Luis Fernando Camacho arose from far-right movements in the Santa Cruz region, where the U.S. has encouraged separatism. He has courted support from Colombia, Brazil and the Venezuela coup regime, report Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton.
By Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton
When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden Nov. 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and indigenous leader had put forward.
With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.”
“Pachamama will never return to the palace,” he said, referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”
Bolivia’s extreme right-wing opposition had overthrown leftist President Evo Morales that day, following demands by the country’s military leadership that he step down.
Virtually unknown outside his country, where he had never won a democratic election, Camacho stepped into the void. He is a rich and powerful multi-millionaire named in the Panama Papers, and an ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist groomed by a fascist paramilitary notorious for its racist violence, with a base in Bolivia’s wealthy separatist region of Santa Cruz.
Camacho also hails from a family of corporate elites who have long profited from Bolivia’s plentiful natural gas reserves. And his family lost part of its wealth when Morales nationalized the nation’s resources, in order to fund his vast social programs — which cut poverty by 42 percent and extreme poverty by 60 percent.
In the lead-up to the coup, Camacho met with leaders from right-wing governments in the region to discuss their plans to destabilize Morales. Two months before the putsch, he tweeted gratitude: “Thank you Colombia! Thank you Venezuela!” he exclaimed, tipping his hat to Juan Guaido’s coup operation. He also recognized the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, declaring, “Thank you Brazil!”
Camacho had spent years leading an overtly fascist separatist organization. The Grayzone edited the following clips from a promotional historical documentary that the group posted on its own social media accounts:
The rich oligarch leader of Bolivia's right-wing coup, Luis Fernando Camacho, was the leader of an explicitly fascist paramilitary group.
Here are some clips from a promotional historical documentary it published:https://t.co/gFMyfjsi2p pic.twitter.com/XXNQfhD7ii
— The Grayzone (@GrayzoneProject) November 12, 2019
While Camacho and his far-right forces served as the muscle behind the coup, their political allies waited to reap the benefits.
The presidential candidate Bolivia’s opposition had fielded in the October election, Carlos Mesa, is a “pro-business” privatizer with extensive ties to Washington. U.S. government cables published by WikiLeaks reveal that he regularly corresponded with American officials in their efforts to destabilize Morales.
Mesa is currently listed as an expert at a D.C.-based think tank funded by the U.S. government’s soft-power arm USAID, various oil giants, and a host of multi-national corporations active in Latin America.
Evo Morales, a former farmer who rose to prominence in social movements before becoming the leader of the powerful grassroots political party Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), was Bolivia’s first indigenous leader. Wildly popular in the country’s substantial native and peasant communities, he won numerous elections and democratic referenda over a 13-year period, often in landslides.
On Oct. 20, Morales won re-election by more than 600,000 votes, giving him just above the 10 percent margin needed to defeat opposition presidential candidate Mesa in the first round.
Experts who did a statistical analysis of Bolivia’s publicly available voting data found no evidence of irregularities or fraud. But the opposition claimed otherwise, and took to the streets in weeks of protests and riots.
The events that precipitated the resignation of Morales were indisputably violent. Right-wing opposition gangs attacked numerous elected politicians from the ruling leftist MAS party. They then ransacked the home of Morales, while burning down the houses of several other top officials. The family members of some politicians were kidnapped and held hostage until they resigned. A female socialist mayor was publicly tortured by a mob.
The squalid US-backed fanatics of the Bolivian right ransack the house of the country’s elected president, Evo Morales. And the havoc is just beginning. Let no one call them “pro-democracy.” pic.twitter.com/rwwvOSAEaA
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 11, 2019
Following the forced departure of Morales, coup leaders arrested the president and vice president of the government’s electoral body, and forced the organization’s other officials to resign. Camacho’s followers proceeded to burn Wiphala flags that symbolized the country’s indigenous population and the plurinational vision of Morales.
The Organization of American States, a pro-U.S. organization founded by Washington during the Cold War as an alliance of right-wing anti-communist countries in Latin America, helped rubber stamp the Bolivian coup. It called for new elections, claiming there were numerous irregularities in the Oct. 20 vote, without citing any evidence. Then the OAS remained silent as Morales was overthrown by his military and his party’s officials were attacked and violently forced to resign.
The day after, the Donald Trump White House enthusiastically praised the coup, trumpeting it as a “significant moment for democracy,” and a “strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.”
Violent Far-Right Putsch
While Carlos Mesa timidly condemned the opposition’s violence, Camacho egged it on, ignoring calls for an international audit of the election and emphasizing his maximalist demand to purge all supporters of Morales from government. He was the true face of the opposition, concealed for months behind the moderate figure of Mesa.
A 40-year-old multi-millionaire businessman from the separatist stronghold of Santa Cruz, Camacho has never run for office. Like Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó, whom more than 80 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of until the U.S. government anointed him as supposed “president,” Camacho was an obscure figure until the coup attempt in Bolivia hit its stride.
He first created his Twitter account on May 27, 2019. For months, his tweets went ignored, generating no more than three or four retweets and likes. Before the election, Camacho did not have a Wikipedia article, and there were few media profiles on him in Spanish- or English-language media.
Camacho issued a call for a strike on July 9, posting videos on Twitter that got just over 20 views. The goal of the strike was to try to force the resignation of Bolivian government’s electoral organ the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). In other words, Camacho was pressuring the government’s electoral authorities to step down more than three months before the presidential election.
It was not until after the election that Camacho was thrust into the limelight and transformed into a celebrity by corporate media conglomerates like the local right-wing network Unitel, Telemundo, and CNN en Español.
All of a sudden, Camacho’s tweets calling for Morales to resign were lighting up with thousands of retweets. The coup machinery had been activated.
Mainstream outlets including The New York Times and Reuters followed by anointing the unelected Camacho as the “leader” of Bolivia’s opposition. But even as he lapped up international attention, key portions of the far-right activist’s background were omitted.
Left unmentioned were Camacho’s deep and well-established connections to Christian extremist paramilitaries notorious for racist violence and local business cartels, as well as the right-wing governments across the region.
It was in the fascist paramilitaries and separatist atmosphere of Santa Cruz where Camacho’s politics were formed, and where the ideological contours of the coup had been defined.
Cadre of a Francoist-Style Paramilitary
Luis Fernando Camacho was groomed by the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista, or Santa Cruz Youth Union (UJC), a fascist paramilitary organization that has been linked to assassination plots against Morales. The group is notorious for assaulting leftists, indigenous peasants, and journalists, all while espousing a deeply racist, homophobic ideology.
Since Morales entered office in 2006, the UJC has campaigned to separate from a country its members believed had been overtaken by a Satanic indigenous mass.
The UJC is the Bolivian equivalent of Spain’s Falange, India’s Hindu supremacist RSS, and Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion. Its symbol is a green cross that bears strong similarities to logos of fascist movements across the West.
And its members are known to launch into Nazi-style sieg heil salutes.
Here is another video posted by Bolivia's fascist opposition Santa Cruz Youth Union.
Coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho @LuisFerCamachoV previously helped lead this sieg-heiling group.
These are the people who overthrew elected President Evo Morales. https://t.co/gFMyfjsi2p pic.twitter.com/GvvMfL21UZ
— The Grayzone (@GrayzoneProject) November 12, 2019
Even the U.S. embassy in Bolivia has described UJC members as “racist” and “militant,” noting that they “have frequently attacked pro-MAS/government people and installations.”
After journalist Benjamin Dangl visited with UJC members in 2007, he described them as the “brass knuckles” of the Santa Cruz separatist movement. “The Unión Juvenil has been known to beat and whip campesinos marching for gas nationalization, throw rocks at students organizing against autonomy, toss molotov cocktails at the state television station, and brutally assault members of the landless movement struggling against land monopolies,” Dangl wrote.
“When we have to defend our culture by force, we will,” a UJC leader told Dangl. “The defense of liberty is more important than life.”
Armed Members of the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista
Camacho was elected as vice president of the UJC in 2002, when he was just 23 years old. He left the organization two years later to build his family’s business empire and rise through the ranks of the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee. It was in that organization that he was taken under the wing of one of the separatist movement’s most powerful figures, a Bolivian-Croatian oligarch named Branko Marinkovic.
In August, Camacho tweeted a photo with his “great friend,” Marinkovic. This friendship was crucial to establishing the rightist activist’s credentials and forging the basis of the coup that would take form three months later.
Hoy cumple años un gran líder cruceño y expresidente del Comité pro Santa Cruz pero todo un gran amigo, Branko Marinkovic, quien entregó todo, su libertad y su vida, por su pueblo. pic.twitter.com/uVzNrgH2pI
— Luis Fernando Camacho (@LuisFerCamachoV) August 21, 2019
Camacho’s Croatian Godfather & Separatist Powerbroker
Branko Marinkovic is a major landowner who ramped up his support for the right-wing opposition after some of his land was nationalized by the Evo Morales government. As chairman of the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee, he oversaw the operations of the main engine of separatism in Bolivia.
In a 2008 letter to Marinkovic, the International Federation for Human Rights denounced the committee as an “actor and promoter of racism and violence in Bolivia.”
The human rights group added that it “condemn[ed] the attitude and secessionist, unionist and racist discourses as well as the calls for military disobedience of which the Pro-Santa Cruz Civic Committee for is one of the main promoters.”
In 2013, journalist Matt Kennard reported that the U.S. government was working closely with the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee to encourage the balkanization of Bolivia and to undermine Morales. “What they [the US] put across was how they could strengthen channels of communication,” the vice president of the committee told Kennard. “The embassy said that they would help us in our communication work and they have a series of publications where they were putting forward their ideas.”
In a 2008 profile on Marinkovic, The New York Times acknowledged the extremist undercurrents of the Santa Cruz separatist movement the oligarch presided over. It described the area as “a bastion of openly xenophobic groups like the Bolivian Socialist Falange, whose hand-in-air salute draws inspiration from the fascist Falange of the former Spanish dictator Franco.”
The Bolivian Socialist Falange was a fascist group that provided safe haven to Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie during the Cold War. A former Gestapo torture expert, Barbie was repurposed by the CIA through its Operation Condor program to help exterminate communism across the continent. (Despite its antiquated name, like the German National Socialists, this far-right extremist group was violently anti-leftist, committed to killing socialists.)
The Bolivian Falange came into power in 1971 when its leader, Gen. Hugo Banzer Suarez, ousted the leftist government of Gen. Juan Jose Torres Gonzales. The government of Gonzales had infuriated business leaders by nationalizing industries and antagonized Washington by ousting the Peace Corps, which it viewed as an instrument of CIA penetration. The Nixon administration immediately welcomed Banzer with open arms and courted him as a key bulwark against the spread of socialism in the region. (An especially ironic 1973 dispatch appears on WikiLeaks showing Secretary of State Henry Kissinger thanking Banzer for congratulating him on his Nobel Peace Prize).
The movement’s putschist legacy persevered during the Morales era through organizations like the UJC and figures such as Marinkovic and Camacho.
The Times noted that Marinkovic also supported the activities of the UJC, describing the fascist group as “a quasi-independent arm of the committee led by Mr. Marinkovic.” A member of the UJC board told the U.S. newspaper of record in an interview, “We will protect Branko with our own lives.”
Marinkovic has espoused the kind of Christian nationalist rhetoric familiar to the far-right organizations of Santa Cruz, calling, for instance, for a “crusade for the truth” and insisting that God is on his side.
The oligarch’s family hails from Croatia, where he has dual citizenship. Marinkovic has long been dogged by rumors that his family members were involved in the country’s powerful fascist Ustashe movement.
The Ustashe collaborated openly with Nazi German occupiers during World War Two. Their successors returned to power after Croatia declared independence from the former Yugoslavia – a former socialist country that was intentionally balkanized in a NATO war, much in the same way that Marinkovic hoped Bolivia would be.
Marinkovic denies that his family was part of the Ustashe. He claimed in an interview with The New York Times that his father fought against the Nazis.
But even some of his sympathizers are skeptical. A Balkan analyst from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, which works closely with the U.S. government and is popularly known as the “shadow CIA,” produced a rough background profile on Marinkovic, speculating, “Still don’t know his full story, but I would bet a lot of $$$ that this dude’s parents are 1st gen (his name is too Slavic) and that they were Ustashe (read: Nazi) sympathizers fleeing Tito’s Communists after WWI.”
The Stratfor analyst excerpted a 2006 article by journalist Christian Parenti, who had visited Marinkovic at his ranch in Santa Cruz. Evo Morales’ “land reform could lead to civil war,” Marinkovic warned Parenti in the Texas-accented English he picked up while studying at the University of Texas, Houston.
Today, Marinkovic is an ardent supporter of Brazil’s far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, whose only complaint about Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was that he “didn’t kill enough.”
Marinkovic is also a public admirer of Venezuela’s far-right opposition. “Todos somos Leopoldo” — “we are all Leopoldo,” he tweeted in support of Leopoldo López, who has been involved in numerous coup attempts against Venezuela’s elected leftist government.
While Marinkovic denied any role in armed militant activity in his interview with Parenti, he was accused in 2008 of playing a central role in an attempt to assassinate Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism party allies.
He told The New York Times less than two years before the plot developed, “If there is no legitimate international mediation in our crisis, there is going to be confrontation. And unfortunately, it is going to be bloody and painful for all Bolivians.”
An Assassination Plot & Links to International Fascists
In April 2009, a special unit of the Bolivian security services barged into a luxury hotel room and cut down three men who were said to be involved in a plot to kill Evo Morales. Two others remained on the loose. Four of the alleged conspirators had Hungarian or Croatian roots and ties to rightist politics in eastern Europe, while another was a right-wing Irishman, Michael Dwyer, who had only arrived in Santa Cruz six months before.
The ringleader of the group was said to be a former leftist journalist named Eduardo Rosza-Flores who had turned to fascism and belonged to Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic cult that emerged under the dictatorship of Spain’s Francisco Franco. In fact, the codename Rosza-Flores assumed in the assassination plot was “Franco,” after the late Generalissimo.
During the 1990s, Rosza fought on behalf of the Croatian First International Platoon, or the PIV, in the war to separate from Yugoslavia. A Croatian journalist told Time that the “PIV was a notorious group: 95% of them had criminal histories, many were part of Nazi and fascist groups, from Germany to Ireland.”
By 2009, Rosza returned home to Bolivia to crusade on behalf of another separatist movement in Santa Cruz. And it was there that he was killed in a luxury hotel with no apparent source of income and a massive stockpile of guns.
The government later released photos of Rosza and a co-conspirator posing with their weapons. Publication of emails between the ringleader and Istvan Belovai, a former Hungarian military intelligence officer who served as a double agent for the CIA, cemented the perception that Washington had a hand in the operation.
Marinkovic was subsequently charged with providing $200,000 to the plotters. The Bolivian-Croatian oligarch initially fled to the United States, where he was given asylum, then relocated to Brazil, where he lives today. He denied any involvement in the plan to kill Morales.
As journalist Matt Kennard reported, there was another thread that tied the plot to the U.S.: the alleged participation of an NGO leader named Hugo Achá Melgar.
“Rozsa didn’t come here by himself, they brought him,” the Bolivian government’s lead investigator told Kennard. “Hugo Achá Melgar brought him.”
Achá was not just the head of any run-of-the-mill NGO. He had founded the Bolivian subsidiary of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), an international right-wing outfit that is known for hosting a “school for revolution” for activists seeking regime change in states targeted by the U.S. government.
The Human Rights Foundation Destabilizes Bolivia
HRF is run by Thor Halvorssen Jr., the son of the late Venezuelan oligarch and CIA asset Thor Halvorssen Hellum. The first cousin of the veteran Venezuelan coup plotter Leopoldo Lopez, Halvorssen was a former college Republican activist who crusaded against political correctness and other familiar right-wing hobgoblins.
After a brief career as a firebrand right-wing film producer, in which he oversaw a scandalous “anti-environmentalist” documentary financed by a mining corporation, Halvorssen rebranded as a promoter of liberalism and the enemy of global authoritarianism. He launched the HRF with grants from right-wing billionaires like Peter Thiel, conservative foundations, and NGOs including Amnesty International. The group has since been at the forefront of training activists for insurrectionary activity from Hong Kong to the Middle East to Latin America.
Though Achá was granted asylum in the U.S., the HRF has continued pushing regime change in Bolivia. As Wyatt Reed reported for The Grayzone, HRF “freedom fellow” Jhanisse Vaca Daza helped trigger the initial stage of the coup by blaming Morales for the Amazon fires that consumed parts of Bolivia in August, mobilizing international protests against him.
At the time, Daza posed as an “environmental activist” and student of non-violence who articulated her concerns in moderate-seeming calls for more international aid to Bolivia. Through her NGO, Rios de Pie, she helped launch the #SOSBolivia hashtag, which signaled the imminent foreign-backed regime-change operation.
Courting Regional Right, Prepping the Coup
While HRF’s Daza rallied protests outside Bolivian embassies in Europe and the U.S., Fernando Camacho remained behind the scenes, lobbying right-wing governments in the region to bless the coming coup.
In May, Camacho met with Colombia’s far-right President Ivan Duque. Camacho was helping to spearhead regional efforts at undermining the legitimacy of Evo Morales’ presidency at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, seeking to block his candidacy in the October election.
That same month, the rightist Bolivian agitator also met with Ernesto Araújo, the chancellor of Jair Bolsonaro’s ultra-conservative administration in Brazil. Through the meeting, Camacho successfully secured Bolsonaro’s backing for regime change in Bolivia.
This Nov. 10, Araújo enthusiastically endorsed the ouster of Morales, declaring that “Brazil will support the democratic and constitutional transition” in the country.
In August, two months before Bolivia’s presidential election, Camacho held court with officials from Venezuela’s U.S.-appointed coup regime. These included Gustavo Tarre, Guaido’s faux Venezuelan OAS ambassador, who formerly worked at the right-wing Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington.
After the meeting, Camacho tweeted gratitude to the Venezuelan coup-mongers, as well as to Colombia and Brazil.
No vamos a parar hasta tener una democracia real! Seguimos avanzando!
Vamos sumando apoyo… ahora lo hace Venezuela…Gracias a Dios.. hay esperanza!
Gracias Brasil! pic.twitter.com/v9TQ2Fi2Sa
— Luis Fernando Camacho (@LuisFerCamachoV) August 27, 2019
Mesa & Camacho: Marriage of Capitalist Convenience
Back in Bolivia, Carlos Mesa occupied the spotlight as the opposition’s presidential candidate.
His erudite image and centrist policy proposals put him in a seemingly alternate political universe from fire-breathing rightists like Camacho and Marinkovic. For them, he was a convenient front man and acceptable candidate who promised to defend their economic interests.
“It might be that he is not my favorite, but I’m going to vote for him, because I don’t want Evo,” Marinkovic told a right-wing Argentine newspaper five days before the election.
Indeed, it was Camacho’s practical financial interests that appeared to have necessitated his support for Mesa.
The Camacho family has formed a natural gas cartel in Santa Cruz. As the Bolivian outlet Primera Linea reported, Luis Fernando Camacho’s father, Jose Luis, was the owner of a company called Sergas that distributed gas in the city; his uncle, Enrique, controlled Socre, the company that ran the local gas production facilities; and his cousin, Cristian, controls another local gas distributor called Controgas.
According to Primera Linea, the Camacho family was using the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee as a political weapon to install Carlos Mesa into power and ensure the restoration of their business empire.
Mesa has a well-documented history of advancing the goals of transnational companies at the expense of his own country’s population. The neoliberal politician and media personality served as vice president when the U.S.-backed President Gonzalo “Goni” Sanchez de Lozada provoked mass protests with his 2003 plan to allow a consortium of multinational corporations to export the country’s natural gas to the U.S. through a Chilean port.
Bolivia’s U.S.-trained security forces met the ferocious protests with brutal repression. After presiding over the killing of 70 unarmed protesters, Sanchez de Lozada fled to Miami and was succeeded by Mesa.
By 2005, Mesa was also ousted by huge demonstrations spurred by his protection of privatized natural gas companies. With his demise, the election of Morales and the rise of the socialist and rural Indigenous movements behind him were just beyond the horizon.
U.S. government cables released by WikiLeaks show that, after his ouster, Mesa continued regular correspondence with American officials. A 2008 memo from the U.S. embassy in Bolivia revealed that Washington was conspiring with opposition politicians in the lead-up to the 2009 presidential election, hoping to undermine and ultimately unseat Morales.
The memo noted that Mesa had met with the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. embassy, and had privately told them he planned to run for president. The cable recalled: “Mesa told us his party will be ideologically similar to a social democratic party and that he hoped to strengthen ties with the Democratic party. ‘We have nothing against the Republican party, and have in fact gotten support from IRI (International Republican Institute) in the past, but we think we share more ideology with the Democrats,’ he added.”
Today, Mesa serves as an in-house “expert” at the Inter-American Dialogue, a neoliberal Washington-based think tank focused on Latin America. One of the Dialogue’s top donors is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department subsidiary that was exposed in classified diplomatic cables published on WikiLeaks for strategically directing millions of dollars to opposition groups including those “opposed to Evo Morales’ vision for indigenous communities.”
Other top funders of the Dialogue include oil titans like Chevron and ExxonMobil; Bechtel, which inspired the initial protests against the administration in which Mesa served; the Inter-American Development Bank, which has forcefully opposed Morales’ socialist-oriented policies; and the Organization of American States (OAS), which helped delegitimize the Morales’s re-election victory with dubious claims of irregular vote counts.
Finishing the Job
When Carlos Mesa touched off nationwide protests in October by accusing the Evo Morales government of committing electoral fraud, the right-wing firebrand hailed by his followers as “Macho Camacho” emerged from the shadows. Behind him was the hardcore separatist shock force that he led in Santa Cruz.
Mesa faded into the distance as Camacho emerged as the authentic face of the coup, rallying his forces with the uncompromising rhetoric and fascist symbology that defined the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista paramilitary.
As he declared victory over Morales, Camacho exhorted his followers to “finish the job, let’s get the elections going, let’s start judging the government criminals, let’s put them in jail.”
Back in Washington, meanwhile, the Trump administration released an official statement celebrating Bolivia’s coup, declaring that “Morales’s departure preserves democracy.”
This article originally appeared on The Grayzone.
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling “Republican Gomorrah,” “Goliath,” “The Fifty One Day War” and “The Management of Savagery.” He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including “Killing Gaza” and “Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.” Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.
Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the “Moderate Rebels podcast,” which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.
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As for what government form the Bolivian populace must live either under it or within it, and there is little room but for conformist within it.
First off lets make it clear there is only one Nation south of US and Canada( Canada is far more of Britain than Canadians proper), not just under control of but totally dominated by Foreign Financial Interest, and that is Venezuela.
Although Venezuela’s economy is now dependent upon China and Russia, those two nations do not interfere in Domestic politics, that is left to the Venezuelan people.
Not so in rest of Southern nations where those who rule only rule by permission of foreign military/political and financial interest.
In those nations are found the partnership of Elites with foreign entities, but there is a very large % of populace who share in such financial arrangements, the Governments bureaucratic employees.
We oft hear of vast seperation of wealth between an oligarchal, usually old lineage of European detentency, and the poor, but one of most critical elements of economic seperation due to wealth and access to it are the bureaucrats themselves whose gap over poors as great if not greater than gap between them and those in power they serve.
Agents within State agencies are used to enforce economic reforms that largely come from outside investors by international financial conglomerates, World Bank and World Trade Organizations, all at cost not of government agencies pockets but by productivity of the poor laborers.
Whereby the laborers are paid as least expensive means to extract and export their nations resources with but survivability wages.
A man is only worth what wages he sells himself for and it is left up to them, in Bolivia to decide to take or refuse such wages.
We, as in the commons, outside of Bolivia cannot decide for them, we are too heavily invested in that outside investment groups success and will not chance on losing our investment by interfereing.
I remember when Chavez bought 100,000 sniper rifles from Russia and the US Dept. of State asked the rhetorical question , ” who was Chavez planning on using the rifles against.” That questio was answered in Bolivia this week. Those rifles and the 2, million trained militia in Venezuela is the only reason Maduro is still President and the US has not invaded. Morales, Allende and the other socialist leaders who have come to greif by the hand of the CIA, in South America need to learn from Castro and Chavez. They knew how to protect their countries from The USA. You can`t negotiate with the right wing nazies, and so long as you allow them to roam free in your country you and the country is in danger.
Sure, if you are going to strip the people of their assets and redistribute to The Party and its supporters you are going to need GUNS to keep people from defending themselves. Lenin and Mao were pretty clear on this.
Morales made a mistake. He should have handed off rather than run for a fourth term. He should not have meddled with the vote to get away with it either.
Still, that does not justify the right wing grabbing the opportunity of a mistake to leap in and wreck Bolivia. They mean to do what the US did in Chile with Pinochet. That is a failed idea. It can only cause suffering among vast numbers of innocents.
There is simply no evidence that Morales “meddled with the vote.” In saying this you are merely repeating OAS propaganda.
From the CEPR website (link provided in this article where it says “no evidence of irregularities or fraud):
“There is simply no statistical or evidentiary basis to dispute the vote count results showing that Evo Morales won in the first round,” CEPR Senior Policy Analyst, and coauthor of the paper, Guillaume Long said.
“Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR, noted that it was very unusual, and highly questionable, for the OAS to issue a press statement questioning election results without providing any evidence for doing so. He noted that the OAS preliminary report on the election also provided no evidence that anything was wrong with the vote count.
“The OAS press statement of October 21 and its preliminary report on the Bolivian elections raise disturbing questions about the organization’s commitment to impartial, professional, electoral observation,” said Weisbrot. “The OAS should investigate to find out how such statements, which may have contributed to political conflict in Bolivia, were made without any evidence whatsoever.”
Perhaps, he shouldn’t have wanted another term, but, I imagine, he had more improvements in mind. In any case, he didn’t ” meddle with the vote.” That’s an unfounded charge from the OAS.
If Morales had handed off to someone else (like Lula did) I’m not confident that would have changed this outcome. But you raise a valid issue that is being ignored and framed by most of the “left” coverage, which is how undemocratic and authoritarian Morales and MAS became.
When Morales lost the referendum in 2016 by a narrow margin, the country voted not to have him run again. So a year later when he got the court to change the constitution he showed the whole country that he could get around their vote. There were other fractures within MAS so we see workers from Potosi volunteering to protest against the gov’t, same with coca workers. Socialists viewed MAS as capitalism that included focus on the poor but remained dependent on extraction. There’s a strong racial/religious/class issue as the indigenous have the power and are doing a good job running the economy.
I am concerned about our alternative press’s need to polarize a complex situation into the white vs black hats and demonize the faction of the opposition who see this as the necessary step to regain democracy.
When I’ve visited Bolivia I noticed an appreciable change in attitude about Morales since 2016. We are not perfect people and we don’t create perfect organizations. I remain shocked and grieve for all the people of Bolivia.
“Meddled with the vote…”
That is worse than specious. Baseless. As opposed to Hernandez in Honduras?
You’re planting the seed of a lie and then go “Still, that does not justify…..”
You’re playing head games with this. Why?
Everything looked good (to us). Everything looked on the up and up (to us). But all the time informed readers must have been asking themselves Wonder what the dude’s really up against? Now we know. We know better thanks to this article and the one out there by Vijay Prashad.
Well, there was Stevens, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Alito. For some reason it was only four of’em who held that “counting only those legal votes that happen to be easily tabulated by mechanical equipment to fulfill an unnecessary time limit for vote certification is the very definition of arbitrary and disparate treatment” (or held to some variant of this take?). What was the reason? The reason IMO was that the five who purported this wasn’t so…were countering willy nilly what they saw as a net-danger-to-the-nation, or…decided to comply with groups who did see such a danger (in Al Gore of all people). You could say that was their agenda. Government officials, it ends up, have all kinds of agendas. All of us have to decide individually and in our own minds which ones, all of’em we’re aware of, were or are reasonable. Evo Morales evidently perceived his nation up against a danger that justified going to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (for an amendment to allow him another term). With hindsight, to me his agenda at that time seems likely a heck of a lot more rationally grounded than the agenda evidenced by, say, the Bush v Gore decision.
Agree with the rest.
CEPR is not a neutral judge. They have an ideological investment in Morales which clouds their “judgements”
No one concerned about the Human Rights complaints about Bolivia, such as child labor and 2/3rds being held in jail without trials. I wonder how others are feeling about the way Morales got around term limits by his judges saying to enforce the law regarding term limits would violate the “human rights” of Morales. I don’t know how the new government will be any worse than what Morales has brought the country to.
Sickening. I fear that a bloodbath of epic proportions is already well underway as journalist flee for their very lives.
This is my fear too! So sad to see that after so many years and decades, policies that improve the lives of very impoverished peoples will never have a chance in a continent whose biggest mistake is to be so close to the U.S.
Thor Halvorssen Mendoza was here in Canada a few years back lobbying our government to pass legislation founded on the fraudulent “Magnitsky” myth – a construction of career conman, convicted tax-evader + fraudster, Bill Browder and cohorts incl. America’s Jonathan Winer and Canada’s Irwin Cotler.
Thor’s Magnitsky pitch was echoed by Cotler, Garry Kasparov and such propagandists. These characters are as obvious as they are odious.
Bill Browder is still on UK radio telling his story, yet he has enough power to stop ANY showing of the film to anyone, anywhere, making quite clear the whole fake episode involving his “lawyer”, Magnitsky and him in Russia. “The Magnitsky Act,-Behind the Scenes” could be seen online and elsewhere before this year, but suddenly disappeared. Perhaps the news about the fascists in Bolivia will also be withheld from most of us. Let us read and publicise Max and Ben’s article immediately, and disperse it as widely as possible.
The OAS deserves a lot of blame for this situation. It was their reports claiming unspecified “irregularities” which permitted the opposition to portray their complaints as more than sour grapes, and give a veneer of legitimacy to the notion of a less than fair election. Unspecified “irregularities” became “vote rigging” became “electoral fraud”, even as a) there is no dispute Morales legitimately received the plurality of votes in comparatively decisive numbers b) the alleged irregularities concerned a secondary tabulation process which was not official or binding. c) there was no delay or halt to the official binding tabulation. (very terrible incomplete reporting on this by MSM, as usual). But the OAS stepping in to effectively politicize vote tabulation must be called out.