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When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role

When it comes to politics in Latin America, what initially seems clear is usually anything but.

And when that some complicated political event happens and is reported about in the US, the last place to look for clarity is the US media, which almost universally parrots the Washington line — an imperialist one that takes as it’s premise the so-called Monroe Doctrine that all of Latin America is “the US backyard.”

For well over a century or more, the US has played a corrupting hand throughout Latin America, often well hidden, sometimes in a hard-fisted manner.  The military juntas in Brazil, in Argentina, in Chile and in Nicaragua, the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Honduras, in Nicaragua, in Guatemala, in Haiti, in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, the failed invasion attempt in Cuba shortly after the successful Cuban Revolution, the brutal civil war in El Salvador and the Contra War against the Sandinista revolutionary government in Nicaragua, the hunt and eventual murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia, Operation Condor, which tracked and murdered thousands of revolutionaries as the CIA coordinated the reactionary forces of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay…

It’s an almost endless list, behind which one always finds the US Counter Intelligence Agency, US AID, the State Department and of course, the US military and its School  of the Americas—still a training ground for South American fascist military leaders ready to do the bidding of the region’s fascist tyrants, or to help overthrow democratically elected leaders unwilling to kowtow to US empire.

So it has been of late as the failed US attempted to crudely overturn the last re-election of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, even to the absurd extent of Washington’s ludicrous promotion of Juan Guaidó, a young nobody groomed at Georgetown University, as the “real” president of the country.

And so it surely is in the latest coup by the military and police of Bolivia who have succeeded in driving out of office and into Mexican exile the hugely popular Presidente Evo Morales of Bolivia, after he had just won re-election to a fourth term.

The US media are quick to call Morales a corrupt tyrant, but the former labor leader and first native American to win a presidency in Latin America is far more of an honest politician than at least 90 percent of the politicians in our own national capital, who rarely get called out for their reliance on the legal bribes they get from the wealthy and corporations looking for access and favorable legislation.

Morales has for 15 years been a breath of fresh air in a continent where the poor have generally been held down and forced to live on starvation incomes while their leaders vacation in Miami or New York City — a leader who pushed away the corporate interests, who spoke forcefully for real action on climate change, and who made huge strides to improve the lives of his long-suffering people.

It was Morales who, last year at a September session of the UN Security Council, on which Bolivia at the time held a temporary seat, blasted President Trump, who had come there in person to push for stiffer sanctions on Iran, claiming it was “promoting terrorism.”

“Bolivia categorically condemns the unilateral actions imposed by the government of the United States of America against Iran,” Morales said. The Bolivian president went on tr say of Trump that under his administration the US “could not care less about human rights of justice. If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties that have protected human rights. It would not have threatened the investigation mechanism of the International Criminal Court, more would it promote the use of torture, now would it have walked away from the Human Rights Council. And nor would it have separated migrant children from their families nor put them in cages.”

All true, and something we don’t hear from our own news media, which is content to echo official Washington in calling Morales a tyrant or dictator, even though there is no evidence of this and in portraying the US as a paragon of democratic virtue and as a champion of human rights.  Morales in fact just won an at least 40 percent plurality of the vote in a multi-party election for a fourth term, he hasn’t been arresting opponents and jailing them, and he has significantly improved the lives of Bolivia’s poorest people during his 15 years in office. (Maybe that last bit is his problem?)

Those words he spoke at the UN just over a year ago are fighting words for Trump as they have been for other US leaders who in the past have been denounced by democratic leaders in Latin America like Hugo Chavez and Salvador Allende and then faced US-orchestrated coups.

History shows us that US antipathy towards independent progressive leaders generally results in US-sponsored subversion and military coups.

I don’t pretend to know at this point what happened in Bolivia this past week or so, but I have no trouble predicting that as the days go by, we will gradually learn, though not from our complicit, imperialist national media organization, that the black hand of the CIA was behind the Bolivian military’s decision to drive Morales from power.

It has always been thus. It’s why the US Congress so lavishly funds the National Endowment for Democracy, the CIA, the School of the Americas, USAID and other such subversive outfits.

Viva Evo! Bolivia Libre!

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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