Inside America’s Failed Bolivia Coup

In November last year, things were looking grim for Bolivians.

Their beloved President Evo Morales – who had cut poverty in half by nationalising the energy sector, redistributing wealth, and democratising the constitution – was overthrown. The US has a long history of interfering in metal and cocaine-rich Bolivia.

From mid-2019, the US military and State Department worked with wealthy, extremist opponents of Morales to have him deposed. But within 12 months, a Morales-approved candidate was elected President.

[…Continued]

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How did the coup unfold and why did it fail?
By Dr. T.J. Coles for TOTT News.
What really happened in Bolivia? Photo: MKE

PLOTTING THE COUP

Late-last year, a coup was plotted by at least five US-trained Bolivian officers and colonels, the US State Department, the Organization of American States, political opponents, and elements within the Catholic and Evangelical Churches, against Bolivia.

Leaked conversations reveal that the coup was set in motion in July and planned to roll into November, when the presidential election was due to be held.

According to the US-trained Col. Pacello Aguirre, the Civic Patriotism and Military Parade events on August 6th and 7th were the key dates.

Many wealthy Latin Americans who fled left-wing governments in Central and South America settled in Florida and other US states, making contact with Latin-Hispanic Senators.

Leaked audio confirms that the Bolivian coup plotters reckoned they had the support of US Senators Ted Cruz, Bob Menendez, and Marco Rubio. Bolivia’s Civic Committee represents rural regions and has been likened by commentators to chambers of commerce.

Members and opposition politicians, including Jaime Antonio Alarcón Daza and Minister of Public Works Iván Árias, discussed raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from the US Embassy, the European Union, the Catholic Jubileo Foundation, and the Evangelical Church. The money would be used to buy “rapid voting machines” and to pay vote counters to fix the election against Morales.

An unnamed US State Department official admits of Bolivia: “We were there shortly before the 2019 elections and soon after and met many of the young people who took to the streets.”

Another acknowledges: “We supported the efforts of President Jeanine Anez’s transitional administration to govern during this interim period.”

Taking to the streets refers to the anti-Morales demonstrations, which included placards calling for defence of the constitution against Morales’s alleged violations.

These included provocateurs employing false-flag tactics, such as pretending to be Morales supporters and destroying property. Col. Pacello Aguirre called on “the youth to direct a whole movement for this country.”

The Civic Committees pre-empted help to Morales from Cuba by blockading the Cuban Embassy, Consulate, and Ambassador’s residence, as well as the homes of Cuban ex-pats living in Bolivia.

Cyberwarfare was conducted, with 68,000 fake twitter accounts (48k in four days) making and sharing over a million tweets between November 9th and 17th. The code enabling hashtag sharing was written by Luis Suarez, a former Fort Hood (Texas) Sergeant. 

The US-trained Colonel Teobaldo Cardoso and Army General Remberto Siles (both retired), were recorded saying that the coup was prepared and that active and retired military officers ready.

Manfred Reyes is a retired, US-trained military officer and former Mayor who unsuccessfully ran to be President in 2002 and 2009.

He is named as a participant in the coup plan and heard speaking to the opposition politician, Miriam Pereira, and to the journalists Carlos and Chanet Blacut.

IMPLEMENTING THE COUP

As is standard practice in Bolivian parliamentary elections, the majority-indigenous, pro-Morales rural votes are counted first. With the coup primed, opposition leaders called fraud, knowing that the town and city votes simply take longer to count.

The pro-US Organization of American States (OAS) gave the opposition’s claim gravitas by echoing the fake accusation of fraud.

Referring to the US Permanent Representative to the OAS, LA Times reporter Tracy Wilkinson asked the US State Department about their “pressuring the OAS through Carlos Trujillo to declare the election fraudulent”: an allegation not denied by the State Department.

Many of the bloody wars of Central and South America from the 1960s to ‘90s were led by militaries trained in the US at Fort Benning’s School of the Americas (founded 1946), which was rebranded with the Orwellian name, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

Like the four military personnel mentioned above, Bolivia’s top colonel, Williams Kaliman, was trained at WHINSEC. Posing as an anti-colonialist, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Bolivia by Morales in 2018. 

Adding to the pressure from the US and the OAS, Kaliman told Morales on November 10th to step down. 

Morales says: “The coup plotters offered $50,000 to a security member to hand me over before I resigned.” Morales sought refuge in President Manuel López Obrador’s Mexico. The US wasted no time publicly legitimising the new regime of Jeanine Añez.

Trump’s speechwriters wrote: “The resignation … [of] Morales is a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.” Western media dutifully repeated the lies.

The Guardian’s Tom Phillips even interviewed Arturo Murillo, the coup Interior Minister who called Morales and his supporters “terrorists” and spoke of “hunting” them down. 

By insulting native Bolivians like Morales, the new leader Añez sent positive signals to the wealthy minority of ethnic Europeans: “Let’s not allow the arbitrary, the violent, and the savage return to power.”

In the nearly-empty Plurinational Legislative Assembly, the military placed the Presidential sash on Añez, who imposed martial law and immunity for police and military on November 15th. 

HOW THE COUP FAILED 

People power in motion. Photo: LWE

Bolivia is a major earth-metals exporter. Big business wasted no time congratulating the new regime.

Elon Musk’s companies enjoy billions of dollars in US government subsidies and benefit financially from Bolivia’s mineral resources that make the components for Musk’s electric vehicles and space platforms.

In the year of the coup according to company reports, his Tesla corporation was procuring gold, tantalum, tungsten, and tin from Bolivia and many other countries.

“We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it,” tweeted the multibillionaire. (Twitter and Google have covered for Musk, making his tweet unavailable and the original thread hard, but not impossible, to find.)

The Spanish language edition of Forbes adorned its cover with a glowing image of Añez, reading: “El poder es femenino” (“Power is feminine”). Biz Latin Hub says it “specializes in the provision market entry and back office services.”

According to them, the coup government’s Foreign Minister, Karin Longaric, stated that “the country seeks to improve the commercial benefits and open the market to foreign investment as they had done before Morales took charge.” This, they hoped, “would improve investment and commercial endeavours.”

But like the failed, US-backed coup against Venezuela’s Chávez in 2002, ordinary Bolivians who had benefited from over a decade of Morales did not go gentle into that goodnight.

Despite ongoing violence, such as Supreme Decree 4200 being used by Interior Minister Murillo to arrest 67 regime opponents for “destabilisation and misinformation” (37 of whom were subject to summary proceedings), the government failed.

Beginning July 2020, thousands of protestors blocked roads in El Alto. Backed by the Central Obrera Boliviana workers’ union and campesino movements, the protests spread throughout the country, bringing the nation to a standstill.

At first, the regime ramped up its repression, arresting protestors for “sedition” and “terrorism.” They also employed thugs to intimidate protestors. When these options failed, the regime filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court against the protestors, claiming that they had blocked vital medical supplies.

By September, the game was up for the regime. Añez stepped down, allowing the Morales-approved Luis Arce to win decisively.

The Bolivia crisis shows that even imperial powers are helpless when people get together and act as a single unit for the common good. 


Dr. T.J. Coles is the author of several books, including The War on You

Check out Coles’ Amazon page by clicking here.


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1 comments on “Inside America’s Failed Bolivia Coup”

  1. How do we know it failed if we don’t know the end game? What seems to be isn’t always what is.

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