After three postponed elections, a date is
finally set after pressure from protests across the country. Why did Evo
step down? How did the conditions for the coup develop? Carlos Orias and Tony
Phillips join Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast produced in cooperation with
Paul Jay and welcome to theAnalysis.news podcast. This episode is produced in
collaboration with Other News. Other News is an international press platform
that disseminates analysis, insights and information about global issues in
English, Spanish and Italian. You can find it at other-news.info.
into Bolivia’s major cities are being blockaded by thousands of people
protesting the third postponement of national elections by a far right
government installed by a coup against the elected leader, Evo Morales.
pressured to resign on November 10th, 2019, and fly to Mexico and is now living
in Argentina. Why did Morales leave? What is the current balance of forces as the situation grows even tenser
amidst a raging COVID-19 surge? Now joining us to discuss the situation in
Bolivia, the general strike and blockade organized by indigenous groups across
the country and the National Workers Federation are, from Bolivia, Carlos
Orias. He’s a Bolivian journalist and editor since 1995. He’s worked at news
desks in two main newspapers in his country as foreign news editor, web editor
and multimedia chief editor at, El Deber, I’m sure I’m pronouncing that incorrectly,
in his hometown in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and as chief editor of La Razón, a
leading newspaper in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. And once Carlos joins
us, he can correct me on
all my butchering of these names. And joining us from Buenos Aires in Argentina
Phillips. He works as a journalist for, Other News in South America. He was a
delegate to the
Conference for the Defense of the Rights of Mother Earth and Cochabamba,
Bolivia in 2010,
he’s published three books, two on finance, one on climate, and he currently
climate change, energy and national debt dynamics in South America. Thank you
Thank you, Paul.
Carlos, what’s the situation on the streets and highways now? What is happening
in terms of
repression of the protests? Give
us a picture of the current situation and then we’ll get into how we got here.
Sure, sure. Paul, thank you. And Hello Tony. Thank you for the interview. It’s
really nice to talk
to you. This is a difficult time for Bolivia, again. We always used to live at
the edge of a cliff and
always pretending to be surprised, to be again at this point. And this is where we are right now, surprised
that we are again at this difficult moment. Today, the president of the
government, Jeanine Áñez, she has signed a law that has put a date on the
elections. They will be held on October 18th, 2020, that’s the date. This was done under pressure from
the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), the people that support the former President
Evo Morales, they are out in the highways of the country, blocking circulation
from town to town since maybe 10 days ago. And this situation and the response
by the government and other parts of the society has brought us to this point
of tensions, again, with the background of a lot of economic crisis due to the
closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
pretty much crisis on top of crisis. And it’s now clear that we have a
date for voting
again. And I think aside from
the tension, the political tension, and the speech that each side is
airing and showing, there’s a lot of political calculation, not just by the
government, but by all of the other candidates, including the MAS. Which, has,
I was telling you before the interview, has a very, very high possibility of
being the first party that voted in the election. So there’s a lot of tension
in the country around this, again. That’s pretty much the situation. And I hope that the election date on
October 18th will clarify some of the points that are at stake right now.
Now, this is the fourth date in the last few months, they keep postponing the
So is there any reason to think they’re actually going to keep this one?
Well, it is a law now. The president has signed it, so it’s supposed to be in
her interest, too.
She’s a candidate, and that’s been difficult for the government to have a
president and a
candidate who has to manage different levels of crisis, health crisis, public
crisis, and political crisis. So, yeah, we have lost one year of school. We had
only one month of
schools in February. Then schools closed, and now the government has closed the
year for this year. So it’s hitting us on different levels.
You see the
cities there, I can see my city from where I live, I can see a couple of
you see normality, you see a lot of cars, but there’s a lot of people really
being hit. And I think
poverty is going to return to the country, in the coming months, it’s going to
be really difficult.
That’s my perception, and that’s the situation.
Tony, I know you follow the situation in Bolivia quite closely. From what I
understood, both in
terms of reading the progressive media, but also even the business media, from
others, Evo Morales government was generally considered, I thought, to be doing
and that the economy was doing, compared at least too much of Latin America,
was doing fine
and compared to Venezuela and some of the other places with progressive
was kind of considered the success story. Was that true? Was the economy more
or less well
managed under Morales? And if so, then what happened?
And the economy in Bolivia was managed well for Bolivia. It was managed well for the people of Bolivia,
for the government of Bolivia. That is not necessarily the case for certain
private sectors where a lot of the certain parts of the system were
nationalized, so that did do well incomes for the government. It brought in
more taxes, those taxes were used for various things, but they were also used
to stabilize the economy and to give money to the poorer people. So in that
way, there was stability, there was inflation stability, there was political
stability he was re-elected and re-elected again. However, certain groups,
especially in the jungle regions, never really fully accepted Evo’s protagonism
as an indigenous leader.
Just pure racism, but also economics. They didn’t like, I guess, the policies
of, to some extent
I think nationalization was directed to hydrocarbons, so mostly gas that we
export to Argentina
and to Brazil. A lot of other areas were benefited by the economic politics of
Evo’s government. I think the
failure, there were like two or three, and I have to add corruption to that,
but the two main were, first of all, the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) Evo’s
Party, did not allow any other political figure to appear that could be after
Evo. So there was no other candidate rather than Evo and when his candidate
speaker failed at the end, there were these accusations of fraud and they have
been widely aired.
And at this
point, the Movimiento al Socialismo broke the social contract of the vote.
People felt that their vote was betrayed. And even if they were not at all
supportive of Evo or just managed to say, “OK, he’s the president and we will
respect that”, but they were not affectionate towards him.
A lot of people felt that the fraud broke that social contract. That’s
when the Evo Morales
government failed because they eroded its legitimacy from the inside. Aside
from that is the
corruption and well, that’s what brought him to this point.
The accusation of fraud, obviously, they denied it. I thought a lot of the
have turned out not to be true.
What was the fraud or if there actually was such?
We can’t know because there hasn’t been interest even from the actual
government of Jeanine Áñez, and they are not interested in saying, OK, the
fraud was 10%, 15%, we don’t know how much fraud it was. The situation
was created and it evolved rapidly. It arose mainly from the cities which are richer than the base voters of
Evo Morales. So, yeah, it’s kind of a nebula there of what really happened. We
don’t know the numbers of how much fraud was there. And even if it was a small fraction, obviously,
you can say there was fraud. But I think the problem was that Evo Morales was
trying to always be the central figure and he didn’t know when to step aside and
let the party renew itself and renew the speech and renew the image of his
government. And I think that eroded his position.
He had done, I think, it was two terms and he was not supposed to do a third,
according to the
Constitution. And then they tried to have that change in a referendum, and yet
Morales lost. And then they
tried to find a way through the courts. Was there kind of a general feeling
that he was hanging on too long?
Yes, of course. He’s the
president that has been there longer and, fourteen and something
years and people would have respected him better if he stepped aside for maybe
one term, two terms and then try to make a comeback, but the Movimiento al
Socialismo (MAS) was too
centered around his image and too centered around his name to allow any other
leader to show up and to come forward as a candidate.
Now they’re trying to do that with the former economy minister Luis Arce, who
is also urban, he has a good appeal amongst people in the cities. But, they
could have done it before, and they could have done it better. I think it could
have been different in another story if they hadn’t made this mistake of being
too much around Evo Morales. I think that was a problem.
Tony, if I understand it correctly, you get this sort of disillusionment with
Morales, and then the far right takes advantage of this. Am I
understanding it correctly? As
well as some sections, very right-wing sections, of the Catholic Church are
very involved in organizing the coup. Talk about that.
There was disagreement as to whether or not Evo should stand, but he pushed
and in the end, the courts gave way and said, yes, he could stand. It was
probably not a good
idea to do that. That happens in many countries in South America. Sometimes it can be difficult to
plan for secession, especially when a party is doing particularly well and there’s
almost a guaranteed win for the member of that party.
And as far as the church is concerned, the church has been
very vocal. Very recently,
was looking at the United Nations website yesterday and one of the main people
that they were working with died in El Alto. He was a bishop, and he was
actually one of the main
spokespeople trying to keep the peace he died of COVID, by the way. He was an
had originally moved over there. And he was made a bishop by the current Pope
and he was
made assistant bishop by the previous Pope. The church is important and the
church can be
Now, I think one part of that is, the current government,
the interim government, the coup
government that will eventually allow, hopefully, an election is quite
Catholic. I mean, if you look
at some of the main people in there team, including some of the
people who are actually standing for election like Camacho, but also the
minister for the interior who heads up the armed forces and the police,
Murillo, both of those are conservative
Catholics. And the church seems to be largely on the side of the current
government. In fact,
when this government took power, Camacho, who was from Santa Cruz and I’m sure
can fill us in on the details on Camacho, he actually took a Bible to the
assembly, (actually it
was the predential to the Congress and put it down on the floor of the Congress
saying that the church has returned to the state. Now, the reason for that is
because the state is plurinational, (defined as the coexistence of two or more
sealed or preserved national groups within a polity), at the moment. That is
something that Evo did in order to give more visibility for the Cosmovision,
for the thinking, the way that people want to run the country, which the Aymara
and Quechua peoples. Evo is my Aymara and he worked a lot with the Quechua as
well when he was working in the coca farms and also as a miner. So he
wanted to make the country
plurinational, which would give people a chance to have all of the different
viewpoints of the
different ethnic groups in the country, a chance to work together.
And what does that mean, plurinational, what would that look like?
Plurinational you look at essentially each of the ethnic groups as having the
capacity to be a
nation. It actually comes a lot from the state of Spain, it’s broken up into
various groups. You’ve got,
say, the Catalan and the other groups, each of those groups recognize their own
autonomy and therefore recognize their own way of doing things politically and
their own policies. So plurinationality is a way of bringing together various
peoples within a state so that you can still have a unified state with
different groups working together, each with their own way of doing things.
Sounds like Canada and Quebec.
It is a bit like Canada because you recognize the autonomy of the Inuit people.
They’re sovereign nations that have certain rights on their land. And then the
Quebec. Quebec has its own civil law, its own first language. So it’s somewhat
Yeah, there’s plurality in linguistics as well. I mean, Evo when he was a kid,
he grew up
speaking Aymara. He learned to speak Quechua when he was working in the mines
speaks Spanish, too. So, I mean, it’s three languages in one, it’s important.
Now, what that did
was replace the Republic, and that’s what the current government has been
trying to do.
They’ve been trying to bring
back the Republic and the republic in the traditional Catholic sense actually
required certain positions to have Catholic people in those positions. So Evo
wants to bring back plurinationality, but he also wanted to create a secular
state which would recognizethe religions of the Aymara and the Quechua people
So you have a government now that came to power through a coup. I understand there’s been a lot of
police repression against the MAS supports (the Movement for Socialist’s)
they’re very far out there religiously. It’s a real right-wing Catholic
government. What’s the mood of
the country, especially in the big cities that may have lost patience, and do
not like that Evo Morales held on too long, but look what they got. So
what do they think of this current government?
It’s a difficult moment. I started by saying that it’s a difficult moment. And mostly, I think this level of
conflict that we have right now, is kind of a part of the electoral campaign.
You know, it has replaced meetings or big meetings or political advertising in
media through activity and through blockades. These kinds of actions have taken
place in the electoral campaign on Evo’s party side (MAS). The blockades
are a way to reunite the voters from rural bases, from the
countryside. The effect it’s
having on the cities, well I think it’s difficult for his candidate because it’s
alienating the people in the cities. The urban people are really tired
of the situation. And I think
that’s how it’s being done at this moment. The blockades are mainly the
replacement for the electoral campaign. I was saying before that the Movimiento
al Socialismo (MAS) has around 30%, maybe more of the voters, and that’s the
hard base of voters that was always around Evo.
So if you see this year or maybe eight months of conflict,
you will ask, why the Movimiento al
Socialismo (MAS) has such a large base of voters? Well, I think it’s because of
what Tony was
saying before. The 14 years of
Movimiento Socialismo got to represent the feeling and to
identify the feeling of the people through this plurinational declaration of
the state, which
includes all 36 nations in the country, people felt represented and they felt
that they had access and they felt included. So the response is that they are still
there, around Evo and around his candidate and around the Movimiento al
Socialismo and willing to go to the streets and to make these blockades and to
challenge the current government. So I think that’s the feeling on the Movimiento
al Socialismo electoral base.
other side, in the cities, people are already crazy and mad and angry about
happening because people would like to have normality again and would like to
go to vote and
would like to feel represented. A lot of people don’t see… , the
right-wing at this moment, it’s
really divided. And after almost 15 years of Evo Morales, the country hasn’t
been able to unify
around a candidate. It has happened in other countries in South America and
right now in Bolivia. It has four main candidates and they won’t unite around
any of them. So
they’re divided and they will go to vote and probably Movimiento al Socialismo
will win, and
that’s making a lot of people angry, a lot of voters angry and feeling
disappointed at the situation because there’s nobody to stand against MAS, they
would like to have somebody to stand against him.
We have one candidate, Carlos Mesa, who is considered the
useful vote if you have to avoid
Evo from returning, you have to vote for Carlos Mesa, that’s what they say. But
you know, the
big problem on the right is that they still don’t have one figure that will
unite them all to stand
against Evo Morales and his candidate.
What is the attitude of the working class in the cities? Were they not supportive of the MAS andare they
There is an analysis that’s around and coming from La Paz. It says that also
there is a division
in the MAS and that the MAS, Movimiento al Socialismo, the party is divided.
happened in these 14 years is that Evo Morales, he was from
the left, but he was a central
figure after all. He managed to keep things running, he managed the economy
a lot of things you can throw at him at this point. Yes, but he kept most of the radical base of the
labour in the country or the indigenous groups that are very radical. They had
to move aside and let Evo run the country. At this point, there’s a division
where you have the more center Movimiento al Socialismo supporting the Luis
Arce candidate of MAS. But there are also groups and that are going with the
Central Obrera Boliviana now, which is the main labor organization in the
country. And there are a lot of people from left and far-left who are not so
peaceful and are moving things towards more pressure and maybe more violence.
So what’s happening today is that the Central Obrera Boliviana, this labour
(union) organization has said that they reject the October 18th date for
elections. So, you know, we have another spin to the situation where you have pressure
from the labor in the cities.
Tony, the same question in terms of the attitude of the working class and back
to one of my first questions, because I think the two things are connected. Morales
seemed to be governing
policies that were like social Democratic policies that were more favorable to
indigenous people in the countryside. So what if he stayed on too long? I mean,
I could get
people didn’t like that, perhaps, but given the alternative, being a far-right,
Catholic government, why would they not rally around MAS now?
Well, they did. What happened was in the elections, Evo won, he won in the
first round. And the question
about fraud was taken up by the MIT in the United States, and they did a full
analysis in the MIT of all the statistics that came through from everywhere in
Bolivia, and they disproved the fraud claim. There was no fraud, but there was
a claim of fraud which was supported by the OAS,(Organization of American
States) and it’s responsibilities are promoting democracy, coordinating
security and law enforcement operations, providing technical and financial assistance
for development projects, and monitoring human rights through the
inter-American legal system), and that was in turn supported by the US
government, and then internally, somehow that was also supported by the
Catholic Church and the military, both of whom suggested to Evo that he stand
down. Now, he won the election, he would have won he
Well, hang on. Then why did he stand down? He won the election. So what if the
even the military pressure him? Why didn’t he call on millions of people to
come to the streets
and defend him the way it happened in Caracas when the coup against Chavez took
Mostly because the people in the cities are aroused and they were in the
blockaded all the cities, the main cities in the country, and they forced the
situation to the point where he had to resign because the country wasn’t
running anymore. The only way to go
around that would be to use police or use the military. Even at the worst points in 2008, where
there was a lot more tension in the country, Evo Morales didn’t use police or
military against the people and they didn’t use it this time again. But the
city was closed to a greater degree than last time, we had like three weeks of
general strike. It was the military, it was the church and it was evangelical
groups also, that’s another big element.
So did the working class of the cities, to a large extent, want Evo out? They
were part of these
strikes against the Morales government.
I think the whole notion of calling the working class in Bolivia is not
anything like what you would recognize as the working class of Europe or North
America. And the differences in wages between the poor and the rich are extreme
in Bolivia. There is an executive class, there are people who work in business,
and then there are workers. Workers pay is very, very low, and a lot of the
workers are in mining, they’re in the coca business, they work on farms. You
know, not all of the work is in the cities. I think one thing to add, though,
about what happened when Evo stood down, you asked why he stood down. It
got pretty personal. There
were a lot of burnings of houses. I went to see Evo here in Buenos Aires and he
explained how his own sister’s house was burnt out, and she asked him she told
him what she thought he should do. I mean, there were a lot of burnings. There
was a lot of intimidation. People were beaten. Therewas a lot of nasty stuff
going on. I mean, Carlos can fill you in on the details, but Evo was seriously
intimidated. And I honestly think he was afraid of much more violence if he
didn’t step down.
So since the coup, what’s been happening?
OK, well, shortly after the coup, there was a lot more violence and that
violence was largely by
the military and the police, the International Human Rights Clinic, the IHRC,
which is a member
of Harvard Law School and the University Network for Human Rights, the UNHR
Harvard, recognized disconcerting patterns of human rights violations.
Basically, they talked
about four things, they said it was state violence against prosecutors, talking
massacres that happened in a place called Sacaba and Senkata, two different
was a lack of impartiality in investigating this and no access to justice. And
there was a
persecution of dissidents, of any kind of dissent, including people who work
And in fact, the newspapers are all controlled or have been shut down, people
have even been
arrested for that. And there’s also civilian and para-state violence. This is
something we’re very
familiar within South America. This
is when people who may or may not be members of the
military or the police act separately, but with a “nod and a wink” from the
police, in other words, the police allow certain things to happen, which are
very violent. Which included, for example, taking one mayor of a city, a woman,
and stripping her of her clothes and marching through the city and painting her
and attacking her. There’s been a fair number of people who have been arrested
and tortured. It’s been pretty serious. And I think one of the most important things is
on the 14th of November in 2019, a presidential executive order was signed by
Jeanine Áñez Chávez, which is her real name. And Article three of that said,
“personnel of the armed forces who participate in operations for the
restoration of internal order and public stability shall be exempt from
criminal liability”. In other words, she basically said, whatever violence is necessary
to keep public order for her was acceptable, and whoever did that were they
police or military will not be prosecuted. That caused a lot of
You’re talking about the mood in the cities, one is people are getting fed up
with the blockades
because life was already pretty tough because of the COVID-19 and the closing
down of much
of the economy. On the other hand, they have a government and a president who’s
encouraging essentially murder gangs and terrible violence and repression, and
right now. If I understand it
correctly, there’s supposed civilians attacking the people, organizing the
blockade. But it’s, I think the kind of civilians Tony is talking about, “wink,
wink, nudge, nudge”, from the police, sort of organizing this in one way or the
So what do you think of the people of the city or is it so divided you
can’t answer this? What do they want politically?
I was saying that just to close the former question, there was a lot of
surprise at the moment.
Back in October, there were like three weeks, it happened really fast. It was
for three weeks.
And I think the people in the
MAS, they weren’t able to organize. to respond, or to come up with an answer. It
was a moment of doubt. The
fraud accusation was all over, and dis-legitimized Evo Morales a lot. So
it had an impact even on its own supporters.
At this moment, the situation is really different. People
need to work. I’ve been in and
out of the city because I’m moving to a rural area and you see a lot of work. You
see a lot of labour in the countryside. People really need to work at this
moment. People really need the
stability we had in the past years. This situation here with the closing
of the economy and the mix with the
political crisis is going to have a really big cost. I think we’re just in the first, maybe, half of
crisis because the next government will not be able to stand if it does not
negotiate its situation with the MAS, because the results of the election will
make the MAS, if they don’t make a president, they will have maybe a majority
in the Congress. So it will be difficult to govern.
Governing with the consequences of this (economic) closure that we have at this
moment. So I
think we have like one year or maybe one year and a half of instability that
could force– in my
personal opinion, it could cause the devaluation of the currency (the Boliviano)
send us into a deeper crisis. So there’s a lot of bad weather ahead of us. I
think that’s what
people are currently fearing most.
You see professional people trying to make a living on any little business they
have that’s the
mood in the cities at this moment. You have firms that are trying to lower the
wages of its
personnel. There’s a lot of people being sent to the streets because there are
firms that are
closing at the moment. And
it’s already a country with a lot of informality, economic informality, people
selling things on the streets. So the formal sector is also feeling a lot of
economic pressure at this moment. I think that’s pretty much the
situation for us.
There was a report that the police are not as directly involved in repressing
They’re using these para-military, supposedly civilian groups. And one of the
Democracy Now, one of the guests said, that there’s some report that some of
the police are
refusing to go attack the blockades. Have you heard anything about this?
(I have) not really heard, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I think the police and
the military– there
was also genuine support for MAS and for Evo Morales during the past years. So it wouldn’t be
surprising that there would be some declaration about we are not repressing
we don’t feel and we don’t feel this government, this transition government, is
entitled to do such a thing. So I think you can say it’s still half and half,
maybe less than half, OK, but there are still people that support Evo Morales. And
the polls have shown that there’s around 30%. Twomonths ago, it said that Evo Morales, the
party had around 30%, maybe more of the vote. After all the political crisis,
they still are in that situation. Well, it’s going to be difficult for the next
government to really stand and to really govern during the next four years.
One thing I didn’t understand, I don’t know Tony or Carlos, after 14 years of
could Evo not know and have a loyal command in the armed forces? How was he not
put his people there?
Well, basically because the situation in the cities was you had families
blocking the streets. You
had no circulation, no economy running for three weeks in the country.
But who were those families? What class were those families from economically?
All classes. You can say it’s pretty much spread out in all the classes of the
rejection as well as the support. You can’t say they’re just poor, they’re just
the middle class,
just the higher class. You have parts of one, more parts of the other one you
have–it’s a really
So the situation back in October was that the cities were
closed. There was no circulation. This
city where I live, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, is the economic engine of the
country. It was
completely stopped after–I don’t know. We never had a three-week closure in
never. So it was an impact. On the other side, it was really bad communication
from the Evo Morales government. I think, after all, they were really tired and they didn’t know how to
handle the situation. And then, each day they were losing some point and they
were conceding this conceding that, then finally Evo appeared to say, OK, let’s
go to a second round of voting, and it was already too late. The
situation degraded really, really fast for a well-
organized response from the government that would involve their support in the
Tony, just finally, the United States recognized this coup government. The
government recognized this coup government, which, in theory, goes against
claim to believe about supporting democracy in Latin America. Now, you get the elections
postponed over and over and you get a situation where who knows what the
atmosphere for the elections is going to be. Is there any even hint from
either Canada or the United States or
Europe, for that matter, of putting pressure on this government to actually
I haven’t seen anything from North America at all. However, there are two external groups that are
working actively to try and get everybody back to the table and get rid of this
violence. One of them is the European Union, and they have people in there. And
they actually, for example, when Añez wrote the decree, which basically said to
the military that they would not be prosecuted for using violence, and that led
to two different groups being killed, 20, 30 people dying in the streets (and no
policemen or military person being hurt at that time) when that happened and
the European Union stepped in and actually helped to calm that down and back that
off, they were getting involved. The other ones are the United Nations. The United Nations are quite active
in there, too, and as I said, the United Nations were working also with a
bishop out of El Alto in La Paz, who recently this (correction July) died of
COVID. I think what we’re really seeing right now is kind of a panic, and the
MAS still runs the Congress, it still has more seats in the Congress. Those
that can actually get to their seats. I mean, a lot of MAS people have been stuck in the Mexican embassy and
have not been allowed out and others are outside the country and fear for their
lives. I mean, it got fairly violent there. But, what if what’s left of the MAS managed to
work through a law which says that no ex-minister, including the president they’re
talking about the current interim president, in fact, they refer to as the
female president, presidenta, will be allowed to leave the country until it is
clear that all corruption possibilities are denounced for the last few months.
In other words, anything that had happened as regards
corruption in the last few months will
need to be attended to before anyone can leave the country. Now, this is something that Omar Aguilar, one
of the MAS people, actually got this law through. So what you’re seeing here is
basically they’re closing the door behind what is going to be a finally,
hopefully, I mean they’ve delayed it so many times an election that most likely
the MAS will win, possibly even the first round this time again, because they
have very strong people.
Probably important too, I think, is to note that they are trying to
litigate against the two main
people who are standing for president and vice president. So that’s (Luis) Arce
candidate) and (David) Choquehuanca, the vice president. Both of those are
they’re both trying to connect them to the violence in the streets so that they
won’t be able to
stand. So, again, if all of
this works out this way and they closed the door behind these people
who have only been in power for a few months but have been doing the kind of
legal work that you’re not supposed to do if you’re just waiting for the next
election. They have been actively changing laws. So if they closed the door
behind them, I think what we probably will see is threats of violence against
them, this has happened before, this has happened before with various people.
And actually, some of those people have been brought back into Bolivia, even though
they’re facing charges from the past. They’ve been brought back into Bolivia
and they’ve been brought back into the government. So I think this is a play,
from the point of view of the people who are actually in government at the
moment, trying to find themselves a safe exit. And it’s not going to happen by
the look of things. I think there are threats of violence against them, too.
And I’d like to hear what Carlos thinks in regards to that law, the one by Omar
Aguilar to close the gate behind them,.
Well, let me add a question to your question. Will this government leave? It’s
kind of a Trump
question people are asking the United States. Or will they push the coup
further and try to rule
in spite of losing the elections? And then the question is, what role would the
military play? Will the
military insist on a transfer of power according to the Constitution, or would
the military exert violence and protect this coup government? So it’s
kind of two questions.
Tony’s question is, what about the threats of violence to the coup government?
question is, are they really going to go if they lose the election?
Yeah, well, I think what Tony said is related to what I was saying before, that
there is this
extremist wing on the inside of the MAS that is now turning on to the streets,
to the highways
and could be prepared to take part in some violence or to provoke some violence
or to resist
some violence, in which case we will be deepening the crisis.
On the other hand, if the current government is going to accept the election. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time
that we see one country that votes what the current powers don’t really want,
and the results of the election are not put into place. So it has
happened before, given the external
supports that this transition government has, I think it’s a possibility. As Tony said, they’re trying to tie
the MAS candidates (Arce & Choquehuanca) to violence, to try to avoid them
from being candidates. And that’s what is happening at this moment.
thing is you hear the language they’re calling people “terrorists”, all the
are blocking the streets and highways, they’re being called a “terrorists” and
there is a law being involved and law being called upon them. So I think
they’re trying to revert the apparent result of the election before it happens,
because it will be really hard to let it go, to let go the power that they have
waited so long to get during those 14 years of waiting to not be able to hold
on to it for more than a few months, it will be really difficult.
What will the military do? I think it will be divided. I think that’s
one of the risks. But on the
other hand, you can see that what happened to Evo was that he apparently broke
the social contract of the vote. So, if you break it again, as a transition
government, it will be a really tense situation and we would be maybe closer to
violence. I don’t really think there’s enough resentment or enough hate inside
Bolivian society to have a prolonged conflict, as we have seen in Colombia or
in other countries in Latin America. But I think we could have something like
what happened here in 2003, we had the Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada government
expelled after 73 deaths in La Paz. So, Bolivia knows about these
violent episodes. It could happen again. It’s really not out of the question. And that’s what everyone fears and
that’s what’s inside of political calculation at the moment.
This is my third final question to you, Tony and Carlos. If you want to jump in
afterward too. How heavy and
how direct is the American hand in all of this?
It’s not direct at all. The US is playing its cards close to the table. I think
maybe Carlos has more
inside knowledge of what’s really going on there. But what we can see is a lot of support for the
current government, interim government, which it doesn’t deserve. It has
never been elected. It won’t be elected.
Do you mean support from the Americans?
Support from the US. Yes.
Well, I think if you see the actions of the transitional government, they
expelled the Cuban
doctors that were acting all around the country and they have severed ties with
the ALBA and
with UNASUR. Then you can see clearly where we’re going and what’s behind the
I can say that.
UNASUR and ALBA organizations created partly with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and
Brazil, seen as organizations that were helping to make Latin America freer
from US control.
Also, I think it’s important to see that the current government, the current
interim government, has also joined the group of Lima, which was the group that
was against the current government in Venezuela, so they’ve moved to the right.
They moved into the American umbrella.
All right. Thank you both for joining us.
Thank you so much, Paul.
And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news podcast, this time in
partnership with Other