Opinion: Bolivia’s former president’s forced resignation signals crumbling democracy

By Jonathan Ramirez

The pillars of Bolivia’s democracy are crumbling after former president Evo Morales was forced to resign by military forces and later exiled to Mexico. The most important question should be: what happens now?

But instead, the aftermath of what transpired has sparked a debate across mainstream media platforms and Twitter on whether a “coup” took place or not. However, this political catastrophe is not so black and white.

Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous president. He went on to embolden the rights of the indigenous majority and sought to cut down the poverty rates significantly. He was considered a champion among the indigenous communities. He sought out to do this early on in his 14 year rule. Throughout the course of his rule, he became more authoritative and corrupt. As he approached the end of his last term limit, he was not allowed to run again.

This did not stop him from trying to pass a referendum in 2016 that would allow him to run for another term. The referendum was ultimately shot down by a 51.3% majority. The Bolivian Supreme Court later deemed term limits unconstitutional and let him run anyway.

The nation has been stewing in revolt since the Oct. 20 election when the people of Bolivia started to suspect how fraudulent the win for Morales was. The voter count on live television was paused and pushed back a whole day for a recount. Morales beat his opposing candidate by just the amount that he needed when the recount was resumed the next day. After a suspicion of fraud, Morales agreed to an audit by the Organization of American States. But the general public opinion had already rightfully shifted from a new election to cries for his resignation.

As stated in a CNN article, at least 31 people have been killed in the violent political unrest since the Oct 20. election. All of the former allies tied to Morales in anyway are now resigning in response to threats made against them or their families, allowing Jeanine Añez Chavez, a right wing fascist, to be swallowed into the power vacuum.

Chavez, of European decent, rose to power as interim president after five people above her in line for the office resigned. She has openly made racist tweets against indigenous communities. She has called them “satanists” because of their beliefs and has mocked them being barefoot, as reported by the Buenos Aires Times. Chavez is igniting flares of fascism in a dissolving democracy and represents the potential return of the oppression long suffered by indigenous communities before Morales.

“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,” President Donald Trump, said in a White House statement on Nov. 11.

The only reason the president welcomes the coup with warm open arms is to exploit the high amounts of lithium in Bolivia. The Bolivian government claims to have 70% of the world’s lithium, the very thing necessary to power modern technology such as smartphones and laptops. People’s World has reported U.S. Embassy officials have met with diplomats about providing financing and weapon shipments to Bolivian opposition forces, and bribing coca farmers in the countryside to vote against Morales. A CIA station in La Paz has also generated over 68,000 fake anti-Morales tweets.

Bernie Sanders should not be the only 2020 presidential candidate to speak out in stern opposition to the coup. A coup d’etat is one of the many of murder weapons of a dying democracy throughout human history. The U.S. should stop backing or acknowledging fascist regimes for monetary gain in Latin America unless it is an attempt to restore the lingering branches of democracy.

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