Was there a coup in Bolivia? Former Morales ambassador & historian of Latin America debate

Updated : Nov 15, 2019 in Articles

Was there a coup in Bolivia? Former Morales ambassador & historian of Latin America debate

Let’s begin in Bolivia with Pablo Solón. Do you describe what happened as a coup? I think it’s very complicated to say it’s
a coup, because I think there was a popular rebellion, because this issue started in 2016,
when Evo Morales didn’t recognize the result of a referendum that said that he couldn’t
run for a new re-election. If he would have respected that referendum,
he would have finished his third term as probably the best president in Bolivia. But he didn’t do that. He forced that the constitutional tribunal
did a statement saying that it was a human right to run for new elections. And then we have the elections of the 20th
of October, where there was definitely fraud. We have so many evidences here, so many reports
from different institutions, not only OAS saying it, that, of course, the population
went to the streets. It was massive, and it has lasted for 20 days. So, to say this is a coup d’état planned
by the White House, the right-wing forces, fascist forces, I think it’s to make a caricature
of what is really happening. Now, who’s going to take advantage of the
situation are going to be right-wing forces, is going to be the imperialists of North America. But who created this crisis, I think, was
this addiction to power that Evo Morales and his party began to have during the last years. I’d like to ask Kevin Young to deal with
the same issue of whether this was a coup or not, and also to deal with the reality
that the majority in the Congress is still of the — is the political party of Evo Morales. So, to what degree can whoever becomes president
be able to move forward with a political agenda, given the enormous strength still of the Evo
Morales forces in the country? A coup has a simple and straightforward definition. It’s the unconstitutional removal of a sitting
president before that president’s term in office is up. And in the case of Bolivia, Evo Morales is
the elected president. His term isn’t due up until January 21st
of 2020. And in this case, on Sunday, you had the lead
commander of the Bolivian Armed Forces directly intervening and ordering Evo out of office. So that’s a coup. And I think that’s pretty straightforward. That shouldn’t be controversial. What makes this coup particularly dangerous
is that it is being supported by the most racist and reactionary elements in Bolivian
society, as well as by the United States. Now, all of that being said, the overall political
situation in Bolivia is complex. All of the opposition is not the same. The opposition is not monolithic. There are opposition protesters who are much
more progressive. Many indigenous groups, working-class Bolivians
have become very disillusioned with Evo’s government and have turned against it. So, those voices are important to recognize. We shouldn’t be painting the entire opposition
with the same brush or insinuating that it’s all some conspiracy by the United States. But at the same time, it is important to recognize,
as well, that almost half of the Bolivian population voted for Evo Morales on October
20th. And whether you think that’s 47%, as the
government said, or maybe it’s only 46 or 45%, the fact remains that almost half of
Bolivians still supported Evo on October 20th. And those voices also need to be counted and
recognized. They may have criticisms of the government
— many of them do, and I know some of them — but they’re not supporting the coup,
because they fear that a right-wing government is really going to roll back some of the progressive
gains that have been made in the last 13 years. And in an immediate sense, they’re fearful
of right-wing violence in the streets, which is happening and which is targeting particularly
indigenous Bolivians. Now, what’s going to happen with the Congress? Because despite the fact that many MAS legislators
and officials have resigned, sometimes under threat of violence from the right, it is still
true that a majority of the Congress is controlled by the MAS party. They have signaled — they have said that
they are interested in finding a constitutional resolution to the crisis. Now, what exactly that’s going to look like
is still very unclear. It’s not clear what new elections are going
to look like or under what conditions they’re going to be held. The MAS party is somewhat in disarray the
last several days. So, we really don’t know what’s going
to happen at this point.


  • Apparently fascism is acceptable when it's Catholic fascism. They can re-bury Franco in Spain, but he still lives in Bolivia apparently. The white European colonisers rule, ok?

  • The military took the airwaves and "suggested" the president to renounce. That is the text-book definition of a coup d'état. Why are we even discussing it?

  • Very tepid coverage…what a shame. People should check out The Grayzone for much much better reporting on this issue (and prob all issues).

  • “So blame the man that would have gone down as the greatest President of Bolivia had he not tried to run again………….”
    Lithium anyone?

  • I think some people are being to hard on Democracy Now. The idea that this isn’t a legitimate question wouldn’t be good journalism because there are limited facts and assumptions are often wrong. Go to Brietbart if you like unsupported conspiracy theories. That’s not to say that the CIA and others aren’t involved, but you can’t just make a news report stating that with no facts to support it.

  • Angela Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She's serving her fourth term. Merkel stated she won't seek another term in 2021.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, served as President of the United States from 1933, until his death in 1945.
    In 1953, Mohammed Mosaddegh, then Prime Minister of Iran, was overthrown in a coup. His crime? Nationalization of the Iranian oil industry.
    Pablo Solon, as well as the right-wing scum across Latin America, can go *u*k themselves😁

  • Again who is this guy talking about a coup. Lets be clear about this matter. Evo Morales comited fraud in the 20/10/2019 election, the fraud has been proven because he made dead people to vote for his political party and most of the balots were already marked in a clear sign of megafraud. But also after the 21F referendum, he was supossed to step down and not go for a 4th election , because he lost that referendum. At that point he is not anymore president of Bolivia.
    Are you trying to legitimate a drug dealer and his friends? President Lopes Obrador took him as a political refugee, because he knows 100% that Evo Morales has links with Chapo Guzman and also before with Pablo Escobar and as everybody knows they were partners in crime and drug dealing.
    Stop telling that this was a coup, specially if you are against drug crimes.
    The Bolivian people went in a massive civil desobedience movement and that was the real reason he had to step down.
    Evo Morales is a Dictator who wants Bolivia converted in a new Cuba or Venezuela. The law in Bolivia says very clearly that a candidate can go only twice for the presidency. The 3rd mandate was already ilegal and of course the 4th as well.
    More than 70% of bolivians agree that Evo Morales went from a good president to finally show himself as a Dictator.
    Again I am totally disapointed and I think Democracy Now is manipulating the news. It makes me doubt that you are independent.

  • Of course there was. Morales never allowed foreign corporations to extract his nations lithium. I am sure that will change now…

  • No fraud, it's a coup, there were international supervisor.

    4rth Re-election isn't a coup, 4th Re-election is the people electing Morales

  • Ivanka Trump arrived in Argentina after the coup in Bolivia to seal a deal on a lithium route. Bolivia has one of the largest lithium reserves of the world. Google it.

    Lithium resources is the reason behind the coup

  • Evo can make mistakes but a militar and religious coup is not the answer. They put fire in the president family house, mayors were beaten in the streets, they are nazis and use Jesus Christ as a excuse to take the power by force. It's a shame!

  • Evo shouldn't have left Bolivia. I'm sure he knows that now.
    But he can return; there are many ways he can return.
    And he should!!
    He has accomplished so much; and in the end, as he advocated peace, some were baying for blood!!

  • Another regime change with what appears like a successful coup. But a great misfortune to Bolivia! May this be a short lived bleep and may the evil plotters come forward for honest prosecution for their violations, starting with a major apology! ✊😱💯

  • I disagree with the criticism I am reading here. The rebuttal to the first opinion was quite effective and was also given significantly more time. JC

  • No, there are NO "evidences" of any kind supporting the claim of fraud in the elections – in fact, the CEPR out of Wash, DC just put out a report showing not only the OAS presented no evidence but also Evo's electoral victory was statistically nothing short of consistent.

  • Neither OAS or the military did not take issue with Bolivia's Supreme Court's decision on presidential terms which was decided 5 years ago, they both took issue with the election itself which Morales won last month .. this is indeed a coup !!!!

  • It was obviously a coup. It's embarrassing Democracy Now is platforming such an absurd & short debate on the military of a nation forcing out the president and his party leadership because less than 15% of the nation protested for 20 days! How long has France been protesting? And people calling him a dictator for serving terms… Angela Merkel has been the chancellor of Germany for longer & I've never heard anyone refer to her as a dictator!

    This is trash, Russiagate broke something in Democracy Now & it makes my heart hurt.

  • It's a coup. Bolivians will make justice by their own hands. USA.must stop desevilasting other countries. These communities will later immigrate to others countries and at the end more caravans on the way to USA.

  • He got elected with a large majority and when some complained about election fraud, he said no problem let redo it! This is an other CIA operation like Venezuela was…

  • Thank God for University of Massachusetts Amherst.
    I don't like his dismissal of CIA involvement, considering US's history in South America (and everywhere really), but other than that, good take.

  • Morales suffres from the same defect as so many leftists. He can feel connected to society only when he holds political office.

  • Seems like a blatant coup by the corrupt military, OAS and USA. America wants their enormous lithium reserves, as there isn't enough to support the electric car boom.

  • Hi
    Just a small note from a foreigner who has lived in a rural community in bolivia since 2013 and in the country since 2009 .
    I have to be affiliated to an agricultural syndicate to own land here . This syndicate used to be controlled by MAS , evo morales' party , so i have an idea how things are run since i personally have participated in pro-government political events aginst my will under threat of fine . From my own experience i therefore know that democratic principles for a lot of bolivians , not just campesinos but all unionised workers ,have been somewhat compromised for a long time since membership in these social organizations is mandatory in many contexts .
    I have personally participated in a municipal meeting with a MAS representative who promised funding for community projects in return for political allegiance .
    I have personally witnessed how a poverty relief program was tied to the same , always keeping in mind that the funding of these programs was by the state , not the party …
    My mother in law , a judge in la paz , lost her job in 2017 since she had no MAS affiliation …
    I am somewhat apolitical but quite left wing when it comes to it . I am definitely pro – indigenous . I would have voted for evo october 20 since i still believed that the positive aspects would outweigh the negative ones , all things considered . I cannot vote since i only have residency , not nationality , but give thanks now since i am , as it is , extremely disappointed , and , as an anti-neo-liberal , i feel let down .
    The suspicion of electoral fraud was immediate and broad because of an unexplicable interruption in the transmission of the results on the evening of the elections , the offifial webside of the electoral tribunal with the extrapolations shut off for over 20 hours without any official statement . Two days later it became apparent that the company who processed the results not only got a phonecall from the president of the electoral tribunal with an order to interrupt the transmission but also their internet and electricity got cut . There never was a credible explanation for this , the OEA only got involved after massive student protests and the start of the nationwide general strike , there was a very strong popular demand for an audit at this point .
    This is the same OEA who approved the approval , of the same electoral court , that evo could run for a fourth term eventhough he lost a popular referendum because it was his 'human right' .
    From there things went down … and the popular opposition grew and demands escalated , and violence began . MAS supporters started to congregate in the capital , la paz , many miners , campesinos and syndicalized workers ( organized and partly obliged by their MAS -controlled social organizations ) , with a lot of use of dynamite in the streets which is illegal in bolivia . The police command was pro-MAS and the police was forced to remain largely inactive and protect illegal activities which last week led to a police mutiny where the police withdrew to their units , taking serious personal risks .
    Government statements grew increasingly irrational and , frankly , insulting to a large proportion of the bolivian population . For a week acts of violence were almost exclusively comitted  by MAS supporters , this includes three fatalities . The government seemed to WANT to provoce a crisis . So by the time an old demand finally got considered new ones had arisen . By sunday things had come to such a state that the pro-MAS supreme commander joined the popular demand for evo's renunciation , probably to avoid a mutiny within the armed forces , and after having deployed troops to protect an ambushed caravan of protesters on the altiplano from attacks with firearms . The government had lost all credibilty outside of the organisations it controlled .
    Evo resigned and fled to the chapare region , his " bastion " where public transit now is only possible with MAS credentials , and all hell broke loose . Mobs formed and descended from the city of el alto shouting slogans of civil war . Acts of looting and vandalism are still uncounted , the mass transit system of la paz sustained damage valued at 12 million us$ , numerous police installations were destroyed and the police was overwhelmend . The populace was terrified . Media installations were attacked and destroyed . Oficial information regarding the situation became unavailable , water supply infrastructure was attacked , houses of political opposition figures where burned but this admittedly happened after houses of MAS figures in oruro got destroyed and hostages of family members taken in reaction to a casualty from that city .
    In all , it was a night of terror , not only limited to la paz , a desperate albeit seemingly strategic move by the MAS aimed at destabilizing the whole nation without any regard to the well being of the population . Acts of provocacion , incitement to hate and racism , fake news on social media networks which for a time where the only source of information , all in the name of democracy .
    I'm not saying that members of the opposition did at times not act rashly and inflamed , there have been some acts which are not tolerable , but they are isolated , spontaneous and almost disappear in proportion to the monstrous treachery the MAS movement committed not only against the people of bolivia but , unfortunatley , against their own ideals .
    Thanks to all this it is very likely that the country will be at the mercy of right-wing political forces , but that may in the end be preferable to living in an outright dictatorship . A lot of bolivians believe that one venezuela is enough and are very grateful to the army to not only FINALLY react on their behalf politically but also protect their lives and property at a time when both where in real danger of being compromised .
    In a way i'm proud . I expected less , who these days is interested in democracy as long as your facebook feed works . I underestimated the bolivian millenials .
    It is likely this popular victory for democratic rights will play into the hands of neoliberal forces who are waiting in the wings , which is unfortunate …
    So i understand leftist western media taking a pro evo stand , but i plead to take in the complexity of what has happened . Evo left a huge hole in the bolivian society , the colonial trauma revived , hurt indigenous pride , hate , racism , all the societal ruptures of which bolivia has many are bleeding . The MAS movement knows this and has to a very large degree caused the social convulsion which led to this in a seemingly deliberate manner while blaming the opposition . We're down and hurting . To go out into the international left wing media and find  highly partisan comments which apparently exist just because left must support left blindly makes us hurt even more since … well … it just seems unfair , and it doesn't reflect what actually happened with any degree of accuracy. We may have ideals as well , we may not like the neoliberals either . It seems blasé from left wingers to make statements which are either politically biased or , if not that , plain uninformed , in a sort of removed and offhand way . Thank god this does not apply to this video , but it does to the comment section .
    And to say that , oh , now "trump will cut the rainforest" as one encounters in comment sections of videos who choose ( or not ) to call what happened a military coup makes only so much sense considering that xi jinping just burned it , figuratively speaking .
    ¡ no pasaran !

  • Democracy now can be so disappointing sometimes. The first guest was clearly stretching the truth and not a single time was he challenged 🙄 a coup is a coup .

  • Kind of disappointing DN is taking this direction, especially when they know deep down it was a coup d'etat and probably backed by the US

    But damn, what a fantastic comment section. Gives me hope

  • Pablo Solon is such a liar. It needs to be pointed out to him that it is through the democratic elections that you vote and change the presidency, not through a coup. Fraud he is so certain that there was a fraud and just blats out bullshit sources of information. How disingenuous of you Pablo Solon. Any person of average intelligence can see that you are full of shit and a supporter of the opposition. Your comment does not make any sense that if Morales had not gone for a 4th election he would have have been the most successful president in Bolivian history nevertheless a coup and an overthrow of one of the most successful presidency of Bolivia in History is just plain ludicrous and nonsensical. When you cant win by democratic means you accuse current govt of fraud, of being authoritarian and being a dictator but can not substantiate the claims with proof and evidence it is all made up propaganda & lies.

  • What kind of question is this? You've got the wrong idea if you think you can bring right wing viewers to learn the truth from you by pretending there is a controversy when there's none. It's better to stick to your guns and straight up tell it like it is. You can do better, Amy, come on.

  • I still have respect for juan and amy, but its of democracy nows past. Such a huge change sinse democracy now stopped asking for money to keep reporting, who paid ye off and how much i wonder,sad.

  • President Morales didn't force the supreme court to legalize another run for president. It's mediocre to use as argument that Morales brought this crisis on himself NOW because of what the supreme court permitted some time ago. It's also mediocre to use a 60% US funded OAS as a credible election authority. OAS is a mouthpiece for anti-democratic corporate thieves.

  • First dude has no fucking clue – he didn’t create the crisis it was also rooted due to the powerful hating him in Bolivia , him winning the election and the lithium. Now no election and interim ruler is fanatical Christian that calling indigenous culture satanist

  • Evo Morales is being targeted and punished by the US Empire, for offering Edward Snowden a ride to Bolivia on his presidential airplane. Correa in Ecuador, has been replaced by US puppets, who turned over Julian Assange. They've already got Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange. Edward Snowden is the last one on the list , protected ONLY by a valid nuclear adversary. They're coming after everyone who sympathises with, aids or abeds whistleblowers, spotlighters, and dissenters exposing the US Empire. This shows that the greatest threats to the Empire are TRUTH, Transparency, and Critical Thinking.

  • Fernando Camacho, a christian fundamentalist lunatic talks about bringing back christianity to Bolivia and finish off Pachamama. He is a multimilionnair and olicharg, so what he brings back to Bolivia is suppression, poverty and suffering. He is an enemy of the people, a friend of the fascist US gouvernement.

  • So, when Occupy Wall Street happened why did the US military not simply take power from the Obama government as this ex Ambassador prescribes? This guy ex UN ambassador guy seems to think a few weeks of protest means the military can do that and it's not a coup.
    How do people like this have jobs?

  • In Hong Kong recently the ''democracy protesters'' set a person on fire in the street because he refused to agree with their violent protests. The truth is that the rich run America, not the people. And they will take sides with any violent groups who supports the rich gain and maintain power for themselves. This principle is repeated across the world. This is what American supremacists mean by ''US interests'' ….they mean the interests of the rich to gain and maintain power all over the world.

  • Listen democracy now, I subscribed awhile ago because of true news vs the larger corporate news media, but this time you really offend my intellectual of course it's a coup, did you see the part where Evo was treated by the military, lucky Evo Mexican President AMLO stand up and sent a military airplane to Bolivia for Evo, did see how dramatic was to get there, and take off? Countries like Peru, and Ecuador refused to help to Mexico recharge fuel, guess what those countries receive orders from US. OF COURSE IT'S COUP WTF! One more and I will walk away.

  • Why is an organization named democracy now discussing if a military coup is a coup? Anyone that looks at the facts knows this is a coup.

    We should instead be discussing how to best get back on the path of democracy now or as soon as possible.

  • Este hijoputa Solon, what he doesn’t says is that when that referendum took place the media was promoting a bad image of Evo with a woman that lied saying he forgot about his baby with her and people felt disappointed with him, later on that woman went to jail cuz it was all a lie that help the opposition in the referendum.

  • Was there a coup? Are you fucking kidding me?
    Ask the C.I.A or the USA embassy in La Paz, they are directly responsible for the coup, like they done dozens if not hundreds of times throughout history
    And you guys complain about Russian interference in your election, what a joke.

  • It's amazing that Democracy Now was ever considered "left" before, considering they have been repeating state dept. lines for the past year or so.

  • Let's assume there was actual fraud during the recent elections. How does that make the military removing a sitting president from office not a coup? If our military removed Trump now because they think he's cheating to get elected again, is that not a coup?

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