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    Demonstrators hide behind makeshift barriers next to burning items during a protest in La Paz, Bolivia, October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

    Bolivian Coup Paves the Way for US Offensives Within Latin America – Brazilian Scholar

    © REUTERS / KAI PFAFFENBACH
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    Bolivian unrest driven by the dispute over the election results evokes strong memories of the January crisis in Venezuela and the 2016 removal of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, says Brazilian scholar Gustavo Guerreiro, outlining the US role in the deposition of Morales.

    On 12 November, following President Evo Morales's resignation opposition Senator Jeanine Anez declared herself interim president of Bolivia and on the next day was recognised by the US State Department

    "I want to express my sincere congratulations to Jeanine Anez, the new president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia", tweeted Luis Fernando Camacho, one of the leaders of the Bolivian unrest, a millionaire and the head of a controversial paramilitary organisation, the Santa Cruz Youth Union.

    Evo Morales, who had been the president of Bolivia since 2006, resigned on 10 November after the country's armed forces and police joined the protestors who questioned the results of the 20 October general election.

    Addressing the nation Morales and his Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera announced that they would resign in order to bring an end to the unrest that has engulfed the nation since 21 October. Following his resignation Morales left for Mexico where he has been granted political asylum.

    'Washington Used the Same Playbook in Venezuela & Bolivia'

    According to Gustavo Guerreiro, executive editor of scientific journal World Tensions and a member of the Brazilian Centre for Solidarity with Peoples and Fight for Peace (CEBRAPAZ), Bolivian right-wingers have deposed Morales using the same playbook that Washington "tried to apply in Venezuela, until now unsuccessfully", and in Brazil, beginning in 2014 and culminating in the 2016 removal of the former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the arrest of another former leftist Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in April 2018.

    Last week, the Radio Education Network of Bolivia (Erbol) leaked 16 audios in which alleged opposition leaders called for a coup against the newly re-elected president Evo Morales which was meant to be coordinated from the country's US Embassy. The names of US Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez and Ted Cruz were also mentioned in the leaks.

    "The right-wing attacks on Bolivia were funded by the US", Guerreiro says. "They intensified after the presidential election, when Morales was reelected with almost 48% of the vote. There is, in fact, widespread popular support for the president, but he is cornered by a growing wave of violent protests".

    The Brazilian scholar highlights that the military and police militias who demanded that Morales step down played a major role in the Bolivian coup.

    "The 'request' was followed by a series of attacks by police militias that set fire to the house of the president's sister and other members of his party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS)", Guerreiro notes.

    However, according to the researcher, the military alone would not have been able to topple Morales "without the backing of mass media, an anti-national elite, a corrupt judiciary and biased international institutions".

    A supporter of Bolivia's former President Evo Morales yells at a police officer, telling him to respect the nation's indigenous people in La Paz, Bolivia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Former President Evo Morales, who transformed Bolivia as its first indigenous president, flew to exile in Mexico on Tuesday after weeks of violent protests, leaving behind a confused power vacuum in the Andean nation. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
    A supporter of Bolivia's former President Evo Morales yells at a police officer, telling him to respect the nation's indigenous people in La Paz, Bolivia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Former President Evo Morales, who transformed Bolivia as its first indigenous president, flew to exile in Mexico on Tuesday after weeks of violent protests, leaving behind a confused power vacuum in the Andean nation. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    Bolivian Coup is Part of a Broader Set of US Interventions

    Guerriero believes that what happens in the Andean country is "far from being just an isolated fact", foreseeing that the coup in Bolivia will pave the way for a further US offensive within Latin America.

    "It is part of a well-articulated set of interventions that try to take Venezuela from the elected government of Maduro, suppress the demonstrations of the Chilean people, impose an economic model on Ecuador, intervene in Argentina's political course and take over Brazil, the main political and economic force in Latin America", the scholar says.

    He draws parallels between the turmoil in Bolivia and the Venezuelan political crisis that started on 10 January 2019 but largely stalled despite the US and its allies hastily recognising Juan Guaido, the country's self-declared interim president.

    "In the case of Venezuela, Maduro has shown extreme resilience", Guerriero explains. "Although somewhat distanced from Chavism, [Maduro's political course] is inherited from his legacy, which began in Caracazo, through the leadership of Hugo Chavez, a military man who knew how to handle the Armed Forces and promoted the political education of the population, among several actions, distributing millions of copies of the Venezuelan constitution in paperback format. It also favours the broad political awareness of the popular classes".

    According to the Brazilian researcher, the US Latin American advance is driven by the interests of corporations and monopolies seeking expansion in the region. To that end, they need to upend the socialist policies of Latin American's left-wing governments under the pretext of their "ineffectiveness".

    The October 2019 study by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) after analysing economic changes in Bolivia since 2006, found that under Morales the Andean nation had become the fastest growing economy in South America "through a mix of state-led, heterodox economic policies, and markets".

    Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez gestures as she poses for a picture after she declared herself as Interim President of Bolivia, at the Presidential Palace, in La Paz, Bolivia November 12, 2019
    © REUTERS / Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez gestures as she poses for a picture after she declared herself as Interim President of Bolivia, at the Presidential Palace, in La Paz, Bolivia November 12, 2019

    New Leaders Likely to Kick off Neoliberal Adjustment & Withdraw Social Rights

    Guerreiro foresees that following Morales' resignation, that triggered the resignations of Vice President of the Republic Alvaro García, President of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra, and President of the Chamber of Deputies Victor Borda, the country's right-wing "interim government" is likely to kick off "corruption" probes "to justify measures of neoliberal adjustment and the withdrawal of the social rights of the already historically suffering Bolivian people". Previously, the same scenario was kicked off in Brazil, he recalls.

    "Coup leader Luis Fernando "Macho" Camacho… feels empowered and does not hide that he will rule himself", the Brazilian scholar opines.

    Although Añez has declared herself an interim president signalling that she is prepared to organise new elections, the situation in Bolivia still remains explosive, according to Guerreiro. He expresses doubts that the right-wing opposition that has just taken power in the Andean country is ready to hold fair, transparent and inclusive elections.

    "In the face of all the instability caused by the violent coup process, there is no doubt that these new elections will indeed be a fraud", Guerreiro suggests. "So, the only possible answer is that there is no guarantee that the new electoral process will be fair".

    Gustavo Guerreiro is PhD student of the Public Policies doctorate at the State University of Ceará (UECE); researcher at the Nationalities Observatory and executive editor of World Tensions, a scientific open access journal; researcher affiliated to the Brazilian Association of Defence Studies – ABED; and member of the national board of the Brazilian Centre for Solidarity of Peoples and Fight for Peace (CEBRAPAZ).

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    Nicolas Maduro, Brazil, Venezuela, coup, elections, Mexico, Evo Morales, Bolivia, Latin America, United States
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