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On Bolivia: Four Provocations for the International Left

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/17/bolivia-four-provocations-international-left

An article that does try to answer questions rather than repeat the mantra of the “anti-imperialists”

Yes Morales credibility should be questioned. Common Dreams recently carried this article on his eco-policies

and here

But nor can we fall for the mainstream media’s depiction of the anti-coup protesters all being pro-Morales

Despite the limitations of bourgeois democracy we have to defend it both against its usurpation by unconstitutional process such as a coup but also by the perversion of the constitution by extending the rule of political leaders.

Morales was indeed beneficial for Bolivia is not in dispute and the gains achieved by the poor will disappear

2006 13,0%
2018 2,4%

2006 9,2%
2018 4,1%

2006 60,6%
2018 34,6%

Extreme poverty
2006 38,2%
2018 15,2%


Frankly, I am not impressed. Where is this “international left” that Winiecki purports to address? Could he just mean individuals with opinions?

Whoever he addresses, while we may be thankful that some appreciation of complexity has entered international discourse, he abuses it here. Of course a coup is not simply a coup, given that it happens in a complex world of interdependencies, and each coup has its own particularities. That is not a special feature of this coup: that is how they all are. Of course Evo Morales is not a unidimensional cartoon leftist hero. He is a popular elected official; as such, his decisions in office might have been better or worse. Again, that is true of every popular elected official.

But this is not less a coup for all that. It is not partly a coup, and it is not a kindasorta couip: it is a particular coup d’etat. The world is not itself foggy or grey or pastel for its complexity. The people who will get shot or imprisoned to keep the coup in place will not be vaguely coerced.

Wikiecki is completely correct that fundamental structures of society need be addressed, and that Evo Morales did not address all of these all the time. But central structures to change in this are paramilitary invaders at the behest of the US and European-based international capital.

These must be resisted wherever any progress at a large or national level is to be attained.


Well said. You cannot continue to take an allowance from the same people who have a holstered gun on their hip. This never works.
Anez and her backers will soon enough have the people in bread lines while the security forces are supplied with international loans to buy more war machinery. Her Bible will not be able to replicate in real time the story of loaves and fishes aplenty.
Another type of hell in real time will ensue.
That is the course her backers will never admit to, of course. They will plunder and leave her true believers " holding the bag. "
Same as it ever was.


Agreed that there are things Morales might have done differently. A few other observations…

The referendum on running for a fourth term was Feb 21, 2016, not 2018 as indicated. Further, in 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the term limit violated the president’s human rights so a legal process had been followed.

Evo Morales did not so much “get into power” in 2005; he was democratically elected in 2005 and took office in 2006.

True, there’s a kind of turning point here. But talking about “the fall of the last surviving leader” of the “pink tide” is a bit dramatic for me. The left in Latin America is continually resurgent and evolving as the recent election of left-leaning leaders in Mexico, Panama, and Argentina suggests. We’re also seeing the effects of broad-based social movements in Ecuador and Chile.

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The writer is clearly not a left progressive but another “middle of the road ‘let’s not move too quickly guy”. For me the fact that Bolivia, under his democratically elected leadership, being incessantly hounded by an organized right wing CIA supported network, still reduced poverty by well more than half, is the real story. He took a poor country ravaged by the few White European descendants at the top keeping the masses unrepresented and suffering and made the cou try’s resources work for the people. He worked with what he had as quickly as possible and… it worked…
Of course he wasn’t perfect. No rightie or moderate will ever answer my question as to why the left must act perfectly in all cases but the right and middle can basically do anything to anyone without reproach or at worst the mildest of critiques…
As to partially destroying the relatively small piece of Amazonia in Bolivia from what I have read about his motivation for allowing this it was more desperation than greed and something he felt he had no choice… unlike Brazil …

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Way to leave the most important part for last. Were you hoping no one would read your screed that far?
As far as I am concerned any leader who relieves poverty by well over half is who I want in power … would that we would have someone like Morales here…

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“You cannot continue to take an allowance from the same people who have a holstered gun on their hip.”

Chisel that in stone!

If I wanted to read this type of flawed, biased opinion I would just as well read the NYT, the Washington Post, or watch MSNBC.

The reality is that Morales won the election, evidently by more than 10%. Does anything else matter? Do we only support democracy where it leads to policies that we approve of?
The criticism of Morales’ governing might very well be reasonable, but the judge, the Bolivian people have decided that they want him to continue in office.
Interestingly very similar criticisms were aimed at Ecuador’s Correa who did not run for re-election-though he would certainly have won it- and found that his old friend, pledged to carry on the policies that he had approved of as V-P, Lenin Moreno had been bought. So that not only were all the gains of the Correa presidency jeopardised, the treasury debauched and the US invited to set up military bases again, but Correa himself was prosecuted, on spurious grounds, for corruption.
Something very similar happened in Brazil where Lula stood down, for a term, and found his replacement was easily hustled out of office in totally phony impeachment proceedings. Then, when he decided to run again he was put in jail, to prevent him from being elected. Again the legal grounds were farcical and the campaign against him, in which the DoJ cooperated was a criminal conspiracy.
WE could ho on: the Macri regime in Argentina, recently terminated, began with despicable charges against Kirchner Gonzalez, sponsored by the Israeli Embassy- she was accused of working with hezbollah to blow up a Jewish community centre, a couple of libels that go far beyond the bounds of credulity.
And Winiecki suggests that he should have stood down. In fact he did. After winning the election and showing that he was unafraid of a forensic audit of its results, he resigned and indicated that he or another MAS candidate would be happy to run again in an internationally supervised election.
Mr Winiecki owes it to himself to confess that the result of this unprecedented self sacrifice is that he has been charged with crimes, his party, which has a two thirds majority in the legislature, is being persecuted, hounded by death squads and gangsters and will almost certainly be banned from running in any future election.
Mr Winiecki is perhaps too youing to remember what happened in Haiti to President Aristide. He should look it up.

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Did people not read the article? The whole point of it is that if you don’t want this to happen again the left has to be willing to learn from its mistakes. Allowing a party of leader to grow authoritarian will undermine its socio-economic project.