Bolivia: The Right is Trying Everything to Prevent Evo’s Re-election

By Sullkata M. Quilla on June 21, 2019

The Bolivian right-wing opposition, in disarray with arguing candidates and without capacity is trying all the tricks to prevent a triumph, which for now seems certain, of President Evo Morales in the next general elections on October 20.

Morales, 59, is the country’s first indigenous president, elected successively in 2005, 2009 and 2014. Bolivia is now one of the fastest-growing countries in South America, where extreme poverty falling from 36.7% to 15.2% between 2005 and 2018. On May 1, 2006, Morales nationalized the country’s hydrocarbon resources.

The president of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, warned that the opposition parties aim to “disable” the elections by requesting the resignation of members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), for alleged electoral fraud by irregularities registered in the voter registration process in the municipality of Riberalta, in Beni.

Opposition presidential candidate Carlos Mesa today carries the burden of his past as the vice-president of the worst government in the contemporary history of Bolivia. “I believe that his political past leaves very little room for him to give his moral opinion on how democracy was and how democracy is now,” said Manuel Canelas, Minister of Communication.

Meanwhile, the businessman and leader of the opposition National Unity (UN), Samuel Doria Medina, denied that Congressman Amilcar Barral, one of his inside political operators for several years, said that his relationship was only an alliance. Barral, along with his assistant Henry Gonzales, was arrested by the police when he received money allegedly for extortion from inmates in the San Pedro prison in La Paz.

The disputes between the political groups of Oscar Ortiz and Carlos Mesa, two opposition candidates who are still in the presidential race, raised their disputes in search of second place in the elections. The Ortiz organization, Bolivia Says No, accused Carlos Mesa’s Comunidad Ciudadana (CC) of starting a dirty war to disqualify Oscar Ortiz and Edwin Rodriguez, the vice presidential candidate of CC

The complaint is based on the action of Congresswoman Fernanda San Martín, who asked the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to cancel the legal status of the Bolivia Dice No alliance. According to the accusation, Rubén Costas said on June 7 -after the TSE issued the call for general elections- that “Mr. Carlos Mesa has dropped from 37 points to 27”.

Former President Jaime Paz Zamora (1989-1993) has already announced his resignation from the presidential candidacy of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) and explained that he tried to promote a generational change of candidates to parliament for the October 20 general elections; but “he came up against a wall”. Paz Zamora was president in alliance with Dictator Hugo Banzer Suárez, who made it possible for him to assume the position despite having occupied third place in the general elections.

The DEA operations

Back in September 2016, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, President Morales revealed that the US Drug Control Administration (DEA), when it was in Bolivia, only incinerated 50% of the drugs it seized, while the other 50% was used for its business, and affirmed that this US agency instructed the planning of assassinations of leaders in Bolivia.

The facts show that Bolivia, as in other countries of the world, is not immune to the operation of drug trafficking groups. But the series of cases discovered inside and outside the country, as the electoral season for the October 20 elections begins to heat up, opens at least the possibility that behind all of this is a plan that directly obeys the apparatus of the U.S. intelligence, whose experience in accumulating and/or manufacturing cases is very high.

The answer is not to ignore that Bolivia is a country in which drug trafficking is less than what happens in countries such as Mexico, Peru and Colombia but that does not mean it does not have a political effect. Therefore, a global strategy is required -police, politics, social and media- that is capable of giving hard blows to drug trafficking and of dismantling the political use against them. We are faced with a political and electoral strategy that has been well thought out and designed, which requires a global strategy putting the government in a position to define and carry out its elimination.

Electoral tourism

In the last few weeks, candidates Mesa and Ortiz agreed during their visits to Spain, the United States and Argentina. De Mesa traveled to the U.S., where he met with the business Council of the Americas and officials from international organizations.

Ortiz also traveled to the U.S. to have several meetings with residents in Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. The convergence of trips also occurred in Spain and Argentina, where both coincided in repeating that their campaigns are against the candidacy of Evo Morales.

Betty Yañíquez, national head of the MAS bench, warned that Mesa and Cárdenas, current presidential candidates, as well as Samuel Doria Medina, Jorge Quiroga, Jaime Paz Zamora and other opponents, are responsible for the economic damage suffered by Bolivia as a result of the alienation of strategic companies and natural resources during the period of government coalitions or the so-called agreed democracy.

Source: La Estrategia, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau