Bolivian masses face down racism and reaction

Bolivia’s working class and in­dig­enous majority are once again being forced to mobilise in support of the country’s progressive government. Since 20 October, the far-right forces based in the prosperous province of Santa Cruz – the same forces that led the 2019 coup against socialist President Evo Morales in 2019 – are attempting to stir up a new coup against his successor Luis Arce. The neo-fascist Pro-Santa Cruz Committee is using the pretext of a delayed national census to whip up reaction and attempt to cripple the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government economically.


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Defend Bolivian democracy!

Coup leader Jeanine Anez enters Milaflores prison

Statement by Miriam Amancay COLQUE, indigenous activist and Bartolina Sisa Resistance spokesperson in Britain.

On 15 June 2022, Bolivia’s former self-declared president Jeanine Anez was sentenced to ten years in prison for her part in the November 2019 US-backed coup against socialist President Evo Morales. The former Commander of the Armed Forces, William Kaliman and former Police Commander Vladimir Yuri Calderon were sentenced in absentia for their roles, having fled justice when Morales’ party, Movement Towards Socialism, was returned to power in the 2020 election.


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Bolivia: masses mobilise against counter-revolutionary strike

On 8 November 2021, exactly one year after Bolivia’s socialist president Luis Arce took office after defeating the coup government, reactionary elements in the departments of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz launched a strike designed to topple him. The action, led by the far-right Santa Cruz Civic Committee, was ostensibly a protest against a new law targeting illicit profits and the financing of terrorism. But its leader Romulo Calvo was clear: ‘the government of Lucho Arce must be overthrown’. Despite the repeal of the law after days of violence, road blocks and destabilisation by the ‘Strike Committee’, Calvo has vowed that the sabotage and actions will continue. But the indigenous communities and rural poor are mobilising in their hundreds of thousands to defend the progressive MAS government and Arce has made it clear: ‘We will not allow another coup’.


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Bolivian working class hold coup leaders to account

Bolivian people hold up placard 'Prison for the murderer coup-maker!!!'

The furore over the 14 March arrest and detention of Bolivia’s former coup president, Jeanine Anez, on charges of sedition and conspiracy, has once again exposed the hypocrisy and lies of the imperialists and their servile bourgeois press. Anez - who proclaimed herself president following the imperialist-backed coup of November 2019 – presided over a year of terror and repression in which at least 36 people were killed and hundreds wounded at the hands of the security forces, and thousands more rounded up, tortured and imprisoned. Yet the coup-monger is portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful state, her crimes glossed over.


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Bolivia: the people take back power

Luis Arce

On 8 November 2020, Luis Arce, the progressive candidate of Bolivia’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), was sworn in as president, following a landslide victory in October’s election.* The following day, the former socialist president Evo Morales returned from exile, to be met by ecstatic crowds of predominantly indigenous supporters who filled the streets to welcome him home. These events cement the victory, for the moment at least, of the indigenous and working class people of Bolivia over the imperialist-backed fascist coup.


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Movement Towards Socialism wins landslide victory in Bolivian election

Luis Arce, the MAS presidential candidate

On 18 October 2020, Bolivia’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won a landslide victory in the country’s long-delayed elections. The sustained struggle of Bolivia’s working class and indigenous communities ensured that the election not only went ahead, but delivered such an unassailable lead for the socialist presidential candidate that the coup leaders and their imperialist backers were forced, temporarily at least, to concede defeat. The result is also a resounding vindication of the electoral victory last year of MAS President, Evo Morales, in the face of efforts by the imperialists, the right-wing coup leaders and the bourgeois media worldwide to fabricate fraud allegations as a pretext for forcing him from office. It is those mass popular mobilisations which will now be crucial in ensuring that victory at the ballot box translates into real gains for Bolivia’s working class and rural poor.


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Bolivia: coup government blinks ahead of October election

Rally for Evo Morales, Buenos Aires November 2019

As the much-delayed Bolivian election approaches, and with the presidential candidate of Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) way ahead in the polls, the right-wing coup government that seized power a year ago is panicking. The mass mobilisation of the Bolivian working class has blocked any hope of postponing the vote for a fourth time, and so it is resorting to every dirty trick in the book to attempt to maintain its illegitimate hold on power. 


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Bolivia coup government suspends elections – again

Bolivians protest for democracy, health and education 14 July 2020

By mid-July, Bolivia’s healthcare system was on the brink of collapse, with 20 out of 34 hospitals closed due to a lack of medical staff and equipment. In just five days, police recovered 420 bodies of victims of Covid-19 from the streets of the country’s largest cities, La Paz and Santa Cruz. In Cochabamba, corpses were laid out in black bin bags, or boxed up in cardboard coffins produced by fruit packing companies as crematoriums were overwhelmed. The main centre for coronavirus testing declared a state of emergency. The coup government, flailing in the midst of a political and health crisis it is unwilling and unable to resolve democratically, has used the crisis to perpetuate its illegitimate rule; on 23 July the ‘interim’ coup president Jeanine Añez – herself a victim of the virus – declared that elections would be postponed once again, this time until 18 October. CASSANDRA HOWARTH reports.

Death and dereliction

By 23 July, Bolivia had recorded more than 60,000 cases of Covid-19 infection and 2,300 deaths (with the real figure much higher), in a country of 11 million people. While socialist Cuba, with a similar population, has controlled the spread of the virus (see p10), in Bolivia the pandemic is not expected to peak until September. The actions of Bolivia’s neoliberal coup government have, inevitably, created an economic and health crisis borne overwhelmingly by the working class and indigenous communities. Six medical societies have resigned from the government advisory board in protest at its inadequate measures. Hundreds of medical professionals have tested positive after being sent into Covid-19 wards without protective gear. Since mid-June hospitals across the country have had to refuse new patients. On 17 July in El Alto police used teargas to disperse residents protesting about the dumping of corpses in landfill. Luis Arce Catacora, the presidential candidate for the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) of former president Evo Morales, has repeatedly called for Bolivia to accept help from Cuban medical teams – after those working in the country were expelled by the coup government last year.

A coup within a coup

Rather than address the growing needs of an impoverished and increasingly desperate working class, Bolivia’s right-wing is using the crisis to consolidate its grip on power. Elections due in May were postponed until August, then September and now October. Arce, the MAS candidate, is way ahead in the polls on 41% – enough to win an outright victory and more than double the pro-US ‘centrist’ Carlos Mesa, who lost against Morales last October; Añez is barely scraping 13%. Her illegitimate government, and the elite right wing (and predominantly white) sections of the electorate it represents, have no intention of holding an election they cannot possibly win. The neo-fascist Civic Committee of Santa Cruz called for elections to be cancelled altogether, while coup-monger Luis Camacho appealed to the Organisation of American States (OAS) to prevent them becoming ‘an act of resurrection’ for MAS. The OAS is an imperialist proxy that played a key role in manufacturing accusations of fraud against Morales in October 2019 and precipitating the coup against his government. Añez’s party has called for Arce to be banned from standing, and is putting pressure on the electoral council to ban MAS altogether as a political party. A number of MAS politicians, as well as community leaders and journalists, have been arrested, teargassed, beaten and intimidated.

Meanwhile, a second coup has been taking place within Bolivia’s elected legislative assembly, which is majority MAS. On 22 July, the coup government illegally forced through promotions for dozens of army generals, following the blatant intimidation of the assembly in May, when troops in full military gear stormed the building and threatened legislators, giving them one week to approve the reorganisation and promotion of the military. The Interior Minister threatened to jail any MAS senator who did not comply. The reorganisation will serve to protect the military before investigations into the November 2019 massacres against pro-Morales protesters in Senkata, Sacaba and Oyejuyo begin. Activists and union leaders have warned that the broader intention is to establish a full military-backed dictatorship ahead of any elections.

In the words of Valeria Silva Guzmán, a former MAS congresswoman now claiming asylum in Mexico, ‘the installation of the Añez government has been marked by the blood of Bolivians. Deaths, prison, repression, political persecution … it’s basically a regime of terror.’

Working class announces ‘indefinite mobilisation’

Throughout the crisis, the Bolivian working class and indigenous organisations have mobilised against the coup government, despite brutal police repression. During the harsh lock­down restrictions in March, communities faced down the security forces to demand water, food and healthcare, and many working-class organisations were instrumental in the distribution of food to the poorest. Since the easing of lockdown measures in June, there have been constant mobilisations to defend workers’ rights. In one dispute, residents and workers blocked access to the largest rubbish tip in Cochabamba. The government cut off the water supply and police and army used tear gas and bullets but the blockade did not end until 11 July when the local authorities agreed to the protesters’ demands. On 8 July teachers’ unions, campesino workers’ organisations and other social movements blocked the streets of La Paz in protest against the fact that the ‘virtual education’ planned for students during the pandemic discriminated against the rural poor; they burned a coffin representing the coup Education Minister and demanded his resignation. On 14 July, the country’s labour federation, COB, organised a national protest for ‘democracy, health and education’ in response to the privatisation of education and healthcare. Rural teachers marched for days to join the protests.

Now Bolivia’s working class and indigenous organisations, including the powerful campesino unions of the Tropico – who fought to restore Morales to power last November and are veterans of the massacre at Sacaba – have warned the regime that unless it reverses its decision to postpone the election, it will face ‘indefinite mobilisations’ to restore democracy.

FIGHT RACISM! FIGHT IMPERIALISM! 277 August/September 2020


Bartolina Sisa Resistance: urgent call to action for the Seven

Clockwise from top left: Juan Ramon Quintana, Vilma Alanoca Mamani, Hugo Moldiz Mercado, Javier Zabaleta Lopez, Hector Arce Zaconeta, Nicolas Laguna, Victor Hugo Vasquez

Below we reprint a statement and call to action from Bartolina Sisa Resistance, a Bolivian solidarity organisation based in London.

Main article image Clockwise from top left: Juan Ramon Quintana, Vilma Alanoca Mamani, Hugo Moldiz Mercado, Javier Zabaleta Lopez, Hector Arce Zaconeta, Nicolas Laguna, Victor Hugo Vasquez


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Bolivia: coup-regime exploits virus to cling onto power

Indigenous protester with Wiphala

For Bolivia’s unelected coup-regime, the crisis has provided a timely excuse to postpone indefinitely a May election it knew it could not legitimately win. The fascist-led regime of self-appointed President Jeanine Añez was on borrowed time, with the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of Evo Morales surging ahead in pre-election polls and its own fraudulent power-grab last November now exposed by even the international bourgeois press. In response, the government has been stepping up repressive measures against members and supporters of MAS and manoeuvring with its US backers to rig the vote. What it could not win by fair means it was willing to win by foul – but now it does not have to, and is instead poised to cling onto power indefinitely. CASSANDRA HOWARTH reports.


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Bolivia: coup leaders manoeuvre to steal election

Former Communications Minister Roxanna Lizarraga (right) resigned in protest over Jeanine Anez (centre) running for president

On 22 January, hundreds of thousands of Bolivians flooded streets across the country in a show of support for the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of Evo Morales, and against the coup government of self-proclaimed president Jeanine Anez. The working class and peasantry continue to mobilise against the viciously right-wing coup forces, the persecution of activists, journalists and doctors, and sweeping privatisation. The coup regime is determined to suppress the popular movements ahead of new parliamentary and presidential elections called for 3 May. CASSANDRA HOWARTH reports.


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Coup in Bolivia: report on violations of human rights

Argentinian human rights delegation to Bolivia (image: People's Dispatch)

An Argentinian human rights delegation that visited Bolivia at the end of November, in the wake of the US-backed coup that overthrew President Evo Morales, has concluded that 'there is state terror in Bolivia'. We republish their findings, which include the murder of indigenous people, the use of torture, sexual assault and disappearances which have been used by the illegitimate government of Jeanine Anez to repress resistance.


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Bolivia: reaction, repression, resistance

In the weeks since the US-backed, right-wing coup in Bolivia began on 10 November, the illegitimate government of Jeanine Añez has shown its true colours. Within days it had launched a programme of repression and reaction, including a licence to kill for security forces, attacks on the media, rounding up key members of the governing Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of Evo Morales and promising the wholesale privatisation of public institutions. Yet it finds itself up against the mass resistance of the majority indigenous working class and campesinos who have blockaded major cities and oil refineries and forced the government to the negotiating table. As we go to press, it is yet to be seen how far this coup government will be able to push through its reactionary agenda before the new elections, for which no date has yet been set.


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COUP D'ÉTAT IN BOLIVIA - Statement by Bartolina Sisa Resistance

Bolivians in London demonstrate outside Downing Street on 11 November

Below we publish a statement by London-based Bolivian activist organisation Bartolina Sisa Resistance, received 11 November 2019.

For many years the extreme right in Bolivia, based in the oil and gas rich east of the country and very much controlled by the local large landowners, has been seeking to undermine the government of President Evo Morales and the Movement towards Socialism (MAS). They see themselves as the only rightful rulers, being the wealthiest in the country. They also consider themselves as the true descendants of the Spanish conquistadors, untainted by "Indian" blood.


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'The lion has awoken': indigenous people of Bolivia rise up against imperialist coup

Indigenous Bolivians march in La Paz, 14 November (photo: Zlatica Hoke)

In the days following the right-wing coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia on 10 November 2019, the indigenous masses have taken to the streets in their hundreds of thousands to defend their democratically elected president and the gains they have won under his Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government. CASSANDRA HOWARTH reports.


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Bolivia: reactionary offensive in run-up to election

MAS campaign centre in Santa Cruz is set on fire by the opposition (image: @camilateleSUR on Twitter)

In the run-up to Bolivia’s general election on 20 October, the international bourgeois press has gone on the offensive against the socialist government of Evo Morales, while an emboldened right-wing opposition, based in the wealthy and predominantly white department of Santa Cruz, has stepped up its attempts to destabilise the country.


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British media and Extinction Rebellion launch propaganda blitz against Bolivia’s progressive government

Novara Media/Evo Morales

On 26 August, Novara Media’s website published a vicious and reactionary article titled ‘It’s Not Just Brazil’s Forests That Are Burning, Bolivia Is on Fire Too’ by prominent Extinction Rebellion speaker and activist Claire Wordley. Novara and Wordley are recycling from the same imperialist playbook which has been drawn on in recent attacks against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua – the so-called Troika of Tyranny. The gist of Wordley’s article is that Bolivian President Evo Morales is to blame for the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest; that he is as ‘damaging as … the capitalists Morales claims to hate’; that he hasn’t responded to the fires effectively; and that when he has responded – such as by hiring a Boeing 747 Supertanker to douse the flames – he was forced to do so by ‘volunteer citizens’.

The Guardian and Independent promptly threw their weight behind this propaganda blitz: a 27 August opinion piece by Harriet Marsden in the Independent urges us to ‘look to Bolivia’, not Bolsonaro, when placing blame for the fires; and a 2 September Guardian headline tars Morales as a ‘murderer of nature’. This media offensive is evidently timed to try and exploit the Amazon fires to discredit Bolivia’s government in the run-up to the country’s general election on 20 October, in which Morales’ party Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) is expected to win a fourth term.


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Bolivia: US steps up efforts to undermine socialism in Latin America

While a wave of imperialist-backed reaction has swept across Latin America in the last decade, encompassing Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador to name just a few, Bolivia remains a beacon of hope for progress in Latin America, a staunch ally of those the United States attacks as a ‘Troika of Tyranny’ – Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. President Evo Morales, leader of Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) will be seeking a fourth term in office in October’s presidential election. Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, is currently leading in opinion polls and is expected to win with a comfortable majority. MAS has won every election since 2005, and in the primary election in January Morales received 36.54% of the votes, compared to 7.10% for his closest rival. However, the United States – which since 2002 has spent $97m funding opposition groups – is increasing efforts to undermine him in favour of the right-wing candidate, former president Carlos Mesa, who cosied up to the US during his presidency and was vice president when the state killed 60 people during the gas war of 2003.


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Bolivia: target of US imperialism

Bolivia's President Evo Morales heads a march of the COB (Bolivian Workers' Confederation) during a rally for re-election in 2019

Since coming to power in 2006, Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government has brought about profound economic, political and social changes in Bolivia, one of Latin America’s poorest and most exploited countries. SAM VINCENT reports.


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Bolivia: ten years of MAS

Ten years of the Movement Toward Socialism in government

Led by the government of Evo Morales and the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), Bolivia has undergone a profound transformation in the past ten years. The change is not just in the economic sphere, but in the shift of political power away from the traditional elite, the mostly white owners of industry and agriculture, and towards the majority, the mostly indigenous workers and campesinos.


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Bolivia: MAS re-elected to ‘govern by obeying’

Evo Morales and MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) have won a resounding victory in Bolivia’s general election which was held on 12 October 2014. Morales got 61% of the vote, way ahead of his closest rival, the cement magnate Samuel Medina with 24%. MAS also won 117 out of 130 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, an increase of 13, giving it well over the two-thirds majority it needs to amend the constitution. This is MAS’s third consecutive election victory and it now has majorities in eight of Bolivia’s nine regions, including Santa Cruz, the stronghold of the right wing opposition and the focal point of violent protests by secessionists in 2008.


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Bolivian elections - victory for Morales and MAS

Evo Morales President of Bolivia

Bolivia’s electoral court has confirmed the resounding victory won by Evo Morales and his party MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) in last Sunday’s Presidential and Congressional elections on 12 October 2014.

Morales won the presidency with 61% of the vote, way ahead of his closest rival, the cement magnate Samuel Medina (Democratic Unity -24%). MAS also won 117 out of 130 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, gaining 13 seats and ensuring that it has well over the two thirds majority it needs to continue its program of social investment and ‘Indigenous and cultural revolution’


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Bolivia: TIPNIS consultation approves new highway – Dec 2013

On 7 December 2012 a 5-month consultation about a proposed highway to be built through Bolivia’s Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) came to an end. Of the territory’s 69 indigenous communities, 55 approved the highway, three communities rejected the proposal and 11 refused to participate in the consultation.

TIPNIS is an area of more than 1 million hectares of forest in the centre of Bolivia. It is home to 12,000 people living in 69 separate communities. In 2009 Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government designated it ‘indigenous territory’.


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Bolivian elections – a defeat for imperialism

On 6 December 2009 the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) won a resounding victory in the Bolivian general election. Evo Morales took 64% of the presidential vote, with his closest rival, Manfred Reyes Villa, receiving just 26.4%. MAS won 88 out of 130 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and 26 out of 36 seats in the Senate. In winning more than two-thirds of the Senate seats, MAS now has the power to complete agrarian reform, nationalisation and investment in health, education and infrastructure which have until now been blocked by representatives of the ruling class.


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Bolivian Elections: A Defeat for Imperialism

masBOLIVIA, 6 DECEMBER 2009. Evo Morales, incumbent presidential candidate for Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement towards Socialism, MAS), has been returned as President of Bolivia with a landslide 62% of the vote. MAS also won 25 out of 36 seats in the Bolivian Senate, gaining the two-thirds majority necessary for approving constitutional changes, key legislation, and judicial appointments.

This victory will enable MAS to continue the programme of revolutionary change started when Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, came to power in December 2005.


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Bolivia: the masses will decide

Evo Morales’ landslide victory in the Bolivian presidential elections represents a significant set-back both for the ruling class and for imperialist interests in the country, and indeed across Latin America. Although some on the left have drawn pessimistic conclusions on the future from Morales’ ambivalent record in relation to the mass struggles of the past few years, it is the actions of the Bolivian masses that will be the deciding factor, together with the international support they receive, particularly from socialist Cuba and revolutionary Venezuela. ROBERT CLOUGH reports.

The scale of Morales’ victory was extraordinary. Opinion polls in the months leading up to the election on 18 December placed him in the lead, but with only about 35% of the vote, perhaps 5% ahead of his right-wing opponent, former World Bank economist Jorge Quiroga who had been a senior member of the government which privatised the Cochabamba water supplies in 1999. In the end Morales received 53.7% of the valid votes against Quiroga’s 28.6%. Even this figure masked the true extent of Morales’ support. Although there was an exceptional 85% turnout, the registered electorate numbered fewer than 3.7 million: up to 1.5 million indigenous people and therefore Morales’ supporters, were prevented from registering. In the poorer west of the country, La Paz, Morales won 66%, 62.6% in Oruro, and 64.8% in Cochabamba. In the richer east, Quiroga received the greater support: 45.3% versus 31.6% in Tarija, and 41.8% versus 33.2% in Santa Cruz. Despite a redistribution of seats favouring the east, Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) swept the board in congressional elections, winning an absolute majority in the lower house (72 out of 130 seats), and 12 out of 27 seats in the upper house.


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Bolivia challenges imperialism

In a move that stunned the imperialist world on May Day, President Evo Morales announced Decree 28701 nationalising Bolivia’s oil and gas industry. Whilst tens of thousands of demonstrators poured through the streets of La Paz with placards declaring ‘Nationalisation of hydrocarbons now’ and ‘Out with the looting transnational corporations’, Morales was in San Alberto gas field in Tarija province in the south east of the country, reading out Decree 28701.

In a simultaneous operation, troops entered 56 gas installations throughout the country and took over the offices of the principal foreign companies. Their purpose was to prevent key documents being removed by the multinationals in advance of any government audit of their accounts. Bolivia’s gas reserves, some 50 trillion cubic feet, are the second largest in South America and are worth an estimated $70 billion. Control of these resources is essential if they are to be used for the benefit of the Bolivian people: nationalisation is expected to increase the state’s income by $720 million per annum.

Since coming into office in January, Morales and his MAS government had not explained how they were going to implement key election promises. Indeed there were signals that they were prepared to consider a limited extension of public ownership and a more onerous tax and royalty regime for the oil and gas industry. However, as FRFI has pointed out, there are other forces at play.


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Bolivia: ‘I am a Marxist’: Morales challenges imperialism

When Bolivian President Evo Morales told the 7th Summit of the ALBA countries on 16 April that ‘I want to declare myself Marxist, Leninist, communist, socialist’ and dared the Organisation of American States (OAS) to expel him for this statement, he was not just expressing solidarity with Cuba, expelled by the OAS for ‘Marxism-Leninism’ in 1962, but showing how far he and the Bolivian revolution have travelled since his election in December 2005. The reactionary separatists in Santa Cruz and the wealthy east of the country have been unable to overcome the isolation that followed their failed civic coup of September 2008 (see FRFI 206). In developments during April and May:


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Bolivian masses on the march

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

On 17 October the Bolivian masses finally forced their president to resign after a huge uprising in which nearly 80 protesters were murdered by the Bolivian armed forces. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada presided over the bloodiest 14 months in contemporary Bolivian history. This recent month-long rebellion was the third massive revolt of the Bolivian population this year, the manifestation of the Bolivian people’s opposition to imperialist inspired policies. Fiona Donovan, Juanjo Rivas and Louis Brehony report.

Sánchez de Lozada was chosen by congress to be president in August 2002 following the election in June in which his coalition did not gain a sufficient majority of votes over Evo Morales and the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) (22% to 20.9% respectively) to take office, despite forming a last minute alliance with the opportunist Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). Sánchez de Lozada is a millionaire businessman who spent much of his life in the US and studied at the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish with an American accent earning him the popular nickname ‘El Gringo’. He directed the neoliberal policies established in Bolivia in 1985 (devised by the Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs), which marked Bolivia’s increasing subjection to the dictates of the World Bank, IMF and the US. This opened the way for the US to impose the eradication of Bolivia’s traditional coca crop, in the ‘War on Drugs’, a blatant excuse for direct military intervention in the Andean countries since the fall of the dictators at the end of the 1980s.


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Bolivia: battleground against imperialism

FRFI 177 February / March 2004

Millionaire Carlos Mesa has been President of Bolivia for three months, during which time he has broken every promise that he made in his first few days of office following the huge popular uprising in September/October that overthrew the Sanchez de Lozada administration. Mesa swiftly abandoned his declaration that he would call elections rapidly and he has since vowed to stay in post until 2007. The mass movements of Bolivia’s poor and disenfranchised, the majority of the population, did not take long to recognise Mesa’s administration as a continuation of the preceding neoliberal governments they fought so long and hard. A split has occurred, however, in the movement concerning how to eradicate and reverse the neoliberal policies that have afflicted and impoverished most Bolivians since 1985.


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