Bolivia: the Right Hastens the Coup against Evo Morales

By Marco Teruggi on November 10, 2019

Bolivia has entered the final moments before an outcome of a complex sequence of events. The possibility of reaching an agreement has been buried after the right ignored the call made by President Evo Morales to constitute a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal and call for new general elections.

The response led by Fernando Camacho, the main leader of the escalating coup, left no room for doubt: he demanded that Evo Morales, the senators, deputies, members of the Court of Justice, the Electoral Tribunal, resign, create a transitional government board and call for elections within 60 days.

At his side was the leader of the Civic Committee of Potosí, Antonio Pumari, who asked the Army “to get out there once and for all, and if they do not have the capacity to do so, than give us the weapons.”

The escalation to overthrow Morales thus entered the point of no return: those who lead the coup d’état plan have closed all doors, even those that they originally asked for, as was the case for new general elections.

Thus the president’s call, given after meeting with the Central Obrero Boliviana (COB) and the National Coordinator for Change, and a few minutes after knowing the result of the audit of the Organization of American States (OAS), fell into the political vacuum.

Indeed, the OAS reported that the October 20 electoral process had had irregularities in several aspects, so it could not be said that Morales had won in the first round. Faced with this, the organization’s call was to hold new elections in the country.

It was clear, however, that the plan headed by Camacho, and secondly by Carlos Mesa, never had the objective of achieving a second round of elections, nor new elections, but rather it was an attempt at a coup d’état from the ground up.

Police riot and violent actions

In that context, events accelerated rapidly over the past 48 hours. The breaking point in the relationship of forces was the mutiny of different units of the Bolivian National Police, which began in several cities of the country until it reached the center of La Paz. Thus, the epicenter of national political power was freed to be taken by opposition groups.

Along with that there was an escalation of violent actions against state media, such as Bolivia TV and Radio Patria Nueva, as well as against leaders; the houses of the governors of Chuquisaca and Oruro, as well as Evo Morales’ sister, Ester Morales Ayma, were burned down.

The chaining of the pieces did not stop and continues in the construction of a painting that seems to leave Evo Morales in ever greater solitude. One of those elements was the declaration of Juan Carlos Huarachi, leader of the COB, who called on the “comrade president” to take on the “responsibility of resigning if it is necessary to pacify the Bolivian people.”

Along with that taking place, during the course of Sunday the resignation of the Minister of Mining, César Navarro, after he denounced that his house was attacked, the resignation of the Minister of Hydrocarbons, Luis Sánchez, and that of Congressman David Ramos after his house was taken.

The right is mobilized and the Armed Forces are playing their chips.

The hours have become a succession of accelerating events. The right has called to mobilize to meet those who come from Potosí to La Paz. That could mean a scenario of confrontation in El Alto, where those who support Evo have mobilized since Saturday night.

As for the Bolivian Armed Forces, one of the central factors of a possible outcome, Evo Morales said in the morning hours: “I have no problem with the Armed Forces, we are not going to take them out into the streets, they have other tasks, against drug trafficking, smuggling.

In the afternoon, the Bolivian Armed Forces read a communiqué in which they announced “the beginning of military operations to neutralize armed groups that are acting outside the law. Minutes later Camacho publicly thanked the National Police, as well as the Armed Forces and, in particular, General Kaliman.

Bolivia seems to have entered into some defining moments of in the escalation led nationally by Camacho and the block that he has managed to coalesce around him, with the support of the United States. The continent is facing a coup d’état that gathers strength and advances towards a possible final assault. The next few hours will be key to seeing the evolution of a scenario that threatens to undermine democracy in Bolivia.

Source: Pagina 12, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau