Corbyn condemns tragic hard-right coup in Bolivia

In one of Latin America’s greatest tragedies in recent years, a hard-right coup is currently underway in Bolivia – where a successful progressive government had ruled for just under 14 years.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned this coup in no uncertain terms, saying:

As Scottish politician Ross Greer stressed, meanwhile, this coup shows that “the days of US-backed coups in South America are far from over”.

The devastating loss of Latin America’s ‘most successful’ left-wing government

The military forced President Evo Morales out of power on 10 November, after weeks of violent hard-right protests. Earlier in the day, he had already called for a new election in an attempt to calm tensions. But he later said he was resigning in the hope of stopping right-wing destruction, kidnappings, and attacks and death threats against politicians and their families. Armed intruders later broke into Morales’s home in Cochabamba:

The coup left no natural successor to Morales, because it also forced the resignation of the country’s vice president and the Senate president, who was next in line to lead. The only other official listed by the constitution as a successor – the head of the lower house – had already resigned.

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Morales was the first member of Bolivia’s large indigenous population to become president, and he remains deeply popular among many Bolivians. While no government is perfect, many people considered Morales’s administration to be the “most successful” left-of-centre government in Latin America – and perhaps even the world. As The Canary previously reported, his government lifted “millions of people out of poverty” and oversaw very impressive economic growth despite “deep economic crises and an economic slowdown elsewhere in Latin America”. For these reasons, Bolivians recently re-elected his government (though with a reduced majority). Corbyn congratulated Morales on his victory and praised his government’s achievements.

Morales believed in using Bolivia’s natural resources to benefit its inhabitants rather than powerful corporations:

He was also a stauch critic of US imperialism:

A “fascist coup” with US backing

Just days before his resignation, Morales had warned that a “fascist coup” was underway.

For many decades, the US has sponsored and supported terrorism throughout Latin America to prop up hard-right corporatists and undermine democracy and human rights. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the process. And amid the coup in Bolivia, intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad pointed firmly to US involvement, saying:

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The coup is driven by the Bolivian oligarchy, who are angered by the fourth election loss by their parties… The oligarchy is fully supported by the United States government, which has long been eager to remove Morales and his movement from power. For over a decade, the US embassy’s Center of Operations in La Paz has articulated the fact that it has two plans – Plan A, the coup; Plan B, assassination of Morales.

Indeed, former US senator Mike Gravel tweeted irreverently:

People also highlighted the involvement of the highly controversial Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), which receives most of its funds from the US and has been accused of serving US foreign policy interests:

Others pointed out the presence of racism among those backing the coup:

Supporters of Morales and his achievements, meanwhile, are already resisting the coup. And so should everyone around the world who believes in democracy, social justice, and human rights.

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Featured image via Sophie Brown and Sebastian Baryli, with additional content via Press Association