Bolivia: Three Signs of a Soft Coup in the Making

By Mision Verdad  –  Mar 19, 2021

Towards the close of 2019, after the resounding electoral victory of Evo Morales, the military and police coup d’état in Bolivia was consummated, with coup resources clearly concentrated in Santa Cruz (under citizen and armed operations). Different national and international factions participated in these illegal and violent plots, but the most visible face of the coup, the one who ended up presiding over the new de facto government, was Jeanine Áñez.

This political passage is being recalled since the news of Áñez’s arrest broke on March 13. She is being investigated for the deaths of more than 20 Bolivians during the course of the coup in 2019.

Now, without detracting from the importance of Áñez’s arrest, the actions that are being unleashed to plunge Bolivia back into a scenario of destabilization are attracting attention, revealing that there is another coup operation in process.

In this instalment, we list three indicators in this regard.

1. THE OAS AGAIN

The involvement of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, was evident throughout the entire process of the coup in Bolivia in 2019. A biased report on the 2019 presidential elections published by the organization acted as the trigger to consolidate the change of government by military force. Even the BBC described Almagro’s role with the following words:

“Almagro is an unavoidable—and for many controversial—protagonist of the crisis that ended the presidency of Evo Morales in Bolivia.”

As there are efforts to stage another coup in Bolivia, Almagro has not remained idle. Regarding the arrest of Áñez, the OAS issued a statement alleging abuse of judicial mechanisms, invoking the by now common accusation without evidence, and then proposing a series of interference activities against the judiciary of Bolivia, among them reforming the justice system.

Starting with the accusation, they mount a narrative—without any investigation—about the lack of guarantees to carry out a “fair trial, with impartiality and due process, because of structural problems, particularly of the authorities.”

RELATED CONTENT: Arce and Puebla Group Criticize Almagro for Sticking his Nose into Bolivia Again

Likewise, apart from these accusations, the OAS has added a proposal to establish an international commission in charge of investigating the acts of corruption in Bolivia during the administration of Evo Morales.

It is once again an international organization meddling in matters that are solely within state jurisdiction, and also wanting to act as a hybrid of an international court for the cases that suit it, completely forgetting, in a treacherous manner, what is established in international law.

However, it is worth commenting that Almagro is not the creator of these instruments of interference; he is simply the messenger. There is a conglomerate of political and economic actors in the United States who are pushing for this to be carried out within and by the OAS.

In response to the official statement from OAS, the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it repudiates Almagro’s opinions and stressed that this communiqué seeks to “rekindle violence and confrontation among Bolivians.” This statement was refuted by the OAS, maintaining its position and denying its participation in the recent coup d’état.

The OAS, the multilateral US appendix, has already started gearing up for new acts of destabilization in Bolivia, just like those in 2019.

2. UNITED STATES AND OTHER ACTORS

The administration of Joe Biden could not be left out either, in advertising speculation about the legal actions against Áñez. On March 15, the US State Department established its position, assuring that it “is following with concern” the latest events in Bolivia, alluding to a possible partiality of the judicial process.

In total harmony with the United States, the European Union published a statement expressing that the arrest of Áñez and two ministers of that government is worrisome, and therefore the regional bloc is following it closely, adding that they hope that the process is based on transparency of the public powers.

Thus, in retrospect, the United States and the European Union, utilizing diplomatic detours, maintain this intriguing position, because in the midst of the coup d’état against Evo Morales they doubted the transparency of the electoral process and asked for new elections.

On March 13, the very day of Áñez’s arrest, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, pronounced in a diplomatic tone about respect for the guarantees and transparency of the Bolivian judicial process.

In contrast, there was the position of Mexico, which under the Estrada doctrine called for respect for the rule of the constitution in Bolivia and non-interference in Bolivia’s internal affairs. Specifically, the director general of the American Regional Organizations and Mechanisms of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations, Efraín Guadarrama, advised the OAS to behave in accordance with its powers and to keep within its boundaries, to adhere to a peaceful solution, and “to avoid positions that seek to interfere in the internal affairs of Bolivia.”

Guadarrama added that Luis Almagro must refrain from confronting the Bolivian government, which was democratically elected.

Venezuela adopted the same position as Mexico. After Almagro’s foolish and colonial statements, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza expressed his support for Bolivia.

These first two signs indicate that international pieces are being moved on the board, aiming for another coup in Bolivia. The usual suspects, embraced by the United States, are displaying an attitude in defense of regime change in 2019 and of a possible reissue in 2021. A foreign escalation could easily convert into an escalation within Bolivia.

RELATED CONTENT: Bolivia Considers Taking Legal Action Against OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro

3. BELLIGERENT MOBILIZATIONS IN BOLIVIA

On March 7, departmental, regional and municipal elections were held in Bolivia, to elect the nine departmental governors and more than 300 mayors.

In the first round, the governing party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) was victorious in three governorates—Cochabamba, Oruro and Potosí. On the other hand, one of the coup plotters from the “civil” organizations, Luis Fernando Camacho, won the Santa Cruz government.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Salvador Romero, informed that the second round for the elections of the governors of the departments of Pando, La Paz, Tarija and Chuquisaca will be held on April 11 this year.

This context is important since it mobilizes groups of the Bolivian political scene that participated in the 2019 coup and that, when Luis Arce recently triumphed in the presidential elections, had no way of repositioning themselves in the “fraud scene” during those elections. The option of destabilizing other fronts, as has already been tried in other instances, looms again in the guise of “civic” mobilization. The elections to the governorships is a cultural broth that Camacho is encouraging to go back to violence in the streets.

In February, Camacho threatened President Arce by reminding him of how Evo Morales had to exit the government, taking as an excuse his rejection of the Health Emergency Law. But we know that everything crystallized under pressure from the Bolivian army and police.

Last Monday, March 15, Camacho and the Santa Cruz Civic Committee held a demonstration to “dismantle the government’s version that there was a coup” in 2019, giving symbolic continuity to what happened during the days of the regime change operation and reestablishing the department of Santa Cruz as the primary territory for protests in defense of Jeanine Áñez and against MAS.

It appears that Áñez’s arrest is related politically to the time of the new protests led by Camacho, taking into account that the judicial process against the most visible face of the coup began towards the end of 2020, when governmental management was not yet in the hands of President Arce. The dynamics of realpolitik lead us to think that sudden judicial decision-making in the middle of the electoral race is part of capitalizing on short-term electoral results or creating tensions among the different political factions.

The conjunction between protests, political tensions and coup rhetoric crystallizes in a slow-wick strategy, developed by the American academic Gene Sharp and followers of this coup strategy.

Multiple interests are on the table regarding Bolivia, especially due to its geopolitical and geoeconomic position, its political-cultural context which is more linked to the Bolivian plurinational base than to Western ideals, as well as the large lithium reserves that are crucial in the “energy transition” plans and that are the primary targets of major Anglo-Saxon powers.

With these indicators already present, there is no other alternative but to sound an alarm not only within Bolivia but also in Our America (Nuestramericana). The ghosts of the coup are once again settling on one of the countries that looks the global elites squarely in the eye, to resist any and all death threats.

 

Featured image: Jeanine Áñez was arrested in Beni and transferred to La Paz. Photo: Reuters

(Mision Verdad)

Translation: Orinoco Tribune

OT/JRE/SC/OH

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Misión Verdad
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Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution

Misión Verdad

Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution