NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

The Times only covered the problems with the OAS analysis after a study from three independent researchers found flawed data and analysis.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales in 2008. (Joel Alvarez, Wikimedia Commons)

By Eoin Higgins
Common Dreams

More than seven months after claims of fraudulent elections sparked an undemocratic coup that led to the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales, The New York Times late Sunday reported on new research showing the U.S.-led Organization of American States used flawed data and analysis to support its widely cited contention the voting was rigged.

“It was clear from the start, but now even the NYT is admitting: what happened in Bolivia was nothing short of a coup by the U.S. and its OAS puppet, deposing one of the most successful democratically elected leaders in modern Latin American history,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald in response to the Times reporting.

As Common Dreams reported in November, U.S. officials cited the OAS report on the election as a justification for backing the coup that deposed Morales, the left-wing Indigenous former president.

Despite reporting from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) casting doubt on those claims within 24 hours of the OAS making them, the Times only covered the problems with the U.S.-dominated organization’s analysis after a study (pdf) from three independent researchers found the same results. 

As the Times reported Monday:

The authors of the new study said they were unable to replicate the O.A.S.’s findings using its likely techniques. They said a sudden change in the trend appeared only when they excluded results from the manually processed, late-reporting polling booths.

This suggests that the organization used an incorrect data set to reach its conclusion, the researchers said. The difference is significant: the 1,500 excluded late-reporting booths account for the bulk of the final votes that the O.A.S. statistical analysis claims are suspicious.

In a statement, CEPR research associate Jake Johnston said that the OAS “continued to repeat its false assertions for many months with little to no pushback or accountability” despite his organization’s finding to the contrary.

“For those paying close attention to the 2019 election, there was never any doubt that the OAS’ claims of fraud were bogus,” said Johnston. 

Since the coup, the human rights situation in the Latin American country has gone from bad to worse as the government of far-right interim president Jeanine Áñez has rolled back reforms put in place by Morales, opened the country’s resources to private exploitation, and delayed scheduled elections under the pretext of public health due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

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“The OAS bears responsibility for the significant deterioration of the human rights situation in Bolivia since Morales’ ouster,” said CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot.

Weisbrot warned that if the OAS and its leadership is “allowed to get away with such politically driven falsification of their electoral observation results again, this threatens not only Bolivian democracy but the democracy of any country where the OAS may be involved in elections in the future.”

Eoin Higgins is senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @EoinHiggins_

This article is from Common Dreams.

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7 comments for “NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

  1. June 13, 2020 at 17:30

    The Talking Heads song ‘Same As It Ever Was’ keeps coming up in my head. Am I the only one?

    Sam F: one year I bought a bunch of used copies of Gen. Smedley Butler’s little 1935 book to give away as Winter Solstice presents. Some people that I gave them to even read them, and the discussions got deeper and broader with those friends and family.

    So based on that book I’m thinking the US Wealthy Class had democracy suppression down long before the US imported Nazis spy/intelligence/assassination officers after WWII as teachers even more expert than Smedley was all by his lonesome… The technology is so much better now but still, in the end, it seems that killing people is what is comes down to.
    Mark Stanley: I have to agree with you about the women having gone as batshit as the men but then we only see the worst ones of both sexes; the wealthy, the power-hungry, the sociopath and psychopath personalities that rise up in the toilet bowl. DeVos, Hillary, Madeline Albright, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleeza Rice, what’s that Homeland Gestapo deposed director’s name…on and on the list goes. And grows.

    There really are good people of both sex out there, though. I’ve even met a few…
    And we all know that the NY Times has been owned and operated by who for the benefit of who, so does any of us really expect to read un-fragmented reality in its pages or mostly steaming neoliberal crap? Or in the Bezos political mouthpiece WaPO for that matter, and so many others…

    Big sigh. Same as it ever was pretty much sucks.


  2. Susan
    June 12, 2020 at 08:33

    We all know the USA is the bully in the room so why do we keep lying to ourselves as a collective society?

  3. Jeff Harrison
    June 11, 2020 at 13:32

    The US has been fomenting coups all over S. America – Venezuela several times, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina (briefly), and Brazil. Now we have proof of Bolivia. When is S. America and the World going to start paying attention to American behavior?

  4. Sam F
    June 11, 2020 at 08:11

    The US has perfected democracy suppression since WWII, by war and corruption of democratic institutions.

    Although Dem leaders do much the same now, Repub leaders claim that a republic is Not a democracy because:
    1. Aristotle’s Politics described democracies as small city-states with direct votes on policy, and called representative democracies republics. But that distinction is meaningless now that all democracies are representative.
    2. Plato’s Republic describes a republic as led by persons educated or self-appointed as most qualified to lead. But that distinction suits tyrants, as they believe or claim themselves most qualified, and is always the claim of the corrupt.

    Unless prevented by institutions that do not exist, it is the bullies and manipulators who rise to tyrannize a democracy.
    The problem is selecting intelligent humanitarians to select the leaders. Intelligence can be measured or estimated, but everyone claims to be humanitarian, and joins or allies with whatever church, tribe, or party claims that of its members.

    Long periods of risk, misery, and labor for noble causes, without hope of future financial reward, with little positive social feedback, may show humanitarian values internalized, not to be willfully violated. That is hard to find, especially coupled with strong diverse policy knowledge and an electable personality, but the DemReps don’t even look for it. They are marketing operatives of the corrupt rich and big business, who need only puppets with electable personalities.

    • Mark Stanley
      June 12, 2020 at 10:49

      Perhaps someone knows more about this than I, but I heard that in the Algonquin Federation there were councils of women that would help select a chief. In a society where the strong warrior was praised, this was an effort to select as wise leader, but not necessarily the most aggressive. How successivful that was is unclear. I’m certainly not suggesting that today, since our female leaders, like Pelosi are just as bat-crazy as the men.
      Another power the Algonquin women had was the control of the food supply. If they thought the young men shouldn’t go on some crazy war raid, the gals would refuse to supply them.
      Perhaps we should try that today?

    • dean 1000
      June 12, 2020 at 18:22

      Sorry Sam F, a republic is not a democracy. Doesn’t matter that Aristotle or Republican leaders try to redefine democracy. In fact the republicans I know make the right distinction between a republic and a democracy. Aristotle can call meatloaf a steak dinner if he wants. The diner will know the difference. So should you. The people at ancient Athens adopted democracy ( the people make the laws, or at least approve them before they take effect) because they were tired of the corrupt republic they had. There are two kinds of republic -aristocratic and democratic. The money power usually corrupts democratic republics. Italy is the only republic that defines itself as a democratic republic. They did it after they got rid of Mussolini.

      Why didn’t the OAS and the US call for a recount? Because they knew their shitty candidate lose a recount. South American countries can foil coup plotters by projecting the ballots on a wall or screen as they are counted. So the public can count along with the official counters. Everyone will then know who won the election.

  5. Jeff Harrison
    June 11, 2020 at 00:39

    Breaking News!!! The US foments yet ANOTHER coup, this time in Bolivia. Added to the coups we executed (or tried to execute, sometimes several times) in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and for a short time, Argentina. And we haven’t even gotten to Central America. You’d think these guys would break the code that the US is toxic to democracy. And always ready to help an oligarchy.

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