Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition

Binoy Kampmark

There is inherent bestiality in the politics of the Americas that signals coup, assassination and disruption.  No state is ever allowed to go through what is weakly called a transition, except over corpses, tortures and morgues.

When a social experiment is conducted, rulers must ensure their wills are well inked ahead of time.

Opponents, often funded and sponsored by external powers with an umbilical chord to Washington, lie in wait, hoping for an unequal status quo.

Evo Morales is no winged angel and much can be said about him getting drunk with power over the course of 14 years.  He lost a February 2016 referendum on the subject of indefinite presidential re-elections by a slight majority. It took the October 20 election result, dismissed by his opponents as fraudulent, to galvanise the movement against him. 

The Organization of American States (OAS) decided to weigh in on the subject, claiming in its audit that the result could not be deemed accurate.

During his time in office, he did a certain bit of enlightening that cannot go past the economists and demographers.  Even Time magazine had to concede that, as the country’s first indigenous head-of-state, “he oversaw an economic boom, a massive reduction in poverty and strides in social equality, earning him high approval ratings and three consecutive election wins.”

But the social changers are always bound for the chop, their heads placed upon some platform for removal by those with deep pockets, corporate sponsorship and the tutored thugs from the School of the Americas.

The Morales exit would be described as a coup in most languages.

Generals appearing on television demanding the removal of a civilian head of state would suggest as much.  On Sunday, the calls were becoming particularly loud.

In a short time, Morales was on a plane to Cochabamba, adding his name to the chocked bibliography of coups that South America is renown for.  (The last was the military ousting in 2009 of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.)

But he who manufactures the press releases and opinion columns manufactures reality. 

As Alan Macleod in Jacobin points out, various US outlets had little interest, nor stomach, for the term. Morales had “resigned” according to the ABC.  The New York Times drew attention to an “infuriated population” incensed by his efforts at “undermining democracy” while also noting the term resignation. 

Both Morales and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera “admitted no wrongdoing and instead insisted that they were victims of a coup.”

Any legitimacy on the part of Morales’s position in office was dismissed by the acceptance on the part of such networks as CNN that there were “accusations of election fraud”.  CBS News accepted it as a point of record.

This particular tendency repeats instances of coverage in other elections – take the re-election of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro in 2018 as a case in point.

Former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez expressed little doubt about the credibility of that result as did dozens of foreign electoral observers. “It is an advanced automatic voting system.”

But why bother about international observers when removing an irritating leftist leader is so much more fun?

Other states also showed various shades of enthusiasm for the removal.  Brazil’s government, despite taking heart at the forced departure of the Bolivian leader, played the no coup card.  Given that Brazil was to host the governments of Russia, India, China and South Africa, it paid to be a bit cautious.

The foreign minister Ernesto Araújo wanted to get his opinions out of the way prior to the arrival of any Evo enthusiasts, suggesting that Morales had engaged in “massive electoral fraud”. It followed that, “There was no coup in Bolivia.”

Corporate America, soundly and boisterously perched at the Wall Street Journal, suggested a “democratic breakout in Bolivia”, a truly risible proposition given that corporations are distinctly anti-democratic by nature.

But there was concern: “Eva Morales resigns but he’ll use the Cuba-Chávez playbook to return.” The key to ensure the country’s “immediate future” depended, in no small part, “on its ability to hold new elections and reinstate a legitimate government.”

US policy wonks and officials were merry.  “These events,” went a statement from the White House,

send strong signals to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail.”

Even, it would seem, at the end of a gun barrel sported by the officer class. As ever, the concept of “the people” lacks meaning in such pronouncements, given the innumerable attempts on the part of Washington to destroy that very will throughout Latin America.

A dark note is struck in the linking of both people and the military, with the uniformed gatekeepers praised for their calm in protecting that fetish long revered in US circles. 

The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”

All efforts at social reform, improving literacy and uplifting programs become the stuff of a deluded maniac who, for 14 years, ignored the “will of the people” and usurped legal strictures.

The Bolivian order was always going to be vulnerable.  But as with other states strangled by the policies of austerity imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the savage dogma of privatisation, the mania with the balanced budget at the expense of poverty eradication, and a distinct lack of interest in social improvement, Bolivia found, for a time, efforts to improve its lot.

Across the Americas, a trend of reversal is in evidence, and the departure of Morales is its testament.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]


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Nov 17, 2019 12:41 PM

Cut&Paste from Caitlin Johstone:

“International affairs are much easier to understand once you stop thinking in terms of …a slow-motion third world war between … an unofficial globe-spanning empire … and all the nations which have refused to be absorbed into this empire. … Nations which refuse are punished with … invasions, sanctions, trade wars, and coups, … the ultimate goal being total unipolar global domination. …

Nothing takes precedence over this agenda of unipolar hegemony. As long as a nation remains loyal to the empire, it can fund terrorists …, and create the worst humanitarian crisis in the world without fear of …. the US-centralized empire. As a leaked State Department memo explained in 2017, … human rights violations are nothing more than a … narrative-control weapon with which to attack unabsorbed nations….”

Bolivia’s New Puppet Regime Wastes No Time Aligning With US Foreign Policy

Nov 17, 2019 5:57 AM

I find it interesting that coups in South America bear a striking similarity to what happened in Thailand in 2006 and 2014- Accusations of corruption, nepotism, etc. against the Shinawatra clan- I wonder how much input came from the Yanks to enable the 2 coups? Thaksin was no saint, and not ‘leftist’ either!, except he did things for his base,(like Trump!), who are the poor farmers, and workers, he tried to reform the rote-learning education system, rein in the military(!) by reducing their budget, and won 2 successive elections, the first time ever in Thailand. The military, elite business and the royals wanted the plebs put back in their place. Sound samiliar? BTW, yes he did a few deals to benefit his clan, but look at the corruption of the military, every coup-time- increase their budget for hardware, so they get their cuts, deals for projects where their mates get… Read more »

Nov 16, 2019 11:53 PM

Sharpen up lads, Regime enforcement coming to a street near you, sooner than you think; No more Promised Land to run to, as per yesteryear, so this time round they will be out to kill or chain you. A false Ideology, but with real bullets to back ’em up.

Francis Lee
Francis Lee
Nov 16, 2019 9:58 AM

This colour revolution/coup is the latest on what seems like a production line of regime changes that the United States has engineered. And the format doesn’t change. Undermine the country’s economy, or ‘make the economy scream’ in the words of Nixon as part of the destablilsation of Chile in the early 1970s. Build up a popular opposition playing on possible shortcomings of the sovereign state. This being the job of experienced hands like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which incidentally not an NGO since it is directly funded by the US government, more accurately it should be called a GO and Human Rights Watch (HRW), not forgetting Mr Soros of course. Then come the street riots and disturbances, see Venezuala and closer to Home Ukraine; now to get things really moving send in the army, special units, and local militias and thugs, and make sure the police are deactivated,… Read more »

Nov 16, 2019 6:48 AM

I don’t think we need be too pessimistic.
Washington’s satraps tend not to last very long.
Moreno, Bolsonaro and others of their ilk are coming under a lot of pressure already.
Gweedo is a complete laughing stock.
It is unlikely that the latest NED product in Bolivia will do much better.
A rabid religious nut job in the mould of Pence and Pompeo, overtly racist, and probably mentally deranged.
You’d think the Neocohens could come up with a few people who are even marginally competent as their colonial governors.
Gweedo, Moreno, Chalabi, Karzai, Curveball.
Even working all together, this bunch couldn’t pass 11 Plus.

Nov 16, 2019 2:56 AM
Nov 16, 2019 6:51 PM
Reply to  falcemartello

Grazie, falcemartello, per farmi consapevole dell’Antidiplomatico.

Nov 18, 2019 2:03 AM
Reply to  nondimenticare

@ nondimenticare
Non ce di che.
La Patria ho la morte.

Nov 17, 2019 7:22 PM
Reply to  falcemartello

I fail to see how I can agree or disagree with this link because I do not understand the language???

Suffice to say we did not defeat fascism post WW2. All those of any value were quickly evacuated, and assimilated into American society and their (previously despised) policies implemented there????.

Nov 18, 2019 2:05 AM
Reply to  Maggie

@ Maggie
Use ur simple app on google to translate.
It is worth ur while the web site is extremely counter current old school blue collar site run by old school Gramscian and Vico lefties

Nov 18, 2019 7:57 PM
Reply to  falcemartello

Over my head I’m afraid. :-0

Nov 15, 2019 11:15 PM

Evo Morales is no winged angel . Has there ever been a winged angel president in any of the other western nations? Has there ever been a winged angel president in any nation on Earth? It it a prerequisite to be a winged angel? Not only that, but what about the ‘term limits’ nonsense? Seriously? Why should there be any term limits on what is good for the people/citizens/nation? What for? It should always be up to the population to decide what works for them – or who works for them, or who draws their blood like a leech. And if the president feels in shape enough to do the thing, age should not matter so much either. But he is not old, anyways. If the simple majority in Bolivia is HAPPY with the man, he could get as old as Fidel Castro. To ease and speed things up, a… Read more »

Nov 16, 2019 12:09 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

Has there ever been a winged angel president in any of the other western nations?
Has there ever been a winged angel president in any nation on Earth?
It it a prerequisite to be a winged angel?

It’s a deflection ploy, like “I’m sorry, but…”; an attempt to prevent the called party from summarily hanging up; a common rhetorical strategy, that’s all.

Descendants of the conquistadores, or ‘contract colonizers’ wreaked havoc in South and Central America. They forced the indegenious population to become ‘christians’, since the church wanted control over the indegenious population.

What an established organised religion “wants” is generally conveyed to it–in this case the church–in morse code, by the wiggling of its onligarchy’s tongue up its arse. Left, dot; right, dash; up, underline; down, bold face with an exclamation mark/marks: … ..- -.-. -.- ..- .–. … …. .. – -.. — .– -.

Nov 15, 2019 10:37 PM

Disappointing that Kampark feels obliged to “meet the MSM halfway.” As he does here: “Evo Morales is no winged angel and much can be said about him getting drunk with power over the course of 14 years. He lost a February 2016 referendum on the subject of indefinite presidential re- elections by a slight majority. It took the October 20 election result, dismissed by his opponents as fraudulent, to galvanise the movement against him. “The Organization of American States (OAS) decided to weigh in on the subject, claiming in its audit that the result could not be deemed accurate.” The truth, nowhere contradicted is that Morales had just won a perfectly fair election by 10% percentage points. None of those who claimed that the result was flawed is other than a part of the coup enabling system in Latin America. The State Department and the Canadian Ministry of Global(!sic) Affairs… Read more »

Capricornia Man
Capricornia Man
Nov 15, 2019 11:48 PM
Reply to  bevin

You’ve summed it up perfectly, Bevin.

We now have the corporate media brainwashing supposedly educated ‘western’ people into believing that another removal of a fairly elected, social-democratic leader is a victory for ‘democracy’.

Nov 16, 2019 12:16 PM
Reply to  bevin

…the Empire has decided that socialist experiments will only be tolerated so long as they can be twisted, by sanctions, subversion and outside pressure into failure.

The Empire decided that in 1917.

US = Terror Factory
US = Terror Factory
Nov 15, 2019 10:10 PM

Isn’t the demise of the Empire greatly exaggerated?

Nov 17, 2019 5:12 AM

As long as the Empire insists on continuing its downward slide, yes, it is exaggerating its own demise.

Nov 15, 2019 8:51 PM

“coups that South America is renown for. (The last was the military ousting in 2009 of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.)”

Honduras isn’t in South America. And what about Brazil?

Martin Usher
Martin Usher
Nov 15, 2019 7:32 PM

I’m just a bit jaded and cynical these days so when I hear “Democracy and the Will of the People” coming from our leadership I’m reminded just how pliable our (US) democracy is. Its a constant fight to keep it functioning against a tide of gerrymandering and voter suppression in (mostly) GoP dominated states. (Not to mention arcane electoral rules that allow an Administration to be placed in power without winning a majority of the electorate.)

As a general rule of thumb I tend to think that ‘democracy’ just means ‘people we (the US) find acceptable who can be relied upon’ and ‘will of the people’ can easily be understood if you don’t make assumptions about who ‘the people’ actually are.

Nov 16, 2019 9:20 AM
Reply to  Martin Usher

Nice to see the phrase Will of the People popping up somewhere else. Here in the UK, the Government, its Political Parties and the Electorate have been turning themselves inside out, with regards to our leaving the EU, or Brexit for the past three and a half years, and we’re not done yet !

Nov 15, 2019 7:27 PM

Great write up. Well, who would have predicted this?

I guess they saw the weakness and took advantage.

We should all be confident though. A setback, yes. But who knows what will happen. We are on the right side of history so have the advantage.

And in tbe end, good usually prevails over evil.

Nov 15, 2019 6:36 PM

Excellent summary which leaves me feeling less depressed. However, there must be a possibility that that Bolivia will now follow in the wake of El Salvador.