This is the Cocalero Leader Who Could Replace Evo Morales in Bolivia (Interview)

Montevideo (Sputnik) – Bolivian politician and Bolivian leader Andrónico Rodríguez, whom some media point out as a possible candidate of the Movement To Socialism (MAS, left), told Sputnik that he could run if he has the support of former president Evo Morales (2006-2019 ).

He also said that the MAS must bet on self-criticism and unity to generate a true replacement process.

Rodriguez, 30, with a degree in political science, is vice president of the coordinator of the Six Federations of coca growers of the Tropic of Cochabamba (center), an organization from which Morales emerged.

Local media classify him as “the heir” of the former president or the “most trusted man by Morales in his greatest stronghold.”

– In the last hours his name has been in several international media because he is indicated as a possible candidate of the MAS. What do you have to say about this?

In my social networks and in the media my name is coming out, even more in this difficult moment that we are living. Many people see me as a possible candidate, although nothing is defined because departmental meetings are still being agreed.

As of yesterday, a period of five to eight days was given, within which the MAS will be structured in an organic manner and will define who will be its leaders. I saw that some international media have been pointing to me a lot, but much will depend on the approval of President Evo Morales himself, who is also the leader of the MAS at the national level and president of the movement that I belong to. The truth is that I am currently serving as vice president of one of the most important organizations in Bolivia.

– If the MAS choose you as a candidate, are you willing to take this responsibility?

The truth is that I feel an inexplicable sensation. None of this was in my plans or in my mind, despite so much social media propaganda. Because I am busier in the social struggle, with the detained, persecuted and disappeared. It is an organic decision that must be defined. I am not that sure. Finally, if the parent organizations of the MAS at the national level support me and there is the approval of President Evo, there will be no other way to go. But it is a very difficult time and the responsibility that one is going to assume is very great.

– If the MAS chooses you as a candidate, what things would you promote within the party?

There are many issues to address at this time internally by MAS, such as restructuring at the regional, departmental and national level. That is going to be a big task. At this time there are many self-appointed leaders who are not so organic, since MAS responds to its bases, it is first important to work to generate conditions of unity at the level of regions and departments and converge at the national level.

© PHOTO: COURTESY ANDRÓNICO RODRÍGUEZ LEDEZMA Andrónico Rodríguez, politician and Bolivian cocalero leader

It is very important to start taking into account the well-committed people, who have acted from conviction during the coup d’etat, resisting it. Some, because the president resigned, also resigned not only their position but as militants. It will be important to make replacements with very honest characters, with commitment, who take the reins. Also identify some mistakes that have been made at this time and own them with a lot of responsibility and self-criticism but also defend the great successes that we have had in these more than thirteen years of government. As a political party it will be very important to do an x-ray to identify the mistakes we have made.

– You say it is necessary to identify errors. What do you think they have been?

There have been many mistakes. We want to concentrate all these actors from the nine departments so that many proposals and errors come out. One of our big problems is that candidates have been imposed, ignoring the bases. We have overlooked the the bases choice and been more interested in being a friend of the minister or the influential leader. It will be necessary to take into account the opinion and decisions of the bases. I also believe that it will be very important to take into account that, being an authority, mayor, leader or minister, you have chosen to be a conformist. In the moment of stability we didn’t innovate ideas, we don’t generate unity or political debate. One of our biggest mistakes is that in times of social peace and stability we have not politically educated our militants, so they tend to become bored with their leaders.

– The idea that you have a very fluid relationship with Evo Morales appears in the media. What do you have to say about this?

President Evo Morales, who is also president of the Six Confederations of the Tropic of Cochabamba, and in a congress last year they elected me by proclamation of all delegates following Evo. I am his immediate successor because we have to coordinate very closely all the activities we have, both political and social, of the confederation. The president is always attentive and aware of how the bases are, what people say and what is missing in terms of production. We have a fluid relationship for this reason, I follow him immediately in the social organization.

– Some authorities accused him of terrorism and sedition. What do you think about this?

The truth is that it is nothing new. Overnight the president is not president and is in Mexico. An usurping president assumes office. Some media and politicians begin to question leaders. The truth is that it is nothing new. In 2001, 2002 and 2003 it also happened, it was said that Evo was terrorist, seditious, dangerous, the one that blocked the country and the one that attacked the Bolivian economy. They said mobilization was bad when it is a right to protest. We said they are pressing the president to make him resign and usurp the position.

The president said “I will not be a candidate, let’s go to new elections, but let me finish my term until January.” The truth is that we doubt very much that the opposition after using violence, anti-democratic methods, closing institutions, beating public officials, giving anxiety in the cities, can respect democracy when, by order of the (de facto) government, the police and military go out to shoot the people. We said we mobilized against this unconstitutional government. What happened happened, I am a little worried. But the ones who judges and who have the last word are the citizens.

We considered that it was necessary to mobilize because the threats were not only against the president but they moved to the streets, wanting to burn our tents, our properties, even grabbed relatives and threatened you if you did not speak against Evo.

© REUTERS / DANILO BALDERRAMA Andrónico Rodríguez, politician and Bolivian cocalero leader

There is no freedom, rights are truncated, so we mobilize. They blamed me that I am leading an armed movement, training, collecting weapons, receiving advice from the FARC (the dissolved guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), or that I am defending drug trafficking. Everything is totally false. They still file a criminal complaint accusing me of generating violence in Bolivia when they started and are responsible for the problems. They file a criminal complaint without any evidence. Your complaint does not advance if no evidence is presented. The protest is extremely legal because it is a right. If something happens to the leaders or to me, they invent crimes. What they did is serious and that scares us a bit. Lastly, I want to ask all social movements in Bolivia and Latin America to generate conditions of unity, because these are difficult times that we are living in Bolivia, Chile and in different countries. Unity is a central weapon for social movements.

Featured image: © REUTERS / Danilo Balderrama

Source URL: Sputnik News

Translated by JRE/EF

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