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Audios Containing Details of Alleged Coup Plan & US Involvement Emerge Amid Bolivian Crisis – Report

Sputnik – November 11, 2019

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation on 10 November after the heads of Bolivia’s armed forces and police urged him to step down amid ongoing violent protest in the country which erupted in the wake of the recent presidential election.

As Evo Morales stepped down as the President of Bolivia amid ongoing anti-government protests and the military urging him to resign, a series of audio recordings which allegedly feature opposition leaders calling for a coup against him were leaked via social media, El Periodico reports.

According to the media outlet, efforts aimed at destabilising Bolivia were to be coordinated from the US embassy, with one of the tapes allegedly mentioning that US senators Ted Cruz, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio were committed to this agenda.

The plan outlined by the audios called for establishing a “civil-military transitional government” if Morales were to win the 20 October presidential election, which he did, and to not recognise his victory, citing alleged electoral fraud.

The opposition leaders featured in the recordings also allegedly called for a general strike across the country, to burn structures affiliated with the “government party” and to attack the Cuban embassy.

On 10 November, Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned after the national armed forces sided with demonstrators who opposed his serving a fourth term. The protests erupted after international observers found “grave irregularities” in the 20 October election.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | 4 Comments

Ex-Ecuador leader Correa: Bolivia’s Morales was forced out in ‘coup’, OAS is ‘an instrument of US domination’

RT | November 11, 2019

Former leader of Ecuador Rafael Correa said the resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales was the result of a coup d’etat and that events could have ended in worse violence, if the socialist leader had not resigned.

“Of course there was a coup d’etat,” Correa told RT Spanish in an exclusive interview on Monday, explaining that such an insubordination of the country’s armed forces “cannot exist in a constitutional state of law” or democracy. “If Evo Morales did not resign, there would have been a bloodbath because there was no public order,” he said.

Morales resigned on Sunday at the demands of Bolivia’s military chief, following weeks of protests and only hours after he had promised fresh elections. Morales previously proclaimed he had won the October 20 general election with a 10-point lead, a result which was quickly contested by the opposition, who accused him of tampering with the vote.

There can be no true democracy until the arbitrators are the citizens and “not the uniformed,” Correa said, adding that he would not be surprised if there were foreign forces behind the efforts to oust Morales.

Correa said that the Organization of American States (OAS), which encouraged Morales to call for new elections, did not condemn events in socialist Bolivia because democracy is only valid when it serves the interests of the right.

“You can see the double standards that exist in all this. For the right, democracy is valid as long as it meets its interests,” Correa said. When those interests stop being fulfilled, suddenly democracy is not enough and “the situation must be changed to blood and fire, as we are seeing in Bolivia.”

Correa said the Bolivian people have experienced dignity and prosperity under Morales’ leadership and that after recent events, people across Latin America will soon be convinced that the OAS is “useless” and nothing but “an instrument of US domination.”

He said that the OAS wants elections in Bolivia but only without Morales because they know that he was democratically elected by the people already. “They have just forcibly removed a president who has won the election widely, with more than 10 points,” he said, insisting that Morales is the rightful leader of Bolivia.

Morales called for new elections on Sunday with the aim of “seeking peace” in Bolivia — yet the opposition would not accept Morales’ participation in the new elections and urged protesters to continue mobilizing in the streets until he resigned. On Twitter, Morales said the coup attempt “destroys the rule of law.”

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

‘Morales’ resignation undermines claims he is dictator, US may be behind push to oust him’

RT | November 10, 2019

Washington has played a hand in the resignation of Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, human and labour rights lawyer Dan Kovalik told RT. The US has been stirring unrest for years with millions of dollars in democratic aid, he said.

“I think this is a bad thing that’s happened and I see the hands of the US behind it,” Kovalik said, adding that there has been “evidence released of conversation between the White House and opposition leaders,” indicating that anti-Morales protests might have been a “coordinated” campaign.

“And we know that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been spending millions of dollars in Bolivia for years trying to undermine Evo Morales.”

A CIA offshoot of sorts, the NED channeled nearly $1 million into the South American country in democracy promoting aid in 2018 alone. A huge chunk of the funds was used by International Republican Institute (IRI), in charge of promoting a right-wing agenda.

Kovalik said that more proof of the US involvement in the Bolivian turmoil is bound to come out with time.

Morales’ decision to resign rather than cling to power while risking lives of his supporters, who turn out for mass rallies in his name, “undermines the claims that he is some sort of a dictator,” Kovalik said.

“That shows a lot about who he is. That shows that Morales cares about his own country… he’s shown himself to have the well-being of his own people at heart.”

Noting that Morales, first indigenous leader in the history of his country, has vastly improved the living standard for regular people and the indigenous population, Kovalik argued that his departure might spell trouble for the South American country.

Kovalik believes that while right-wing parties might try to capitalize on Morales’s resignation, they do lack grassroots support.

“I’m not sure they have much popular support, so we’ll have to see if Evo Morales’s party can go on and win without him.”

Thousands of people flooded the streets to protest what the opposition called a rigged election on October 20, in which Morales secured a 10 percentage point gap, that allowed him to avoid a run-off. Morales, once a very popular leader, was faced with a wave of unrest and mutiny from the military. Kovalik believes that outside interference might have played a role in such a change of heart.

“Of course, people change their minds about things, but I also think there’ve been some manipulations of the public in Bolivia.”

November 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia: President Evo Morales Resigns Amid Right-Wing Coup

teleSUR | November 10, 2019

Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to resign Sunday after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government has called a coup by opposition forces in the country.

“I decided to resign from my position so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho stop abusing and harming thousands of brothers … I have the obligation to seek peace and it hurts a lot that we face Bolivians, for this reason, so I will send my letter of resignation to the Plurinational Assembly of Bolivia,” the former president of Bolivia said in a press release.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera also said that he was resigning from his position. The two leaders said that they would be handing their resignation letters to the country’s National Assembly.

Since both President and Vice Presiden resigned, the president of the Senate, a position held by Adriana Salvatierra of the MAS party was supposed to assume the post but she later issued her resignation as well as the president of the Chamber of Deputies.

Currently, the line of succession is broken in Bolivia.

Morales and Garcia Linera will stay in Chimore in the central Department of Cochabamba to work with the people. “We will come back and we will be millions as Tupac Amaru II said,” Morales declared.

The resignation comes after Morales proposed a dialogue process with the opposition parties but was rejected and even accepted the Organization of American States’ (OAS) call for new elections.

However, due to strong violent onslaughts against militants and leaders of the Movement To Socialism (MAS), intimidation of journalists, burning of residences and betrayal of political allies and members of the National Police, Morales and his Vice President decided to leave the government in order to prevent more violence.

In the interview with teleSUR’s correspondent in Bolivia Freddy Morales, the former president said the decision to call new elections was to preserve the peace in Bolivia “so that we do not confront the Bolivian family,” while calling on the opposition protesters to end the strikes and remove roadblocks in order to not harm the economy of the country.

November 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Green-smearing – from Nicaragua to Bolivia

By Stephen Sefton | September 11, 2019

A fundamental dimension of contemporary psychological warfare has been dual-purpose corporate co-option of non-governmental organizations. In that psy-warfare dimension, NGOs serve both as disinformation partners with Western news media and too as false interlocutors in international forums and institutions, where they attack governments challenging the US elites and their allies. They actively subvert governments inside countries challenging the West, for example, in Latin America, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. But they also pervert due process in institutions like the UN, posing as civil society but in fact serving Western elite corporate imperatives, for example in international human rights and environmental mechanisms and forums.

Among these NGOs figure high profile human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and Avaaz along with environmental organizations from 350.org and the World Resource Institute to Global Witness and Greenpeace. An increasing interrelationship has developed between corporate NGO funding and the exploitation of people’s general willingness to volunteer for and support apparently good causes. Symbolic of this is the way World Economic Forum attendees like Kumi Naidoo move readily between top management from one NGO to another, in Naidoo’s case from Greenpeace to Amnesty International. From Libya and Syria to Venezuela and Nicaragua, Amnesty International has played a key role using false reports to demonize governments resisting the US and its allies.

As Cory Morningstar has pointed out, Greenpeace is a key player in promoting the corporate driven New Deal for Nature aimed at financializing what remains of the natural world, especially its biodiversity, as a way of engineering a “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Western corporate greed underlies the identical patterns of news media and NGO misrepresentation and outright deceit supporting regime change offensives against Libya and Syria, or Venezuela and Nicaragua. Right now, that very same pattern of media and NGO manipulation is clearly at work preparing for an intervention to prevent Evo Morales being re-elected as President of Bolivia.

Bruno Sgarzini and Wyatt Reed have noted how Western media and NGOs have falsely attacked Evo Morales blaming him for not controlling the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon. This is exactly what happened in Nicaragua immediately prior to the coup attempt in 2018 when the Nicaraguan authorities were fighting a fire in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. That episode softened up Nicaraguan public opinion and set in motion social media networks involving thousands of youth activists trained for that purpose beforehand over several years with US and also European government funding. In mid-April 2018, barely a week after the Indio Maiz fire was extinguished, those networks launched a social media blitzkrieg of lies and inventions marking the start of the actual coup attempt. A practically identical process is well under way now in Bolivia, which holds presidential elections next October 20th.

The timing of the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon is extremely propitious from the perspective of the US authorities and their allies. It takes almost two months for the effects to wear off of the initial psy-warfare bitzkrieg of the kind waged against Nicaragua in 2018 and against Brazil’s Worker’s Party as part of Jair Bolsonaro’s successful 2018 election campaign that same year. Bolivia will almost certainly experience the same kind of psy-warfare assault via social media prior to the October elections. The campaign will be timed to optimize the effect of mass false accusations of government wrongdoing and corruption along with false media and NGO claims of security force repression. Opposition activists are likely to exploit peaceful demonstrations on indigenous peoples and environmental issues so as to commit murderous provocations, just as they did in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

All of these tactics are likely be deployed against Bolivia so as to destroy the current prestige and high levels of support for President Evo Morales. In Bolivia, as in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the governing progressive political movement enjoys around 35-40% core electoral support, the right wing opposition have around 25-30% with 30-40% of voters uncommitted. The Western elites know they need to motivate something over half of those uncommitted voters against Evo Morales so as to get the right wing government they so desperately need in Bolivia to try and make good the unmitigated debacle of Mauricio Macri’s right wing government in Argentina.

The intensity of any Western media and NGO campaign against Morales is likely to reach similar levels as their cynical campaigns of lies and defamation against Venezuela and Nicaragua. Should that offensive go ahead, as seems probable, the difference will be that this time Evo Morales and his team are alert and unlikely to be taken by surprise as the Nicaraguan authorities were by the vicious, sudden attack against them in April 2018. A likely variation in Bolivia’s case will be a higher profile of environmentalist NGOs working in tandem with their human rights counterparts feeding misrepresentations and downright lies into Western news media. For the US and European Union elites the regional geopolitical stakes are high enough to make an attack on Bolivia imperative.

(A longer version of this piece was published at Tortilla con Sal on September 4, 2019.)

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mass Rally For Evo Morales in Opposition Stronghold

teleSUR – August 2, 2019

Bolivia’s leftist president, Evo Morales, was greeted by a huge rally in the eastern city of Santa Cruz. Hundreds of thousands of people attended despite the city normally being known as a stronghold of the right wing opposition. The rally was in support of Evo Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, and to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s land reform.

President Morales addressed the crowd on Friday, saying, “We are rallied here so that Bolivia is never again in a state of dependency. So that the Bolivian people will never have to beg again. We are here sisters and brothers, so that neoliberalism nor U.S. military bases ever return.”

The MAS also presented their list of parliamentary candidates for the Santa Cruz region. Leading the list is Adriana Salvatierra, the 29-year-old President of the Senate, tipped by many as a possible successor to Morales.

The rally itself was organized by the local labor union federation, whose general secretary Rolando Borda, stood alongside Morales on stage. The day before Borda had laid out what he believes the mobilization represents.

“It is a ratification of our consciousness, and so that the economy of the country continues to grow and that the victory of October 20th is overwhelming,” he said.

Though the focus of the rally was the upcoming elections, the country was also celebrating the “Day of the Agrarian Revolution” falling on the anniversary of the Morales’ land reform, which redistributed millions of hectares to landless campesinos.

The main beneficiaries were the CSUTCB, the largest Indigenous campesino union. Their members were also in attendance at Friday’s rally, mostly Coca growers from the nearby Chapare region.

A buoyant economy has Morales well ahead of his rivals in opinion polls, however, none have indicated that a first round victory is certain. For that, Morales would need either 50 percent of the vote, or 40 percent if the second place candidate is behind by 10 points or more. Most polls have Morales just short of 40 percent, but leading his rivals by a comfortable margin of over 10.

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Bolivia’s Campesino Union Slams Opposition Protests as ‘Total Failure’

teleSUR | July 9, 2019

The head of Bolivia’s Indigenous Campesino union, the country’s largest social movement, has said opposition protests held Tuesday in the city of Santa Cruz have been a “total failure” after opposition parties mobilized in the eastern city against leftist President Evo Morales, attempting to block the region’s main roads, calling for the resignation of the country’s electoral council.

Teodoro Mamani of Bolivia’s Campesino union and Hugo Torres of the main Labor union federation have dismissed protests, supported by all the main opposition candidates standing at the upcoming elections. Speaking to state media, the two social movement leaders characterized the events as a “total failure”.

This comes after the largest pro-opposition media outlet in the city, El Deber, reporting that all public sector workers and services are operating normally without any staff absences.

The only difficulties reported have been of workers at the ministry of justice arriving by foot, and one person even arriving by horse, due to partial roadblocks near the building. However, workers at regional tax and migration offices were able to arrive normally, despite opposition attempts to block public transport.

State media reported that by midday Bolivian time, only one major road had been entirely blocked by protesters, the newly built freeway in Yapacani that connects Santa Cruz to the city of Cochabamba.

In La Paz, lawmakers from Morales’ ruling ‘Movement Towards Socialism’ (MAS) denounced the protests, David Ramos, former labor union leader, now legislator said: “It is not a mobilization for popular or social demands, it is a political mobilization whose aim is to destabilize, conspire and boycott the democratic system in our country”

Another MAS lawmaker, Edwin Muñoz, reported early in the morning on the roadblocks he saw, saying, “Right now, because of the route we took, we have seen luxury cars blocking some avenues and roundabouts, where four or five young people are there causing an inconvenience”

Protesters oppose the decision by the country’s electoral authorities to allow current Evo Morales to stand for a third term in elections being held in October 2019 despite term limits regulations in the country.

Morales hopes to continue the government’s current approach, that through state investment, nationalization of natural resources and strategic industries, has turned Bolivia into the fastest growing economy in the region.

RELATED:

Bolivia: Main Opposition Candidate Accused of Taking US Funds

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Bolivia: Before and after Evo Morales

Poverty has been reduced, rights expanded, and the economy continues to grow

By Ana Laura Palomino García | Granma | January 23, 2019

Many years ago, the man who has taken the Plurinational State of Bolivia to first-rate statistics in the economic and social arenas, was jailed on a military base in Copacabana, a town in the department of La Paz, close to the border with Peru.

This was in 1995, and Evo Morales endured insults and interrogations, for defending his rights and those of coca growers. But the most hateful way his captors referred to him was “indio” – a word that served as an offense for them, but is one of his most valued attributes.

Now that “Indian,” Evo Morales, is loved by his people and continues to dignify his indigenous roots, struggling tirelessly to eradicate the social ills that in the past left his nation without a future.

Nonetheless, some far removed from this reality, at different latitudes, or in the comfort of their homes, criticize his decision to run for a fourth term as President, denying the broad support he enjoys among the people and the figures that confirm this fact.

BOLIVIA BEFORE EVO

An opportune comment appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, recalling how, in the not so distant past, a few owners of significant capital fiercely exploited the Aymara, Quechua, Guarani, and other original peoples of Bolivia’s universe, whose elemental rights were ignored.

The paper points out that 90% of the rural population lived in poverty, making Bolivia, Honduras and Haiti a trio of countries facing uncertain futures, with the worst human development indices in the region. At the same time, publicly owned companies were privatized by oligarchic governments beginning in 1952, and Presidents took turns auctioning off the people’s welfare and the assets they were elected to protect, not embezzle.

Nonetheless, as expert Darío Restrepo points out in a study conducted by the National University of Colombia, a new program was implemented with the arrival of the Morales administration, very different from that of the previous 20 years.

“Instead of exclusively representative democracy, power was redirected to indigenous, rural, and popular communities, peoples, and organizations; instead of the President calling for a modern, Western, liberal Bolivia, he expresses the aspiration for a multi-national Bolivia, criticizes the ‘colonial state’ and liberal, bourgeois democracy,” Restrepo states.

BOLIVIA WITH EVO

According to Chilean newspaper La Tercera, in the last 12 years the Bolivian economy has grown 4.9% annually, far exceeding the regional average of 2.7%, and tripling its GDP from 11.5 billion to the current 37.77 billion.

This publication also reports that, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), inflation rose by just 2.7% in 2017, the lowest figure in ten years, while the labor market strengthened.

On the other hand, in an interview with the Bolivian leader by BBC Mundo, Evo described, as another of the battles of his government, the fact that for three or four consecutive years his nation has shown the highest economic growth in all of South America. “That has never happened since the founding of the Republic,” he reaffirmed.

Another achievement of his Presidency is the reduction of poverty. According to teleSUR, in 2017 Bolivia made considerable progress on this front, with the poverty rate falling to its lowest level in history, at 36.4%.

The minimum income has increased up to 127%, and the minimum wage of workers is the second best in Latin America.

But the population has not only benefited economically. As the Bolivian President says in the interview, “The most humiliated and marginalized sector, which was that of women of all social and indigenous classes, now has a place in the Plurinational State.”

“We all have the same rights and duties,” he stressed.

According to analyst Hugo Siles, “The contemporary history of Bolivia is divided in two: before and after Evo Morales.” In addition, he stresses in La Nación, “Bolivia has changed substantially in the last decade, there is a before and after with Evo Morales. It is a very different nation socially, economically, and politically. The arrival of Morales implied a 180-degree turnabout on issues such as the management of natural resources and the inclusion of indigenous peoples.”

At the same time, Siles recognizes that much remains to be done, especially on issues related to reforms or changes in the judicial system, and greater recognition of the LGBT+ population.

This modest man, from a humble family, who worked as a bricklayer, baker, and trumpeter to pay for his studies, was branded a terrorist and demonized by the opposition to curb his political aspirations. But in 2005, he won the Presidential elections with 53.7% of the votes, a level of support that continues to date.

IN FIGURES

• The Morales government has recently announced a 1.5 billion dollar investment in roads and airports.

• With Evo Morales as President, Bolivia has established 3,000 primary health care facilities and more than 200 for secondary assistance.

• More than 85% of the population has access to potable water, an everyday issue in the past.

• Some 1.4 billion land titles have been awarded to small farmers and indigenous peoples.

• A “Dignity” benefit is provided to 900,000 older adults, thanks to an allocation of more than 2.9 billion dollars

• A total of 14% of the state budget is destined to education.

January 25, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Bolivia: Morales Seeks New Relationship With Chile After Ruling

teleSUR | September 29, 2018

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales hopes to start a “new era” in his nation’s relationship with Chile once the International Court of Justice rules on Bolivia’s demand for sea access on Monday.

The new age will take “advantage of our potentialities, promoting integration for the well being of our peoples,” Morales said. “It’s necessary to cure injuries from the past.”

After a years-long process, the court will decide whether the Chilean government must negotiate a sea exit for Bolivia. La Paz issued the demand in April 2013.

Morales said he values peaceful solutions for international disputes, based on international law.

“Bolivia will never give up in its cause, that’s why the Bolivian people will gather on October 1 without divisions, without difference around our three-color flag, our wiphala and our sea claim flag,” he said. “Our reunion with the sea is not only possible, but inevitable.”

He also asked the people of Chile to understand the demand shouldn’t be considered an “unfriendly act,” but rather an opportunity.

Bolivia demanded the court declare Chile must negotiate an exit for the Pacific Ocean, based on diplomatic evidence it has previously agreed to do so.

Chile is denying any negotiation based on a 1904 treaty between both countries, giving up 120,000 square kilometers of territory, including 400 shore kilometers, to Chile.

The treaty was a result of the War of the Pacific, in which Bolivia and Peru fought against Chile between 1879 and 1883.

The UN’s International Court of Justice is legally binding but it has no means to enforce its rulings over the states.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Over 100 Years Ago Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea. Today, Evo Morales Could Lead the Country Back to the Coast

By Oliver L. Vargas | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

In 1879 began the disastrous ‘War of the Pacific’, the Chilean army invaded Bolivia’s ‘Litoral’ department, leaving the poorest nation in South America landlocked. It is thought up to 18,000 Bolivians died in the war. Chile’s war on Bolivia was at every step of the way backed and armed by the British Empire as English industrialists took control of the vast natural resources of the Bolivian coastal region. These included guano, sodium, nitrate, copper where British interests established a monopoly on the export of these primary resources. Bolivia has never given up its demand to return to the coast, it still maintains a navy in preparation, the only landlocked country in the world to do so. Today the Bolivian government, under left-indigenous president Evo Morales is taking the biggest steps yet in securing a sovereign access to the sea as he takes the case to the International Court of Justice at the Hague who have already ruled against Chile’s early objections to Bolivia’s claims, a preliminary ruling is expected on April 28th. This is more than a territorial dispute, this is a political battle to roll back the hidden legacy of British imperialist interference in Latin America. It is inconceivable that Bolivia’s previous neoliberal governments could have come this far, indeed they didn’t, Bolivia’s successes are precisely because Morales’ left government is nation building for the first time, bringing natural resources under public ownership and incorporating the social movements into the structures of popular power. Those who preceded him were more interested in short sighted frenzies of privatisation than any long term state projects like this.

The war began when the Bolivian government raised taxes on the Chilean and British companies operating in Bolivia’s Litoral department. Companies such as the “Antofagasta Nitrate & Railway Company” (CSFA) refused to pay so Bolivia moved to nationalise mining interests there. Chile then unleashed a brutal war that was to last 5 years and invade huge parts of Bolivia and even Peru. Territory they still hold to this day. Behind this was a vast network of British imperial interests that had built links to sections of the Chilean oligarchy. Ever since the fall of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, Britain was quick off the blocks in establishing informal control of Latin American natural resources. Chile’s Banco Edwards was a subsidiary of the Bank of England[1], and owned by the same family as Chile’s foremost newspaper El Mercuriothat became key in drumming up popular support for the invasion and framing it as a patriotic war rather than a war for British and Chilean mining capitalists. An English businessman with the CSFA articulated Britain’s colonial approach to the conflict, “The Bolivians are getting very cocky, but with this action they’ll realise that they can’t interfere with a subject of the crown, and also, the Chileans will realise that it is in their interests to have the English at their side”. From the start of the war began an aggressive media operation in London to portray Chile as advanced and civilised, and Bolivia as backward hordes, one newspaper labeled Bolivia a “Semi-barbarous country that doesn’t know civilization”[2]. This was a textbook divide and rule strategy that the British Empire was employing all over Africa. Britain was rigidly against Simon Bolívar’s vision of a united Latin America, (‘Gran Colombia’ as he called it), Eduardo Galeano summed it up thus, “For U.S. imperialism to be able to “integrate and rule” Latin America today, it was necessary for the British Empire to help divide and rule us yesterday. An archipelago of disconnected countries came into being as a result of the frustration of our national unity.”[3]. British economic interests penetrated deep into every port city of the Americas and played off the new republics against each other whenever its interests were threatened. Britain proceeded to play a vital role in urging and sponsoring Chile’s invasion, providing it with huge supplies of arms, financing, logistical support and the political support of its press. Bolivia’s meagre forces never stood a chance.

The British backed Chilean forces overwhelmed both Bolivia and Peru. Today it is estimated that lack of access to the sea deprives Bolivia of 1.5% in economic growth annually[4], a huge amount for the region’s poorest country. For British imperial interests the outcome was everything they hoped and more, Yorkshire industrialist John Thomas North established a monopoly over the vast nitrate fields and the British linked Edwards family reaped huge rewards from the captured natural resources. These oligarchs formed a caste that wielded huge political power and plunged Chile into civil war in 1891 when the progressive president Balmaceda tried push through competition laws to break up their monopolies, the war ended in victory for the oligarchy. In some ways even Chile did not benefit from the war, they were left indebted to Britain to the tune of millions for the support they received and the natural resources fell into the hands of a tiny number of families who exported these primary materials on the cheap to the global north. Peruvian historian Enrique Amayo, in his book on British involvement in the war perhaps summed it up best in his final heading titled “Imperialist Great Britain helped Chile, but in the end Chile too became the loser”[5].

This war nearly 140 years ago is still an open wound for Bolivians and an obstacle to Latin American integration and unity. The sense of loss for Bolivia, a small nation against the might of the British Empire and Chilean sub-imperialism. Add to this, Chile’s national chauvinism gained after the war, that they are the ‘advanced’ of the region compared with their ‘backward’ and more indigenous neighbours Bolivia and Peru, the xenophobia and discrimination is still a defining experience of Andean migrants in Santiago.

What has changed since then is a transformation in Bolivian state and society since the left came to power in 2006. Bolivia’s recent diplomatic success has its roots in the fact that the left has for the first time since the 1952 revolution, begun popular nation building, so therefore it has the capacity for long term projects of state such as this. Since Morales was swept to power in 2006 by the wave of social movements that overthrew two neoliberal governments within two years, Bolivia has ‘reclaimed’ natural resources like Gas and some mining, as well as other industries that were privatised in the neoliberal period such as the national airline, telecommunications, airports and numerous manufacturing initiatives. Alongside this, the reconfiguring of the state as the ‘Plurinational State’ with a new popular constitution and the incorporation of indigenous movements and trade unions into decision making. All of this has created a cultural confidence and given Bolivia the growth and stability necessary to push on towards historic state projects like reclaiming the sea, which Morales has mobilised the social movements behind too[6]. Morales’ anti-imperialist politics also means there is real political will for the first time. Under the neoliberal administrations preceding Morales the maritime demands were mostly rhetoric, in reality attempts were made to privatise Bolivia’s natural gas reserves to foreign multinationals and export them through the Chilean ports that were conquered by force. The neoliberal period was also one of economic and political chaos that gave Bolivia hyperinflation, mass unemployment and repression, the country was nowhere near strong enough to mobilise behind a historic demand like this. To take on, in a concerted manner, the historic legacy of British Imperialism and Chilean militarism, and against Chile’s right wing billionaire president Sebastian Piñera takes political commitment that only the current government has been able to deliver. The prospects for Bolivia look their strongest ever since Salvador Allende openly supported Bolivia’s right to return, though the coup put an end to Allende’s vision, laid out in 1970, “In this plan of reparation for injustices, I’ve also resolved that our brother country Bolivia return to the sea. Ending the confinement they have faced since 1879 due to the interference of English imperialism. We cannot condemn a people to a life sentence… a people that enslave another is not free”[7]. The historical baton has been passed from Allende to Evo to finally find a solution, the Plurinational State has a fighting chance for the first time.

Notes.

[1]François Schollaert Paz,  La Guerra del Pacífico fue concebida en Londres

[2]Ibid.

[3]Galeano, ‘Open Veins of Latin America’(1997), p. 259.

[4]¿Cómo afecta a Bolivia no tener salida al mar?Telesur.

[5]Enrique Amayo, ‘La Política Británica en la Guerra del Pacífico’,

[6]COB retoma el control de Conalcam y se suma al ‘banderazo’ por el mar’, La Razón, 06.03.18

[7]Allende ofreció mar para Bolivia’, Página Siete

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute

Example of How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda

By Stansfield Smith | Dissident Voice | April 4, 2018

As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

This NACLA article is a recent excellent example of many. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and right-wing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Webber (and here), Jacobin, ROAR, Intercontinentalcry, Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS (or oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency) and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

(a) The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”.

(b) The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.

(c) “The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.

Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a right-wing, anti-Evo Morales political party.

(d) The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.”

REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

(e)These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”). Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets.

The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

Therefore, this liberal-left media is not actually defending “the indigenous.” They are choosing sides within indigenous ranks, choosing the side that is funded and influenced by the US government.

(f) The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.

(g) Anti-highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.

(h) They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.

US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds. That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.

This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”

Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyor belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking too closely into it.

It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. Upside Down World is an excellent example of this.

Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from Western domination.

Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences as we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played. To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity, is a long time Latin America solidarity activist, and presently puts out the AFGJ Venezuela Weekly. He is also the Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia Joins Operation Condor Investigation

teleSUR – January 7, 2018

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that his country is joining the regional investigation into Operation Condor alongside Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

These latter nations created the Truth Commission to uncover the “Empire’s transgressions” during Operation Condor, the Bolivian head of state tweeted, referring to the United States.

Operation Condor was a covert, multinational “black operations” program organized by six Latin American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru), with logistical, financial, and intelligence support from Washington,” according to J. Patrice McSherry, author of Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America (2005). Their shared intent was to do away with leftist movements in the region.

Morales said he laments this shared history of human rights violations, but celebrates the “brave and dignified struggle against the military dictatorships.”

For its part, Bolivia suffered under Operation Condor during its nearly 20-year dictatorship between 1964 and 1982.

Nila Heredia, who was named the country’s rights commission representative, said that Bolivia is giving “its full support (to the commission) with its experience (of working on other rights commissions, as well as technical expertise.”

Morales has also announced that Bolivia will host a seminary for experts from the Truth Commission on Feb. 20.

Estimates of the number of those killed or disappeared from the clandestine Operation Condor ranges from 20,000 to 60,000.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment