After weeks of increasing right-wing protests, the Bolivian military demanded on Sunday that President Evo Morales resign. The protests had reached a fever pitch, with the police joining the side of the right-wing in the streets demanding the president’s ouster.
After the police, the military and the Organization of American States (OAS) united against Morales, he resigned. Shortly thereafter, his house was ransacked, and Morales went into hiding. President Trump along with other right-wing leaders tweeted his support for the ouster. The elites of the eastern city of Santa Cruz (the richest sector of the country, linked to agribusiness), among the right-wing opposition and Catholic Church, celebrated Morales’ resignation.
Protesters burned indigenous flags. Policemen cut the indigenous symbol off their uniform holding Bibles and claiming to defend “democracy.” The coup leaders Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa started a furious political persecution against the MAS party and the workers and indigenous people who rejected the coup. They burned their homes, detained people and brutally repressed the anti-coup demonstrations.
We should make no mistake: This is a coup organized by the Bolivian capitalists, agribusiness, the church and the armed forces. It is supported by U.S. imperialist interests organized in the OAS, and it has a deeply racist, homophobic, anti-worker and anti-indigenous perspective. Trump is using it to threaten Cuba and Venezuela;after the failed coup of Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó, U.S. imperialism is trying to support a puppet government to support its interests.
Morales has since fled the country, having been offered exile in Mexico. On Tuesday night, despite not having quorum in Congress, right-wing leader Jeanine Áñez proclaimed herself president of Bolivia. She walked to Congress holding an oversized Bible over her head, declaring, “The Bible will come back to the presidential palace.”
In the midst of this crisis, there is strong resistance on the ground in the city of El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz. This area, which has a strong working-class mainly of Aymara origin, is organized in neighborhood councils that played a key role in ousting the noeoliberal government of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in 2003, and also confronting the failed coup against Morales in 2008. Now El Alto is on the front line again.
The day after the coup,