Bolivia: The Resources of the Dictatorship

Atilio A. Boron

The very serious situation in Bolivia has multiple facets, each one more aberrant. They all have a common denominator: the systematic violation of human rights, public freedoms and individual rights and guarantees. These are the foreseeable results of any dictatorial regime, and without doubt the government that has taken over Bolivia today is a dictatorship, imposed by an old-style military coup while discarding the subtler tools of the “soft coup”. Here the spotlight was not on corrupt judges and legislators but on the police and military who have been trained and equipped by the United States for decades. They were the executioners of the coup d’etat that destroyed not only a government but also the hard-won democracy in Bolivia. It is obvious that this operation had been in gestation for a long time, since the frustrated coup attempt and secession in 2008. This project was never shelved and was updated in the last year on the eve of the presidential election, with the invaluable collaboration of the media – overwhelmingly in the hands of the opposition – who acted as the spearhead of the coup, creating the “climate of opinion” that would justify the assault on the Palacio Quemado by the fascist hordes. But unlike 2008, this time nothing was left to chance: the United States played hardball and in early September sent Ivanka Trump to the northern Argentine province of Jujuy in a plane loaded with weapons, supplies to foment unrest, and money – a lot of money – to hire thugs under the command of Luis F. “Macho” Camacho, that ravaged the main cities and created the social chaos required to justify the coup and the invasion of the Palacio Quemado with a Bible, to exorcise Pachamama and to desecrate the Wiphala. The White House “donation” was sent to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the center of operations for white supremacists, racists to the core, and U.S. agents operating in Bolivia.

However, Bolivia goes beyond revenge of the white minority and the colonized mestizos against the indigenous people. It cannot be ignored that this country is a highly coveted prey for the empire for several reasons, but very mainly because it is home to the most important lithium deposits in the world. And this resource has acquired exceptional importance due to its growing use by new military technologies, something that is fully recognized in reports from various U.S. government agencies. Bear in mind that if the price of lithium in 2012 was US$4,220 per ton (having reached US$16,500 in 2018) the HSBC bank estimates that by the end of this decade it will be around US$10 or US$12,000. All of the United States’ interventions in the Middle East were aimed at pillaging the immense oil reserves of the countries in the region. Their involvement in the coup in Bolivia has a single purpose: lithium. A resource that is now strategic for the US military industrial sector requires the abandonment of all legal and ethical scruples, as was the case in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Consequently, massacring a defenseless people, burning the homes of Evo’s supporters, extorting them by kidnapping their relatives, abducting  and disappearing opponents, pursuing them like ferocious animals, and liquidating every source of independent information is part of the repertoire of policies that the empire and its lackeys: Áñez, Murillo, Camacho, Mesa apply and will continue to implement in the foreseeable future unless a huge popular insurrection puts an end to this nefarious regime. Among these policies is the persistent persecution of senior officials of the government of Evo who have taken refuge in the Mexican embassy in La Paz and are denied safe conduct to leave the country without detriment to their physical integrity. They are Government Minister Juan Ramón Quintana; the intellectual and former minister Hugo Moldiz; the Minister of Culture Wilma Alanoca; the governor of Oruro Victor Hugo Vázquez; the director of e-government Nicolás Laguna; the Minister of Defense Javier Zavaleta; the Minister of Justice Héctor Arce, the Minister of Mining Félix César Navarro, and the Deputy Minister of Rural and Agricultural Development Pedro Damián Dorado.

This brutal dictatorship established by the White House and its baleful cronies are acting like mafias: capturing hostages so that they can commit their evil deeds unhindered. It is crucial that international pressure forces the satraps installed in La Paz to cease this practice. Human rights organizations from all over the world, private as well as public, including the United Nations agencies, must exert pressure on the coup leaders to end political persecution and grant safe conduct to those who require it. Furthermore, they should make it known to Áñez and her gang that their crimes will not go unpunished, and that sooner or later they will have to account for them before a court. And their punishment, we are confident, will be exemplary.

Translation by Internationalist 360°