BOLIVIA: Right Wing Coup Deposes Opportunist Morales Government

Photo: Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation on Sunday

By Jakob Stein

On Sunday, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation following weeks of protests motivated by allegations of election fraud.

Morales has held the office for the past 14 years but was able to run for another term after the Constitutional Court decided to lift Presidential term limits in 2017.

Bolivian elections require either a majority of votes or a ten-point lead over the runner-up to avoid a runoff election. Allegations of fraud surfaced after election authorities stopped announcing results for 24 hours, during which time Morales’s numbers surpassed the ten-point margin.

Morales supporters and opposition groups face off during street protests

Once the election results were contested, a huge wave of protests erupted around the country. The masses rebelled in rejection of the reactionary old state, which over the past 14 years has only served to deepen the semi-colonial character of the country, increasing the exploitation of the peasantry and workers by pursuing a path of class collaboration.

The protests were intensified by far-right groups linked to both US imperialism and the comprador faction of the big bourgeoisie. As the protests came to a head, the military and police came out in opposition to Morales, and high-ranking officers demanded his resignation. Now Morales is fleeing to Mexico, seeking asylum under another opportunist, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The events of the past month in Bolivia are representative of what is happening throughout Latin America: the deepening of the general crisis of imperialism and by extension the crisis of bureaucratic capitalism. As the price of raw materials fall, and the economic “boom” that semi-colonial countries experienced from exporting them dwindles, the rotten essence of this “development” is revealed more and more.

Governments aligned with the bureaucrat bourgeoisie, exemplified by Morales, are less able to deliver on the reforms they promise the masses and are increasingly compelled by US imperialism and domestic capitalists to increase exploitation and institute austerity measures.

The Joint Declaration of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and Organizations describes the situation: “In this decade there is a greater decomposition of the old State that supports and defends it [bureaucratic capitalism]. [There is] political crisis of reactionary regimes, of both factions [comprador and bureaucrat], including those headed by opportunism. Regimes rise to the government to administer the old States in conditions of certain fiscal bonanza (“trickle”) which allowed them to manipulate the masses and apply corporatism and clientelism to contain them using the ‘social programs’ as in Brazil with the reactionary government headed by Lula and the PT [Workers Party].” [italics ours]

While Morales seeks asylum in Mexico, it is the masses of Bolivia who will suffer the most under the right wing coup. Whether they live under a far right fascist regime represented by opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, or under a military junta, it is the people who will be subjected to the whims of imperialism, at this time chiefly US imperialism, meaning even greater exploitation and misery.

Christian fascist and opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho

Right wing coups do not fall from the sky, they become operational on the basis of contradictions in an existing society, which US imperialist and its CIA make  use of to carry out their dubious ends.

The politics that gave rise to this right wing military coup provide further argument for the destruction of the old state and the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat. While revisionism and opportunism fail to deliver what the masses truly need, the right takes advantage and mobilizes the most reactionary segments of society (in this case motivated by US imperialism) to potentially impose fascism or military dictatorship. At the end of the day it is the poor peasants and workers of Bolivia who will feel the pressure of the military jackboot at the behest of US imperialists.

Incendiary strongly condemns the actions of US imperialism in Bolivia and the coup government on the basis of their subservience to imperialism. The people of Bolivia are right to rebel against such an anti-people coup, and their struggles must not be swept under the rug of the ineptitude of the Morales regime which in the final analysis  capitulated to imperialism once it could no longer serve it effectively.