Socialist Luis Arce Declares Victory in Bolivia Election

A year after the right-wing coup against Evo Morales, voters have given his finance minister a clear advantage over his two opponents, Jake Johnson reports.

Luis Arce Catacora, the newly elected president of Bolivia, in 2019. (Casa de América, Flickr)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

A year after former Bolivian president Evo Morales was ousted in a military coup that installed a brutal far-right regime, Morales ally Luis Arce declared victory in the South American nation’s high-stakes presidential election early Monday after exit polls showed the socialist candidate with a large advantage over his two main competitors.

“Democracy has won,” Arce, who served as Morales’ finance minister, said in an address to the nation after one exit poll showed him leading the race with 52.4 percent of the vote and former president Carlos Mesa in a distant second with 31.5 percent. Right-wing candidate Luis Camacho — an ally of unelected interim President Jeanine Añez — won just 14.1 percent  of the vote, according to the survey.

The Washington Post reported that “if the exit poll numbers are confirmed by the official count, which was being tabulated slowly late Sunday, it would be more than enough to avoid a November runoff and claim outright victory.”

Arce characterized his apparently decisive victory, which even Añez was forced to acknowledge, as a mandate to continue the policies of the Morales government, which lifted millions of Bolivians out of poverty and expanded the nation’s economy.

“I think the Bolivian people want to retake the path we were on,” Arce said Monday.

Twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday’s election was a do-over of last year’s presidential contest, which was thrown into chaos after the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) leveled baseless allegations of “fraud” by Morales, who was eventually forced to resign and flee the country under threat by Bolivia’s military.

The coup against Morales sparked a wave of Indigenous-led protests that were violently repressed by the Bolivian military and police forces, which were granted sweeping immunity from prosecution by the anti-Indigenous Añez government.

“The OAS allegations were indeed the main political foundation of the coup that followed the October 20 election three weeks later,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote last month. “But they provided no evidence to support these allegations—because there wasn’t any. This has since been established repeatedly by a slew of expert statistical studies.”

From exile in Argentina, Morales on Monday celebrated Arce’s apparent victory as a “great triumph of the people.”

“Brothers and sisters: the will of the people has been asserted,” Morales tweeted. “This is an overwhelming victory… We are going to give dignity and liberty back to the people.”

This article is from Common Dreams.

Please Contribute to Consortium News

Donate securely with


Click on ‘Return to PayPal’ here

Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:




10 comments for “Socialist Luis Arce Declares Victory in Bolivia Election

  1. October 20, 2020 at 03:28

    Indeed, the People’s way of resetting grievance’s, may create unheard-of and unbelievable alliances.
    As friends were divided , enemies become friends and allies in the future – with the goal of remaining independent, autonomous and sovereign nations and people.

    A page out of the book of Switzerland when, local notables pledged to form an alliance bringing together, the first three cantons. This charter united the so-called forest cantons against Habsburg rule.
    This type of unity was at the heart of the creation of the Confoederatio Helvetica, what is today’s Switzerland with 26-Cantons. We stand together in defence and mutual respect, but preserve our sovereignty in daily life. Thus, spoke the three representatives of three provinces under Habsburg’s tyranny in 1291, and the Swiss Confederacy was born 729 years ago.

    For the Bolivia indigenous people, Hope and light will prevail, the People, have the Power.

    Dr Frans B. Roos, PH.D., J.D.

  2. October 19, 2020 at 18:06

    Almost total blackout in corporate media….I wont be holding my breath that this guy will be permitted to be president. Watch for electoral skulduggery of the worst Washington type.

    • Tim
      October 20, 2020 at 10:53

      Indeed; winning an election is not the same thing as taking and holding office in the “rule-based international order”!

  3. Guy
    October 19, 2020 at 16:51

    The people have spoken and loudly .So glad to hear this news this morning .The resources of Bolivia will stay in Bolivian hands for the betterment of all the citizens.

  4. October 19, 2020 at 15:35

    I am sure as I write that the CIA is already in the process of setting up plan B with another coup.

    I think I read that after the last coup, the head of the military having received a large amount of money immediately retired to America so that he could spend it.

    Anybody know what he is doing now?

  5. Tobin Sterritt
    October 19, 2020 at 14:25

    I’m hoping this is solid, and that there is not a de-facto “soft” coup. This should be a rebuke of what was done last year. To put it very mildly.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    October 19, 2020 at 12:44

    “Brothers and sisters: the will of the people has been asserted,” Morales tweeted. “This is an overwhelming victory… We are going to give dignity and liberty back to the people.”

    Oooo, the US hates that, my precious.

  7. Buenos Suerte
    October 19, 2020 at 12:27

    Fantastic news!

    Check out The Guardian’s propaganda take on it though:


    “Morales being forced from the country by security forces in what his supporters call a racist, rightwing coup.”

    –so anyone who notes that it was an obvious coup supports Morales? If I declare that the Russian czars lost power in a coup, that means I support the Bolsheviks? If I observe that Ted Bundy murdered dozens of people, that means I’m a supporter of serial killing?

    “Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, tweeted:”

    –This is author’s voice, so as opposed to above there’s no “who guiado supporters call authoritarian”. It’s just casually stated as a fact, indisputable.

    Tom Phillips is skilled in this tiny little propaganda insertion, which isn’t all that noticeable, but is effective. He’s worse on Venezuela. But for some reason better on Brazil, which is why he’s a favorite Guardian “reporter” of Glenn Greenwald.

  8. October 19, 2020 at 12:25

    This seems like a good thing to me. I support the “will of the People” and it is so sad to have to state the obvious. Think about it.

    There always comes a time when the fog of confusion lifts and then there must be consequences if anything is going to change for the better. Don’t you think? There must be consequences.

    Bullies be dammed.

    But more importantly, let the truth be revealed, and let the peasants prevail.

  9. Anne
    October 19, 2020 at 12:01

    One can but hope that Arce can forward Morales’s program which put the lives of the indigenous, working classes and of Bolivia’s (the land) front and center. Anez represented (and is herself of) the invading Europeans who grabbed, and continue to do so, the lands and resources (no matter how detrimental to that land and the indigenous peoples ways of life)…that is, the bourgeoisie, as greed-ridden, “white” supremacists as such peoples are (mainly if not always specifically) throughout the Americas.

Comments are closed.