Imperialist imprint in Bolivia coup

Farooque Chowdhury | Published: 00:00, Nov 20,2019 | Updated: 00:34, Nov 20,2019


Riot policemen take position as supporters of Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales hold a demonstration in Cochabamba on November 18. — Agence France-Presse/Ronaldo Schemidt

IMPERIALIST imprint in the just carried out Bolivia coup is visible. Donald Trump, the US president, has said in a statement: ‘The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.’

Who are these ‘people’? The fascists, the rich, the appropriators and the lumpen elements that the money of the rich hired. They are not the poor, the dispossessed, the humble, the sections of the Bolivian society with whom Evo Morales was striving to organise a humane society.

And the ‘military’? Its leadership is mainly and broadly tied to imperialist masters although constitutionally bound to uphold and safeguard interests of the people of Bolivia as it is the people that pay salary to the armed body. The bayonets the armed body fixes on its rifles and the bullets the body uses to intimidate the people are purchased with the people’s money. The armed forces’ act of ‘protecting the constitution’ was compelling a constitutionally elected leader with majority of the people’s verdict to renounce presidency.

What is the character of ‘freedom’ being secured through the coup? It is the freedom of capital, national and imperialist, to appropriate and loot the people and natural resources. And, it is the freedom to tie the country into an imperialist war plan, strategic and tactical, against the peoples of Latin America.

The White House issued the US presidential statement that began with the following sentence: ‘The resignation yesterday of Bolivian President Evo Morales is a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.’

The ‘democracy’ that is cherished in the statement has been ensured through the forced exit of an elected president. The election sought people’s verdict. And, the majority of the people expressed their will, Morales, with a more than 10 per cent majority. Now the imperialist power finds ‘democracy’ in the forced and, obviously, unconstitutional ouster of the elected leader. The ‘democracy’ the imperialism is marketing and imposing at opportune moments on countries convenient to it is the ‘democracy’ of imperialism. Only fools and lackey of imperialism run and beg to imperialism for this variety of ‘democracy’. The type of ‘democracy’ imperialism loves is for the rich, for the exploiters and for the plunderers. And these type of lackeys are not only in Bolivia and Venezuela. They reside and engage with politics in other countries also. And they, with auxiliary role played by a certain type of NGOs, depend on imperialism for their type of ‘democracy’. In some countries, a group of ‘left’ elements joins them.

The US presidential statement issued on November 11 says: ‘Morales’s departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard.’

Can anyone claim that the forced, unconstitutional ouster of an elected president preserves democracy? Can anyone cite a single example of trampling a people’s verdict that lets people’s voices heard in any country, from any page of history book, from real life experience? Shall any imperialist state accept such an act within its political mechanism? No, and never.

What was the ‘people’s’ voice heard in Bolivia on its streets, in front of and in elected official’s residences? For weeks, the streets were blocked. The streets saw vandalism with full force, mob violence to its extreme. Elected officials, at least one of them was women and from indigenous community, were threatened, howled at, beaten, assaulted, dragged out of office and humiliated. A part of the media has published these photos. At least one people’s representative, a woman, was confined to a town hall while the hall was set on fire. She was allowed to leave the alighted building after the fire had raged around. Even, this ‘people’, a fascist gang, set the residence of Morales’s sister on fire. Even, Morales’s residence has been vandalised and looted.

Shall any elected, or imperialism-backed dictator without people’s mandate, accept — allow the vandals — to carry out a small fragment of such acts in any part of their country, with any of their elected officials? Shall they allow this in any case of any sibling or offspring of any of their the elected officials? Shall any imperialist state allow the burning of governor’s houses within their country or within their legal jurisdiction? Residences of two governors in Bolivia have been burnt by blood-hounding mob, fascist in character, hired with money. Imperialism does not consider legal jurisdiction. Unilateral decision and declaration about the deployment of US forces in and actions of the forces around the oil fields in the Kurdish region of Syria is the latest example of imperialist way of ‘respecting’ or ‘abiding’ by law, domestic and international. Has imperialism heard and accepted the voice raised on the floor of the UN General Assembly only days ago on the question of US-imposed economic blockade against Cuba? It is the longest ever economic blockade by the most powerful country against a geographically small island country. The UNGA vote was overwhelmingly against the imperialist act. Only three member-states of the United Nations, including the US, voted against the resolution. The audience of global media knows the way Jane Fonda was arrested in Washington DC. She stood for climate, a climate within which people can breathe, live and shall not have to abandon their houses, hospitals, schools, agricultural land and mangrove forests, and cases, cities. Was the voice listened to?

Now, imperialism is delivering sermon — hear ‘people’s’ voice! Is this, the mobocracy and the imperialismocracy in Bolivia over the last few weeks, the way to let people’s voice be heard?

The US president’s statement — ‘Statement from President Donald J. Trump Regarding the Resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ – signalled: ‘These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail.’

The recent political developments in Bolivia are a strong signal, no doubt. It is a strong signal to, as the statement identifies, ‘illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.’

And the US president said with a confident tone: ‘We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.’

Coup against Morales by imperialism pulls imperialism, a mighty machine, closer to democracy. It is not a paradox. It is contradiction and contradictory in the real sense. A mighty machine motivated to subjugate the world is against a man committed to organise a humane life for the exploited people in his country. The machine is so powerful that it was failing to proceed to its cherished ‘democracy’ because of a man, a revolutionary. Does it show the might of the machine? The machine knows its weakness.

That is the reason the machine had to conspire with the elite, the most minor part of society, and a few armed officers commanding an armed force, but not having people’s mandate and depending on the people to pay for their salary, and for arms and ammunition with which these armed people are trying to trample the people.

Thus, imperialism imprints its intervention in Bolivia in the life of the people of the commoners of the Andean country.

The Hill has spoken the truth with the following heading: ‘Trump celebrates resignation of Bolivia’s president’ (by Brett Samuels, November 11). It is the celebration of imperialism. What is the cause of the celebration? Morales is absent. But Morales’s absence is for today only. Tomorrow he will come back with his people.

The report said: ‘President Trump on Monday hailed the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales as a “significant moment for democracy’ even as Morales’s supporters and some US lawmakers likened it to a coup.

‘Trump issued a statement approving of Morales’s resignation.’

A military act, an act unconstitutional, is being hailed by a leader of a state, which claims to be a democracy. The bourgeois democracy — centuries-old, an advanced bourgeois democracy — has found one of its best contemporary theoreticians to uncover its character. Shall the bourgeois democracy accept such an act in its case, within its state machine, or in case of its imperialist allies?

The Washington Post has said in its report on the coup in Bolivia: The heads of the armed forces and police withdrew their support for the government in recent days amid escalating protests.

Shall the Washington Post accept such a move by leaders of the armed forces in cases where its interests sleep?

What democracy they are dreaming of?

It is a coup-plotters’ democracy. It is planned to be a democracy of elites, the rich. So, the coup-project is being led by a businessman, Bolivia’s Guaido and Bolsonaro.

The coup machine has already started moving through the near-empty streets of La Paz and of other cities. Activists are being hauled, hands cuffed, blindfolded, kneeled, arrested. A Reuter’s photograph caption says: ‘Members of the security forces patrol a street, at the Murillo square, in La Paz’. Enough to perceive the situation.

Before the coup formally unfolded, the coup plotters had unleashed hoards of lumpen elements and those petty soldiers were kidnapping people, engaging with arsons, threatening political leaders, blocking roads. Shall the empire allow this in its own territory? Never, never.

What is in view now there in Bolivia? The Camacho and Mesa duo has spelt out nothing clearly. Their current agenda is repressing the Morales supporters. They are still relying on violence with their armed goons and the armed forces and police.

The ringleader in this coup is Bolivia’s Guaido-Bolsonaro — racist, misogynist Camacho — with heavy fortunes in his own pockets and in family coffer. His family is connected to secessionist and far-right anti-democratic activities and enterprises in Bolivia. Imperialism has correctly appointed its orderly in Bolivia — a rich appropriator.

There are the famous NED and IRI, the long arms for the imposing Washington-designed ‘democracy’, activities in countries. US dollars, millions as their reports show, have been channelled in Bolivia over the years to ‘seed’ their ‘democracy’. Who knows about activities of their brother ‘enterprise’ and ‘free labour unions’ to organise their friendly businesspeople and a group of ‘labour’ leaders, lumpen in character? All they do is promote rightist agenda.

There are reports of conversations between the empire leaders and the coup soldiers.

On one side, imperialism and its orderlies, thus, are there in Bolivia.

On the opposite, there is Morales. He said during resigning his post: ‘My sin is being a union leader, indigenous.’ He led in imbibing the people with a sense of dignity. He led in the initiatives to lift up three million people out of the pit of poverty. The country was the region’s fastest growing economy. He nationalised sectors/enterprises lucrative to imperialism. And he kicked out US military bases. He represented the commoners.

His is the class war camp of the exploited. Morales’s moves, political and economic, are enough to make imperialism his enemy. So imperialism has intervened in Bolivia. It may turn more forceful. Nevertheless, the intervention will, hopefully, stumble because of the state of politics that the people there have pursued since long.

Are other countries, including a number of South Asian countries, free from similar intervention possibility? Not at all, not even in any dream. Rather, probably, in some rooms in the empire’s palace, similar conspiracies for intervention are being hatched and preparations are going on in full swing.


Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.

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