Carlos Fonseca Terán
Repression in Senkata, El Alto November 18, 2019
Of the five coups d’état that have succeeded in overthrowing leftist governments in Latin America since Chávez came to power in Venezuela (including the coup that briefly overthrew Chávez in 2002), Bolivia stands out for the brazenness with which the coup plotters, international organizations and governments at the service of the United States have handled the situation. Bolivia’s coup is the first to have a total absence of institutional cover with which to legitimize itself politically, and although that cover in earlier coups has been forced and illegal, in the case of Bolivia it does not even exist.
When Evo Morales resigned, part of the line of succession did so as well, so it was up to the legislature to define who would provisionally succeed the president, assuming either that the legislature accepted the resignation or not. In the first case, the provisional nature would have as a time limit the holding of new elections, while in the second case it would be the return of the President to his post. Well, the resignation was not accepted and the senator of the MAS (the party led by Evo) and President of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, was appointed as interim head of the government. All this is based on the fact that the MAS has an overwhelming majority in the legislative power, which is why it did not achieve a quorum the first few times it was convened without the MAS deputies, and despite this, before the legal election made by the MAS bench, the attending opposition minority dared to name, a spurious President who came out of nowhere and who was clearly inept to govern, called Jeanine Áñez.
The latter is unthinkable in a country with a minimum of respect for the established legal order and for the most elementary principles of democracy. But we are talking about a country in which a coup d’état took place, in which the police first rebelled against the government leaving it and the general citizenry too, defenseless against terrorist and vandalistic actions which, together with this rebellion, were already part of the coup plan prepared by the United States. Then the Chief of the Armed Forces announced that they would not repress “the citizens” who were protesting in an evidently violent manner and demanding, with no basis whatsoever, nothing less than the resignation of the President, and shortly afterwards the same top military chief “suggested” the President to resign.
Meanwhile, the government had invited the OAS to carry out an electoral audit, knowing beforehand that the result would be unfavorable, given the obvious bias of that body, but even so the opposition refused to recognize the audit, based on which this US policy tool, as expected, declared there had been “serious irregularities” in the electoral process without presenting a single piece of evidence or even bothering to give any relevant data. The OAS roundly declared that the elections had to be repeated, when even what the same opposition claimed as fraud was not the fact that Evo had come first, but his official advantage of more than 10% over the second placed candidate, which prevented a second round. In other words, what corresponded in any case, in accordance with the opposition’s claim, was for the OAS to call for a second round of elections, for which it certainly did not have any evidence either, but in the most arbitrary and cynical manner it went much further than that and called for new elections entirely.
While the opposition said theywould not bow to OAS oversight (which deprived them of any right to demand the application of the OAS proposals), President Evo Morales, in a display of flexibility and tolerance, announced new elections and also a change of members of the governing body of the electoral process, thus agreeing to everything the OAS recommended. Even so, the OAS ignored that while the opposition rejected Evo’s decision, which was so favorable to them, and insisted on his resignation with no justification of any kind, given that his term was not yet over and moreover, had little time to run.
It was then that Evo surprised everyone by agreeing to resign, in order to avoid a bloodbath, taking into account the total absence of action on the part of the institutional forces responsible for maintaining order, security and peace. He was abandoned to its fate by the body whose provisions he had not only totally and absolutely deferred to, but had gone much further by resigning, thereby setting a disastrous precedent for the OAS in future to convince a head of state abide by its recommendations, as the Uruguayan representative to the OAS so aptly pointed out.
It was under such conditions that the legislature made its first failed attempts to meet, without achieving the quorum of the law, which was in fact later achieved by the MAS bench, which designated the President of the Senate as provisional president, pending the return of President Evo Morales, whose resignation had been rejected by that body. But it turns out that in the earlier sessions that had no quorum, the minority of the legislators decided on their own , violating the most elementary constitutional norms and tnheir legislature’s own internal rules, to appoint the spurious Jeanine Áñez, who in the total absence of any institutional support, received the presidential sash from the Chief of the Armed Forces, who might as well have placed it on himself.
We are therefore facing a military coup d’état, not only against the executive power, but also against the legislature, something unprecedented in these new kind of coups d’état carried out by the United States through its internal agents who act against any government resisting its superpower interests.
Almost immediately after his resignation, Evo accepted the offer of political asylum offered by Mexico, faced with imminent danger to his life with no way to defend against that. He accepted in a supremely responsible way, given that the foreseeable consequences of his physical disappearance would have been unimaginably harmful to the stability of the country, in a scenario in which, as always, the main victim would be common people and, above all, indigenous people. But shortly after Evo resigned, the indigenous people rose up massively against the new coup regime, and are being savagely repressed by the Police, as they were earlier during the polic rebellion, and also now by the armed forces, which had solemnly promised not to repress “the citizenry”. Although as we can see very well they are ding so now, because for them the Indians are not citizens and furthermore, not even human beings.
Most recently, Evo has announced his prompt return, pointing out his obligation to resume command of the country in the face of the legislative power’s refusal to accept his resignation. In other words, Evo Morales continues to be the legitimate President of Bolivia, and Adriana Salvatierra is the legitiamte provisional President until Evo reassumes his position, while Jeanine Áñez ends up being a more pathetic “President” than Urcuyo Maliaños himself when he wanted to brazen it out here in 1979, refusing to transfer formal power to the national Unity Government after he was elected by the Nicaraguan Congress at the behest of Somoza, with the result that we know very well.
Evo’s resignation, then, has been nothing more than a tactical withdrawal, like the one made in Nicaragua by the Sandinista insurgent forces from Managua to Masaya just a month before finally taking power, putting an end to the Somoza dictatorship. As regards the extreme right in Venezuela and Nicaragua, in our case, the neo-Somocista forces of the coup opposition, quisling and pro-elite, in which the most reactionary forces of the conservative right, who are the overall leaders of the coup forces, come together in a true political and ideological potpourri; the plebeian right more directly linked to somocismo in historical terms. Here there’s also a kind of postmodern extreme right, emerging from the treacherous and corrupt former self-serving Sandinistas, generally of bourgeois origin, all of them ashamed of their revolutionary past and fancifully thinking they have been forgiven by big capital and imperialism. They and their Venezuelan counterparts are making great efforts to draw a comparison between Bolivia and our countries, suggesting an impossible domino effect that is completely unrealistic.
Unlike what is happening in Bolivia, in each of our countries (as in Cuba) we have an established revolutionary vanguard, which in Bolivia is still under construction, and our armed forces and security forces arose from our respective revolutionary processes, which is why we they are not simply armed institutions loyal the our revolutionary governments, but rather are an organic part of our revolutionary projects, an institutionally organized expression of the people in arms defending their class interests and national sovereignty. Our flags are united becaus our revolutionary struggle and our national liberation struggle are united, historically oppressed by the great imperial powers from which we have managed to free ourselves and which do not accept our conquered freedom. Nothing better expresses that united stuggle than Sandino’s statement that his sword would both defend the national honor and emancipate the oppressed.
To this we must add the aspects in common between our revolutionary processes and the Bolivian process, which can be synthesized in the construction of popular power in the political and economic spheres, as well as the struggle for ideological-cultural leadership resulting in mass class consciousness rooted in that power’s class nature, in this case held by the popular classes, unlike other processes of social change in our continent, in which that social change has been limited to the reduction of poverty and social inequality.
It is not a small achievement, obviously, but on its own it lacks the necessary structural mechanisms to avoid the popular sectors benefited by social policies, losing their class identity and transiting to the middle class as a result of these social policies, unlike the countries where there are structural changes, in which the popular classes do not lose their sense of identity when they pass from poverty to an middle class economic status. In this case they do not join the petty bourgeoisie, which is so politically unstable, but rather reinforce their popular class identity through using their class power in the political and economic spheres.
It is these aspects in common between our processes and the Bolivian one, linked to their revolutionary character, that make us sure that the revolutionary movement will retake the offensive and reassume power in Bolivia in a realtively short period of time. We are in a general continental context marked by the resurgence of revolutionary and popular movements on the offensive, especially since the arrival of López Obrador in Mexico, preceded by Bolivarian Venezuela’s and our Sandinista victories over the respective coup attempts, and also followed by popular rebellions underway in Ecuador, Chile, Honduras and Haiti, plus the return to power of popular forces in Argentina.
In other words, the Bolivian setback is really a blip in a new continent-wide popular offensive, which, like all revolutionary struggles, does not advance along a highway, but on a winding road full of huge obstacles and difficulties, especially taking into account imperialism’s global power which it still holds and will for some time, at least in the medium term.
Let us hope, then, that the forces of the ultra-right in Venezuela and Nicaragua, possibly blinded by a clearly unjustified euphoria, are not making an irresponsible, hasty reading of events leading them to set out mindlessly on new violent coup attempt adventures. We hope that both for their own good, but above all for the good of our peoples, because although an eventual civil war in either Nicaragua or Venezuela would undoubtedly be won by the revolutionary forces, the cost in lives and suffering for both peoples would be enormous.
However, it is not up to us to define whether or not that will happen, but for the right-wing in our countries whose stupidity only compares with that of their idol and model, Donald Trump. That is why, although we hope that craziness will not prevail in the ranks of the neanderthal, disjointed and spli-personality far-right, our duty is to be prepared for everything, to be more united and better organized than ever. But above all our duty is to doing everything with the great prudence, as well as strengthening the leadership of our governing political forces, in our case the FSLN, putting into practice all our vast experience, the teachings of the great builders of our vanguard. We must also continue to nourish our revolutionary scientific theory which has to guide today more than ever our political and organizational action, our leadership methods, our ways of working and our forms of organization, based always on our extraordinary wealth of creative, practical political leadership over almost six decades since the founding of our invincible revolutionary vanguard.