News Release

Bolivian Coup Targeting Indigenous People

Right-wing politician Jeanine Añez Chavez, upon declaring herself president of Bolivia, pronounced that “the Bible has returned to the government palace.”

AP reports that “Bolivia’s Evo Morales called for the United Nations, and possibly Pope Francis, to mediate in the Andean nation’s political crisis following his ouster as president in what he called a coup d’etat that forced him into exile in Mexico.”

See Twitter list on Bolivia for latest, including developing protests and the coup government minister of communication attempting to prohibit people who have sought refugee in the Mexican embassy from making political statements.

ANDRÉS ARAUZ, [in Mexico City] andres.arauz at comunidad.unam.mx, @ecuarauz
Also via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @Dan_Beeton
Arauz is a former Ecuadorian central bank official and a PhD candidate at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. As a senior research fellow with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, he has closely tracked the recent Bolivian election and events since. See the group’s recent work on Bolivia.

The group did a statistical analysis of the recent election — before the coup — and found that Evo Morales did indeed win. This has since been backed up by an analysis done by Walter R. Mebane of the Department of Political Science and Department of Statistics at the University of Michigan.

KATHRYN LEDEBUR, kath.ledebur at gmail.com, @AndeanInfoNet
Ledebur is director of the Andean Information Network in Cochabamba and researcher, activist, and analyst with over two decades of experience in Bolivia. In her recent interview with The Real News, she stated: “It’s important to note that the OAS audit results stated clearly that Morales should finish his elected mandate until January 21 of 2020 and that the Bolivian constitution be respected. The opposition forces didn’t do this. And attacks on MAS [Movement Toward Socialism — the party that Morales was part of] officials, burnings of their homes, of ministers, of members of congress; attacks on family members; sacking, looting, threats, showed that their demand was not focused on a new election or a democratic demand, but in destabilization.”

See Jacquelyn Kovarik in The Nation from Bolivia: “Bolivia’s Anti-Indigenous Backlash Is Growing.” She writes: “Bolivia’s far right has exploited the power vacuum and stoked anti-indigenous sentiment. Since Morales’s resignation, many officials down the line of succession for the country’s presidency have resigned as well, to protect themselves and their families, leaving Jeanine Añez Chavez, a conservative opposition leader and second vice president of the Senate, poised to take over Bolivia’s presidency. (Añez is married to a leader of a Colombian conservative party with historic ties to paramilitary groups.) Luis Fernando Camacho, a right-wing evangelical lawyer from Santa Cruz who has largely led the opposition movement over the last three weeks, has spouted extremely violent and xenophobic rhetoric, to the point that he’s been dubbed the ‘Bolsonaro of Bolivia.’ After Morales’s resignation, Camacho entered the government palace in La Paz, and placed a Bible on the Bolivian flag. The pastor by his side then said that the Pachamama (the Andean Mother Earth goddess) will ‘never return to Bolivia. Bolivia belongs to God.’ …

“On Monday, Morales loyalists started burning police stations in El Alto, an act of retaliation after the police mutiny, but also in response to lowering and burning of the Whipala flag — which represents dozens of indigenous groups in Bolivia and throughout the Andes — by police forces at the Legislative Assembly in La Paz. (In 2009, Morales had instituted the Whipala as Bolivia’s second national flag.) Police personnel across other cities followed suit, ripping off and cutting [the] patch containing the Whipala flag out of their uniforms.”