The Coup in Bolivia: Five Lessons

Atilio Boron

The Bolivian tragedy eloquently teaches several lessons that our peoples and popular social and political forces must learn and engrave in their consciences forever. Here is a brief enumeration, as we go along, and a prelude to more detailed treatment in the future.

First, no matter how exemplarily the economy is administered, as Evo’s government has done, growth, redistribution, flow of investments are guaranteed and all the macro and microeconomic indicators are improved the right and imperialism will never accept a government that does not serve their interests.

Second, it is necessary to study the manuals published by various U.S. agencies and their spokespersons disguised as academics or journalists in order to be able to detect the signs of the offensive in time. These writings invariably highlight the need to shatter the reputation of a popular leader, what in specialized jargon is called character assasination, calling him a thief, corrupt, dictator, or ignorant. This is the task entrusted to social communicators, self-proclaimed “independent journalists,” who in favour of their quasi-monopoly control of the media drill the brains of the population through defamation, accompanied, in this case, by hate messages directed against native peoples and the poor.

Thirdly, once the above has been fulfilled, it is the turn of the political leadership and the economic elites to demand “a change”, to put an end to the “dictatorship” of Evo who, as the unprincipaled Vargas Llosa wrote a few days ago, is a “demagogue who wants to remain in power”. I suppose he will be toasting with champagne in Madrid when he sees the images of the fascist hordes looting, burning, chaining journalists to a post, shaving a woman mayor and painting her red and destroying the minutes of the last election to fulfill Don Mario’s mandate and free Bolivia from an evil demagogue. I mention his case because he has been and is the immoral standard-bearer of this vile attack, this limitless felony that crucifies popular leaders, destroys a democracy and installs a reign of terror by gangs of hired assassins to scorn a worthy people who had the audacity to desire freedom.

Fourth: the “security forces” enter the scene. In this case we are talking about institutions controlled by numerous agencies, military and civilian, of the government of the United States. They train them, arm them, do joint exercises and educate them politically. I had the opportunity to prove it when, at Evo’s invitation, I inaugurated a course on “Anti-imperialism” for senior officers representing the three branches of the armed forces. At that time I was shocked by the degree of penetration of the most reactionary American slogans inherited from the Cold War era and by the undisguised irritation caused by the fact that an Indian was president of their country. What those “security forces” did was withdraw from the scene and leave the field free for the uncontrolled actions of the fascist hordes like those who acted in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, to overthrow, or in the latter case try to overthrow, leaders who were annoying to the empire – and thus intimidate the population, the militancy and the very figures of the government. In other words, a new socio-political concept: military coup d’état “by omission”, allowing reactionary gangs, recruited and financed by the right, to impose their law. Once terror reigned and in the face of the government’s helplessness, the outcome was inevitable.

Fifth, security and public order in Bolivia should never have been entrusted to institutions such as the police and the army, colonized by imperialism and its lackeys of the indigenous right. When the offensive was launched against Evo, a policy of appeasement and of non-response to the provocations of the fascists was chosen. This served to embolden them and increase the stakes: first, to demand a ballot; then, fraud and new elections; then, elections but without Evo (as in Brazil, without Lula); later, Evo’s resignation; finally, faced with his reluctance to accept blackmail, to spread terror with the complicity of police and military and force Evo to resign. All from manual. Will we ever learn these lessons?

Translation by Internationalist 360º