobilizations in defense of democracy, are putting in check the military, the police and the Bolivian “Guaidó”, the pawn chosen to appear as President (Jeanine Añez).


In addition to the uproar over the Coup staged against Evo Morales on November 10, whose term of office should end next January 22, there is now the discontent and protests against the acts of police factions and conservative political groups who have burned and trampled the whipala, the emblematic flag of indigenous identity which had been elevated to a national symbol of the country. This fact brings to mind the declarations of Jeanine “Guaidó” Añez, when she manifested her rejection of the whipala after the Constituent Assembly of 2009 made it a symbol.


This popular struggle is expressed by tens of thousands of workers, peasants, shopkeepers, informal workers, indigenous people and urban dwellers, men and women equally, alongside the elderly and children, and it has taken the lives of at least six people, without the controlled and manipulated media giving out this information. In fact in the region of Yapacani (on the route from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz) the military have prepared battle trenches in an attempt to stop the colonizers of the region from advancing.


To date, the people of the city of El Alto, bastion of the popular rebellion of October 2003 that brought down the neoliberal governments and their parties, has now become the vanguard of the struggle, mobilizing the most excluded and marginalised masses, that as from November 11 have moved into the city of La Paz and put the executive and legislative palaces under siege. At the same time, the peasants have begun to surround the principal cities, restricting commerce in basic consumer goods and completely closing the circulation of vehicles on the highways.


The whole country is mobilized


In the North of Potosi, Uncia and Llallagua, where the ayllus or ancestral communities blend with mine workers, their territorial control has obliged the police and military forces to retreat, while in the principal cities more than a dozen police barracks have been burned because the popular movement considers that sectors of the police have betrayed the people and democracy with last Saturday’s mutiny.


In the South of Cochabamba, the popular districts have developed massive demonstrations that were repressed by the joint forces of police and military, although sectors of the military have refused to take repressive measures and have protected the demonstrators in the nearby barracks of the Tamborada; a similar action took place in Oruro, where the soldiers refused to come out, affirming that they could not attack the people because they have the same roots. The second leader of the ‘cocaleros’ (coca growers) of the Chapare region, Andrónico Rodríguez, called for a national mobilization and has announced that the mobilization of the cocaleros would be widespread, controlling a territory that connects the East and the West of the country.


This has generated roadblocks in Parotani, the highway that connects Cochabamba with La Paz and Oruro and in the region of the Andean altiplano, on one hand, and demonstrations in Montero, close to the city of Santa Cruz, and in the city of Cochabamba in the centre of the country, on the other hand.


Evolution of the escalating crisis


The cascading or snowballing coup was led by the leader of the Comité Cívico de Santa Cruz, Fernando Camacho, who promoted massive concentrations in the Plaza de Cristo in this city, rejecting the electoral results of October 20, which he qualified as fraudulent, and demanding the resignation of President Evo Morales. His action was also accompanied by urban roadblocks and massive demonstrations of the middle class and well-to-do sectors, principally, in various cities of the country, which grew to the point where the police mutiny occurred in Cochabamba on Saturday, November 9. They even set fire to the buildings of various Departmental Electoral Tribunals, governorships and town halls pertaining to the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS – Evo Morales’ party).


The next day, Camacho entered the Palace of Government in the Plaza Murillo, where he left a Bible, a flag and a letter (a draft of the President’s resignation) and a little later, the Military High Command asked for the resignation of the President, consolidating the coup d’état, in spite of the request made by Morales to undertake a national dialogue. Camacho’s speech was characterized by anti-communism, inflammatory Christian discourse, the critique of Morales’ ‘dictatorship’ and the restitution of democracy in the country. He continually made an analogy with the Spanish colonization with the cross and the sword over the indigenous peoples.


The conservative parliamentarians, a minority both in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, ignoring the Constitution and laws, in a meeting with no parliamentary quorum, incited Senator Jeanine Añez to proclaim herself President of the State, to take over the Presidential Palace and to rush through the possession of a new Military High Command, while calling for national pacification in the face of the generalized violence in the country. This situation was countered with a parallel and majority meeting of Senators and Deputies of the MAS, that rejected those illegal decisions, giving way to a situation of great uncertainty.


The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, together with the elected President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, managed with great difficulty to enable Evo Morales to travel into exile in the Mexican capital and evoked the solidarity and sovereign integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Meanwhile the President of the United States, Donald Trump, celebrated the resignation of Morales. In fact, in Bolivia the Coup d’État is floundering.



(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)


- Eduardo Paz Rada is a Bolivian Sociologist and lecturer in the UMSA He writes in publications of Bolivian and Latin America.
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