Translated by Red Star Publishers
The crisis unleashed in Bolivia is the result of the deterioration of the model of the “process of change” that came into power 13 years ago for the purpose of the profound transformation of our country. The anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist talk and the promise of regaining national sovereignty made the electoral victory Evo Morales possible. This took place after the 2000-2003 crisis, whose peak was the fatal repression by the Goni-Mesa government (Black October). Upon assuming the presidency in 2006, the MAS [Movement for Socialism – Morales’ party] government met with the oligarchic opposition entrenched in the Crescent Moon [area in eastern Bolivia that is the headquarters of the right-wing opposition – translator’s note] that took the country to the brink of a civic-regional government coup between 2008 and 2009.
This conflict quieted down after a series of pacts between the MAS government and the financial-landowner oligarchy within the framework of the new Political State Constitution, which allowed for a relatively peaceful coexistence of the oligarchy with the MAS for almost a decade. Favorable laws (Financial Services Law, Insurance Law, Investment Law, Ethanol Law, Decrees for clearing and “controlled” burning [of jungle area – translator’s note]) and juicy state contracts were characteristic of the joint work between the traditional oligarchy and the MAS government.
Discontent has accumulated among the popular sectors and the urban middle class due to the escalation of MAS policies that went hand in hand with a high degree of repression of the protest movements: the TIPNIS [Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory], the disabled, teachers, university students, ADEPCOCA coca growers, working children, Tariquía, Potosí, Achacachi and many other sectors were victims of the government and its mining policies and developmentalism aligned with the Chinese-Russian imperialist bloc. Besides these is the conglomeration of fundamentally middle class groups mobilized around the rejection of the results of the referendum of February 21, 2016 that made Morales ineligible to be a candidate. This discontent has led to a series of mass lobbies and protests, whose peak and point of unity was the “defense of the vote,” the rejection of the electoral fraud on October 20 and the demand for new elections. In the midst of these protests, the oligarchic civic leaders (primarily from Santa Cruz) have taken over the mounting protests with slogans of religious fanaticism and fascistic features. The main representative of this group is Fernando Camacho of the National Life Group (whose father was a political ally of Banzer during his dictatorship).
Led by the MAS, social organizations staged protests in “defense of the vote” that would have supposedly given Morales victory in the first round; these mobilizations ended in violent clashes between the two mobilized sides. Many of the organizations co-opted by the MAS through privileges, including the Bolivian Workers’ Federation [COB] itself, turned their backs on Evo during the afternoon. The “process of change,” instead of strengthening class consciousness and promoting combative organization, has given a lesson in rewarding and disorganizing the working classes, who today have no representative voice in the national conflict. There have been at least three dead and more than 150 wounded in the 19 days of strike, and the country is experiencing an escalation of violence and confrontations, with political persecution, burning and looting of union headquarters and houses, denigration, racism, discrimination, sexual abuse, humiliation and hatred.
On Friday, the Bolivian Police began to mutiny in various departments of the country, joining the demands of the opposition; on Sunday the Commander of the Armed Forces requested that the President resign. The repressive apparatus has rendered service to the highest bidder; its position does not represent support for “the people and democracy” as they demagogically proclaim, but the agreements reached with the financial oligarchy that is most rotten and servile to Yankee imperialism.
The OAS report, which was presented in the morning hours of Sunday, shows that there were irregularities in the electoral results, servers and software systems used by the Supreme Electoral Court; it recommended calling for new elections with a new Court. A few hours later Morales called a press conference to announce new elections and a new Court. With an escalating confrontation and violence, after 13 years of government, during the afternoon of November 10, 2019, Evo Morales Ayma and Alvaro Garcia Linera resigned from the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the State. The presidents of both houses of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly and other state authorities also resigned from their positions. The defeat of the MAS government after 13 years amid massive protests shows that there is no invincible government and this should serve as a lesson for the Bolivian people. However, those who have mounted the protests are the civic-military alliance together with the right-wing parties.
The high civic representatives entered the Quemado Palace [residence of the President] to wrap themselves in the tricolor flag and hide behind the bible, signaling the beginning of religious fanaticism supported by the State, and lowered the Wiphala (national symbol recognized by the CPE [State Political Constitution], Which represents the country’s indigenous struggles) on the podium of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly. These two acts make clear the thinking of those who today lead the “civic-military” movement to “regain democracy” at the expense of the mobilized people.
At this point, the Bolivian people are living in a state of psychological warfare through Whatsapp and social networks that are spreading fake news non-stop. Armed gangs are assaulting popular neighborhoods and commercial areas, burning houses of politicians and leaders, carrying out street attacks, dynamiting, burning public buses, cutting off water and electricity. This is creating a state of chaos in the absence of a formally constituted government. This situation is opening the door to the rise of fascistic tendencies that are direct representatives of the oligarchy that seeks to re-exercise direct control of the state apparatus.
For the left, today it is more than ever necessary to reflect on our mistakes and successes during the last 13 years, on the urgent need to build a true patriotic and popular alternative. We of the PCR call for the unity of the working classes, the peasants, students, youth, professionals, indigenous peoples, women, the LGBT community and all Bolivians who aspire to a more just future, to fight independently to consolidate a patriotic and popular alternative to this crisis that the country is experiencing, so that the fascistic civilians and the military do not take advantage of the mobilizations with their coup attempts, and for a true deepening of democracy in the country.
La Paz, November 10, 2019
Secretariat of the Central Committee, Revolutionary Communist Party