Improved civil rights. Improved educational system. Improved infrastructure. Increased wages. Job growth. Booming economy. Decreases in poverty, crime, homelessness, serious illness, health care costs and preventable deaths. A level of inclusiveness that never existed under U.S. approved corporate puppets.
Bolivia had actually achieved democracy in recent years. They have gone in the opposite direction that the United States has taken, as we have allowed our former democracy to become a carcass on the side of the road called progress.
Have the “powers that be” in the United States looked to Bolivia as a shining light of democracy – what can be accomplished when obscene personal greed is set aside for the well-being of all in a society? After all, isn’t that what democracy actually is about? (OK, we in the U.S. do have a large percentage of imbeciles who can’t differentiate between democracy and Capitalism. Or between needs and desires. But I digress…)
No, we instead decided that no one in this hemisphere can live in anything resembling a democracy since it might give people in other countries (especially here in the U.S.) ideas of actual (as opposed to perceived) freedom. Since you can’t kill an idea, Capitalists need to bury it under megatons of fear, ignorance and desperation.
For centuries, the Indigenous of Bolivia had been second class citizens. Ignored in the election booth, ignored in the corridors of power, ignored by the mainstream media – many relegated to inferior jobs for far too long. Yes, some progress had been made, but it was, as people in this country often say: too little, too late.
Finally, workers stood up and decided enough was enough. They united and organized themselves into a power to be reckoned with and Evo Morales became the first Indigenous person elected president of a South American country. The results have been a thing of beauty.
No, Bolivia did not become a utopia. As all thinking people understand, there is no such thing, at least not on this planet. Creating a just, viable democracy is a long, difficult process and in Bolivia it is still a work in progress – or, was a work in progress – until arrogant, parasitic, “holier than thou” corporate manipulators saw a huge potential for profit in this former “colony” of the United States.
We have allowed wealthy business executives to direct U.S. foreign policy for decades and have seen entire nations decimated to allow U.S. corporations to steal (or buy at a low, low price) the natural resources of sovereign nations. It has usually, though not always, been the governments of oil-producing nations we have invaded either covertly (Operation Condor in Latin America and Operation Ajax, the 1953 coup d’ètat in Iran are two examples) or overtly through actual war.
In Bolivia, it is lithium. What? Bring paid anarchy, death of innocent civilians and devastation to a country over lithium? Yes. Lithium is an extremely sought after material in this day of internet devices and new, improved batteries for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry. Wall Street predators – uh, speculators are drooling over the potential profits of this previously unknown commodity. And some “experts” believe Bolivia might have approximately half of the world’s known deposits of lithium. No wonder so many people around the world are suddenly interested in this sparsely populated Andean nation.
Corporate boot lickers have been writing and talking about how the Organization of American States (controlled mostly by the U.S.) declared there were “irregularities” in the Bolivian election on October 20th. They carefully inserted the term “election fraud” in its place. Clever. They were delighted to write and talk about protests against Evo Morales running for another term over the objections of 51% of the voters in a voter referendum in 2016. (Mind you, 51% of voters didn’t think it was proper for him to flout term limits in running again, it wasn’t a 51% disapproval rating. Evo Morales is much more highly regarded in his country than the current U.S. president is in his country.)
However, how many of those corporate hacks in the media were discussing the fact that the military and police mysteriously and very suddenly changed direction in backing a fascist coup d’ètat, forcing Morales (as well as the Vice President and the President of the Senate) to resign just days after a huge lithium deal between the Morales administration and a German corporation was canceled?
Hmmmm, interesting timing, no?
On December 7, 2018, the Bolivian government signed a deal with a German company, ACI Systems. The state company Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) started a joint venture with ACI Systems to produce lithium hydroxide for use in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. Not long after the disputed election, Bolivia pulled out of the deal. Was it because Morales wanted to extort the German firm? That’s the modus operandi for powerful people in Capitalist countries. That’s something we could believe the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would do.
No, the Morales administration pulled out of the deal because of pressure from the people in the part of Bolivia who would be most affected by the mining of lithium.
What? People were willing to get in the way of corporate profits merely due to the potential destruction of a natural habitat and the addition of a few more manufacturing jobs? Yes. One of the stipulations in the deal was a guarantee that stringent environmental regulations would be adhered to. The people of Potosi wanted a better deal for Bolivia and the executives of the German firm decided that the regulations already agreed upon would take too much of the profits they wanted in their bank accounts.
Salar de Uyuni (pictured here), in Bolivia’s Potosi region, is one of the most serenely beautiful areas on the planet. Tourists from all around the world come to see this incredibly other-worldly paradise. It is one of the most photographed places on the planet. And it is an extremely delicate ecosystem. This is the area that holds the world’s largest deposits of lithium. Most Bolivians care enough to support protecting this amazing place.
Civic groups in Potosi protested against Morales for his re-election because they didn’t want this deal. The temporary fascists in charge want the deal to go through – against the wishes of those with the most at stake.
Now, Jeanine Añez, a right wing extremist, who’s party received just 4% of the vote in the latest election, is the acting president.
The resignations of Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and the forced decision by Senate President Adriana Salvatierra to keep her position in government but resign as President of the Senate came amid threats of violence against all top MAS officials unless they left office. The campaign of terror included the burning down of houses and the kidnapping of relatives of MAS officials. This placed Añez in a position to assume the presidency. And, this was after President Morales had agreed to hold new elections, but Gen. Williams Kaliman, Bolivia’s military chief, decided that didn’t matter. Obviously the financial backers of the coup had already made the decision to go all the way and try to eliminate the political party that represents the majority of the population. It was the only way these (mostly “Christian” European) wealthy people could take power, reduce the Indigenous majority to second class citizenship – again – and restore Bolivia to its former colony status.
Another interesting fact that highlights the illegitimacy of this administration is that Añez declared herself President while there were not enough senators present to legally vote on legislation since MAS members boycotted the Senate session due to fearing for their lives.
Any government that officially recognizes this illegal administration which took power through a military coup d’ètat condones violence and opposes democracy no matter how cleverly they use the language of politics. We need to urge our leaders, not only in the U.S., but across the world, to stand up for democracy, not bow down to fascism.