Protesters gathered across London to condemn the military coup in Bolivia, which forced former Bolivian president Evo Morales to resign from his post and flee to Mexico after gaining political asylum on 11 November.
Numerous emergency meetings have taken place since the coup's onset, including rallies at the National Education Union and outside Downing Street on 16 November, where hundreds from organisations, activists and the media denounced the violence.
Demonstrators carried banners and chanted slogans supporting the exiled Bolivian president, who fled violence orchestrated by opposition parties across cities such as La Paz, Cochabamba and others. Many bore the hashtags of the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, including #NocoupinBolivia and @BoliviaFriends.
— Carlos Martinez (@agent_of_change) November 13, 2019
Speakers from Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism, Bartolina Sisa Resistance, and Middlesex University, among many others, have issued statements denouncing former Bolivian vice president Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho Vega, as well as Jeanine Áñez, who seized control as acting President of Bolivia on 12 November.
Greenwashing The Bolivian Coup d’etat
A Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism spokesperson condemned the military coup in Bolivia and offered statements of solidarity with indigenous people “fighting for self-determination".
Under Morales’ leadership, Bolivia won major gains and improvements by removing the “strangle-hold” of the IMF and taking control of the nation’s resources “in the interests of its people”.
— Nathália Urban (@UrbanNathalia) November 13, 2019
The spokesperson said: “This coup is an attack on Bolivia’s sovereignty and democracy, and follows recent coup attempts in Venezuela and Nicaragua in an ongoing battle against Latin America’s progressive movements.
The spokesperson also slammed groups such as Extinction rebellion, as well as Novaramedia, The Guardian and Independent for attempts to “greenwash” and facilitate the Bolivian coup by “promoting false information produced by Jhanisse Vaca-Daza, a professional regime change operative”.
— Esha 🌹 (@eshaLegal) November 13, 2019
Bolivian law had already placed ecosystems “on par with humans”, with Ecuador being the only other country with such a law, the spokesperson added.
Pro-Camacho Mobs Launch Attacks Across Bolivia, Violence Documented By Locals
A spokesperson from the Bolivian Bartolina Sisa Resistance movement, who has been documenting the atrocities since the onset, slammed the coup as a “persistence of the Monroe Doctrine” which “deems the whole of South America as ‘Uncle Sam’s backyard'".
Bolivia, which has massive natural resource reserves in lithium, natural gas and others, made the coup a geopolitical issue, the spokesperson said.
They said: “Whenever a leader or movement emerges to challenge the status quo of exploitation and poverty, they are vilified and, if possible, overthrown.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 18, 2019
Persecutions of indigenous Bolivians have been launched under Mesa and Camacho, namely in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz as well as La Paz, and have “largely gone unremarked by the liberal media”, they said, including assaults on Vinto mayor Patricia Arce by over 500 ‘opposition protestors’.
Mrs Arce was “forced to walk barefoot for miles”, and attackers cut off her hair and threw red paint across her body whilst setting the Mayoral building on fire, they explained.
Bolivia's rightwing opposition assaulted Patricia Arce (the mayor of Vinto), dragged her through the streets, covered her in red paint, & forcibly cut off her hair and screamed verbal abuse at her— Going Underground on RT (@Underground_RT) November 12, 2019
Attacks continued in early November, where protestors began assaulting Evo supporters, ministers and trade unionists connected to MAS, including “burning down their homes, threatening their families to be hanged or killed if they refused to sign their resignations, torturing some of their family members in public, [ransacking] and burning down [Evo Morales’s] home”, among others, the spokesperson explained.
— Patricia Villegas Marin (@pvillegas_tlSUR) November 16, 2019
Cochabamba saw indigenous women violently attacked by paramilitary groups during peaceful protests against pro-Camacho forces, where Whipala flags representing Bolivia's indiginous people, were “ripped and burnt” by coup leaders, who later entered the Presidential palace “holding a bible” to mock indigenous Bolivians.
Since 15 November, 26 people have died, and hundreds injured and arrested. Repressions continue, with many indigenous people left “defenceless” against the military and police, they concluded.
Emergency Meeting at
Revelations from the Bartolina Sisa Resistance were seconded by Dr Francisco Dominiguez, head of Latin American Studies at Middlesex University, who slammed the coup as “armed terror” against Bolivians.
Dr Dominiguez was joined by Adrian Weir of Unite the Union, Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition, Ana Roja of the Brazilian Workers Party, Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Bolivian trade unionist Manuel Bueno and Javier Sanchez of the Bolivian community group SUMA QAMANA, among others.
— Mark Weisbrot (@MarkWeisbrot) November 18, 2019
Groups involved in the coup against Evo Morales were the “same forces that tried to break [up] Bolivia back in 2008”, Dr Dominiguez said whilst speaking in a video message to the "No to the coup in Bolivia - no more Pinochets!" emergency rally in London on 13 November.
Violence inflicted against Bolivia’s indigenous people, who represent 65 percent of the population, “remains the same” as in 2008, he added.
Secretary General of the Organization of the American States, Luis Almagro played a major role by “issuing a report suggesting irregularities and recommending a second round”, he said.
But the Washington-based Centre for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) refuted these claims in a report, which revealed that no such irregularities or fraud had taken place, he noted.
US State Department Response to Violence in Bolivia
But a US Department of State spokesperson commended the OAS technical mission in November, for finding "numerous troubling irregularities" with Bolivia's October elections, adding that the US fully backed calls for a new Electoral Tribunal to ensure "free and fair elections" representing the "will of the Bolivian people".
"All government officials and officials of any political organisations" implied in the prior elections "step aside from the electoral process", and urged "everyone to refrain from violence" whilst Washington continued to work with its "international partners" to ensure that Bolivia's democracy "endures", the spokesperson said.
The US also looked forward to working with Áñez and Bolivia's "other civilian authorities" as they arranged "free and fair elections", Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael G. Kozak, said in a statement.
US president Donald Trump said in an 11 November statement that Morales' resignation was "a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere", adding his departure "preserves democracy and paves the way for thhe Bolivian people to have their voices heard".
Trump said at the time: "These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail.