Stop the coup; defend President Evo Morales. Hands off Bolivia!

As Latin America’s masses struggle to throw off the yoke of imperialist control, the US has intervened once more to overthrow a popular government.

Party statement

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The CPGB-ML strongly condemns the coup that took place yesterday, 10 November, in Bolivia, where army chiefs forced elected president Evo Morales to resign, with a warrant for his arrest being issued a few hours afterwards.

The apparent leader of the coup is a prominent representative of wealthy Santa Cruz capitalists, bible thumper Luis Fernando Camacho, and in recent days its organisers have been sending fascist gangs around the country to terrorise members of the government and of the party of government, Movimiento al Socialismo (the Movement for Socialism) and their families.

Meanwhile, the army and police have sided with the perpetrators of the coup, just as they did in 1975 in Chile, when the popular elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown under the direction of US imperialism.

We send greetings to President Evo Morales of Bolivia and wish to express our party’s full support for him as president of his country and for his right to occupy that position, earned through tireless and intelligent labour to improve the living conditions of the Bolivian masses over the last 13 years.

In our view, he remains the legitimate elected president of his country, notwithstanding his forced resignation, and certainly has every right to stand to be re-elected in the re-run of the presidential elections.

He has called this re-run at the request of the treacherous US-controlled Organisation of American States (OAS), which, without producing a shred of evidence, has questioned the validity of the results of the 20 October election won by President Morales by a wide margin.

However, it is now clear he will be prevented from standing, if indeed the election is held at all.

With the backing of his party, Evo Morales has been exceptionally successful in achieving his aims, as even his enemies are forced to acknowledge. This, for instance, is what the Washington Post has written:

“Thirteen years after his Movement for Socialism won at the ballot box, it’s indisputable that Bolivians are healthier, wealthier, better educated, living longer and more equal than at any time in this South American nation’s history …

“Using cash from the natural gas industry wrung from foreign investors – most of whom nevertheless remained profitable and have stayed in Bolivia – Morales’s government lifted up neighbourhoods such as Huancané, an enclave of more than 3,000 working-class indigenous people transformed by government investment.

“With new stone roads, the neighbourhood is now accessible by minibus, connecting residents to the world’s highest mass transit system – the aerial cable cars.”

Before Morales came to power, vast amounts of Bolivia’s wealth were channelled towards imperialist multinationals by well-rewarded local magnates. But under Morales’s leadership, the Bolivian people were able to put a stop to this daylight robbery, so that a far greater proportion of the country’s wealth could be directed towards benefiting the masses of the people.

Social spending by the government has reduced extreme poverty by more than half. Roads, schools and hospitals have been built throughout the country, and welfare funds are distributed to help the most vulnerable.

Per capita income has increased threefold, and social inequality has diminished dramatically. At the same time, the economy has grown at twice the rate of the Latin-American average.

It is no wonder then that the Morales government is highly popular with the people of Bolivia, especially the indigenous population, who had previously never had the opportunities they have now to lift themselves out of poverty and backwardness.

Of course, the Morales government has never been popular with the imperialists, at whose expense the Bolivian people have been thriving. Throughout his tenure of office, US imperialism has tirelessly sought to mobilise disaffected sections of Bolivian society – the compradors and their hangers-on, who have of course lost out under the new dispensation – to try to bring about regime change, so far with no success.

However, as a capitalist economy, Bolivia is not exempt from the ravages of the world economic crisis, and it is a fact that demand has been falling for Bolivia’s main exports, especially gas, resulting in price reductions on the world market and reduced government income.

Imperialism has seized upon those aggrieved by the necessary consequences of this to renew its efforts at regime change.

Although the compradors and the aggrieved together only make up a minority of the population, they are, with the covert backing of imperialist NGOs, able to threaten the country’s normal functioning with violent demonstrations, involving the destruction of government property and acts of extreme violence against government supporters, including the burning of their homes.

In response to this, millions of Bolivian people have come out on the streets to demonstrate their support for their government and for their president, which needless to say receives little attention from the imperialist media, which prefer to focus on the mayhem caused by the counter-revolutionary forces.

There is no doubt that if imperialism is able to re-impose a government servile to imperialist interests onto them, the Bolivian people stand to lose all or most of what they have gained in the last 13 years.

For this reason we join all progressive people in demanding:

Respect the result of the October 20 election; no interference in the re-run election; let the Bolivian masses be their own election monitors!

Bolivia’s wealth belongs to the Bolivian people!
Hands off Bolivia!