Day 2 of the civic-military coup in Bolivia

Evo Morales was forced to resign amid escalating violence and on Monday night he left the country for Mexico where he was given political asylum

November 13, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Bolivia protest against coup

Bolivian people have taken to the streets to resist the civic-military coup d’état carried out against President Evo Morales and Vice-President Alvaro García Linera which culminated in their forced resignation on Sunday November 10. Due to serious threats to their physical integrity and safety and the escalation of violence and intimidation, Morales and García Linera were forced to leave the country on Monday November 11. They travelled to Mexico, which offered them political asylum on Sunday, and has been an important political counterweight to the open approval of the coup by right-wing governments.

The majority Indigenous city of El Alto, next to the capital La Paz, has been the central force of the resistance to the coup where members of Indigenous organizations, social movements, trade unions, and community organizations have manifested their complete support to President Evo Morales and the process of change. They have also rejected the racist violence perpetuated by the right-wing opposition. Since Monday, inhabitants of El Alto as well as people from other regions have marched on Bolivia’s political capital La Paz in order to despute the territory currently occupied by pro-coup right-wing groups and security forces.

Anti-coup protesters have given right-wing leaders such as Fernando Camacho a 48-hour deadline to leave the capital La Paz. The Executive Committee of the United Trade Union Confederation of Bolivia (CSUTCB), declared their complete rejection of the coup and announced that in their mobilization to the capital their aim is to drive the violent right-wing out of the city. They wrote in a document “The CSUTCB instructs the nine departmental federations and the 26 regionals, to close in La Paz, and give a 48-hour ultimatum to Fernando Camacho so that he retreats along with his violent hired people of the Youth Union of Santa Cruz, if he does not, they will be responsible for all of the actions that occur.”

The Trade Union Confederation of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia has also called on the people to engage in a permanent mobilization against the violence and the coup perpetrated against the president.

The Bolivia security forces, who backed the coup, have been brutally repressing the protests in support of Evo. Organizations have denounced that security forces have fired live bullets on protesters and have shot at protesters from helicopters. This violence has already cost several lives, the official numbers are not available yet but some estimate at least 3 deaths, and many people have been gravely injured.

Meanwhile, the violence against protesters and their brave resistance to the military coup has been silenced by mainstream media within Bolivia and the region.

The desecration of the Indigenous symbol, the Wiphala, one of the official symbols of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, has also been a central driving factor in the indignation of the people. Following the coup, several videos circulated of national security officials cutting the Wiphala flag out of their uniforms, and on November 10, right-wing opposition forces removed this flag from the government palace and burned it on the street. These acts of racist, colonial violence were symbolic of the nature of the coup. Shortly after Morales announced his resignation from Cochabamba, opposition leader Camacho entered the seat of government with a bible in hand and declared that “God has returned to the palace”.

Asylum in Mexico

On November 12, Morales confirmed that him and his family and Alvaro García Linera had arrived safely in Mexico where they were offered political asylum amid the coup.

The Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, announced on November 10 that their government had decided to grant Morales “political asylum for humanitarian reasons,” given the risk to his life and freedom in the country, following the civic-military coup d’état perpetrated against his democratically elected government on November 10.

Through his twitter account, Morales informed that he was “leaving for Mexico”. He thanked the Mexican government for protecting him and vowed to come back to his country “stronger and more energetic.”

“Sisters and brothers, I am leaving for Mexico, grateful to the generosity of the government of this brother nation that gave us asylum to protect our lives. It hurts me to leave the country for political reasons, but I will always keep an eye [on what happens in the country],” tweeted Morales.

Bolivia’s Guaidó 

On Tuesday November 12, in a session of Congress that met without quorum, right-wing legislator Jeanina Áñez declared herself “interim president” of Bolivia. The move is in a complete violation of the Bolivian constitution, legislative rules and Bolivia’s democracy. It is a clear repetition of the action of Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó, who was also accompanied by the violent right-wing opposition guarimba groups but has been unsuccessful in successfully ousting Nicolás Maduro.

The world is with Evo

Social movements, politicians, political parties and academics from across the globe, have continued in their condemnation of the civic-military coup carried out against Morales’ government. This includes Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Argentine President Elect Alberto Fernandez, Former Brazilian President Lula de Silva, Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, UK’s labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the governments of Nicaragua, Syria and Uruguay, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leftist academic Noam Chomsky, Marxist intellectual and director of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research Vijay Prashad, Roger Waters, and dozens more.

US legislators Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar also condemned the coup and expressed their solidarity with the Bolivian people in their struggle for the defense of their sovereignty, their democracy and their right to live in peace.

Mexican President AMLO, in addition to expressing his condemnation of the coup, announced that he would request an urgent meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) for its silence before the coup that took place in Bolivia against the constitutional government of Evo Morales.

On November 11, massive protests in solidarity with the Bolivian people and against the unconstitutional interruption of Morales’ mandate were carried out in Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama.