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Adelante! Bolivia after the coup and the challenges ahead

In just 11 months the dictatorial regime of Jeanine Anez and her gang of criminals destroyed the economy and neglected the health of the people. Although the coup-plotters were defeated, we cannot be complacent, says MIRIAM AMANCAY COLQUE

IT IS one year since Bolivians recovered democracy with Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca of the left-wing MAS-IPSP alliance, a victory that was achieved thanks to the resilience and strength of the Bolivian people.

On November 11 2019, Mauricio Macri sent weapons and high-calibre ammunition to repress the Bolivians, as did Lenin Moreno of Ecuador. The Condor Mk2 Plan was under way in Bolivia.

On November 12 2019, supported by the Organisation of American States, imperialism and the national and regional far right, Jeanine Anez usurped power with her gang of criminals who did not hesitate to massacre the people, again spreading blood on the pages of our history, wanting to impose a neocolonial, republican and neoliberal regime. 

They looted the state coffers and enriched themselves in the middle of the pandemic.

With Decree 4078, Anez absolved the armed forces of responsibility for committing serious human rights violations such as the massacres of Sacaba and Senkata, El Pedregal, Yapacani, Betanzos.

In just 11 months the dictatorial regime destroyed the economy and neglected the health of the people. 

Many died in the streets of asphyxiation without medical attention and while the Covid tests were transported by land, the coup-plotters used and abused state assets, using armed forces planes to fly their friends to parties.

They turned our universities into strongholds of criminal fascists like the Cochala Youth Resistance (RJC) and the Crucenista Youth League (UJC). 

A week ago the UN-linked Committee Against Torture declared them to be paramilitary groups and, according to the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI-Bolivia), they should be dismantled.

On July 14 2020, the regime gave away 760,000 acres of public land in a corrupt deal favouring 46 latifundistas (large landowners). Branko Marinkovic also obtained an irregular concession of 34,320 acres of land.

With Decree 4272 they intended to privatise all basic services and cancel investment for public companies, a decree that was annulled by President Luis Arce.

Time and time again the tyrannical regime refused to call for elections under the pretext of Covid, until the people saying enough is enough rebelled and mobilised. 

During the quarantine, the people responded with cacerolazos (banging pots), firecrackers and later with marches and blockades, initially led by self-organised groups.

The mobilisations and campaigns maintained morale and did not allow the fascists to relax into “normality.” 

The grassroots courage and determination to unite with social movements stood out in defence of their constitutional rights, the restoration of democracy, the right to elect their leaders and demanding justice for our fallen. 

A titanic task, that in less than a year they knew how to challenge the coup-plotters with an admirable, exemplary and inspirational achievement for the whole world.

Even after the MAS-IPSP had won the October 2020 elections, the coup-plotters’ criminal attitude did not stop. 

Former defence minister Fernando Lopez planned another coup and an assassination attempt against President Arce with the same mercenaries who were involved in the assassination of the Haitian president.

They failed and therefore the weakness, political and geographical isolation of the coup-plotters, who represent only a small privileged, supremacist minority was exposed.

Last Monday, November 29, the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (TCP) confirmed that there was a coup in Bolivia and that Anez had illegally proclaimed herself president.

The extreme right continues to conspire against the democratic process. Recently, the Santa Cruz Civic Committee led by Romulo Calvo, who has more than 30 unresolved legal processes against him since 2003, supported by Luis Fernando Camacho, the main author of the 2019 coup, together with paramilitary groups, imposed an indefinite strike that lasted nine days, where the poorest were assaulted and killed. 

Their aim was the abrogation of decree 1386 whereby the government could uncover money laundering, human trafficking, etc, and because of the convulsion it was annulled. 

However, their real intention was to carry out another coup and remove Luis Arce from power.

This oligarchy is a deeply rooted minority that has considerable financial resources at their disposal with its seat of power in Santa Cruz and its ally, the Civic Committee of Potosinista (COMCIPO). 

Together they show off their racist, criminal tactics using paramilitary groups UJC, RJC and COMCIPO to impose their objectives. And of course they have full backing from the United States, transnational capital and tax haven interests.

As in 2008, they intend to balkanise and divide the country and return to their colonial, feudal and republican regime to continue exploiting, stealing and enriching themselves at the expense of the great majority. 

They are totally exclusive, predatory and racist and advocate neoliberal capitalism, accumulating their wealth only for themselves. 

The mistake was to have allowed these criminals to stand as candidates in the local elections (subnationals) and now they feel emboldened. 

Camacho is the Santa Cruz governor and Ivan Arias, a former coup minister, is the Mayor of La Paz. 

Camacho lacks management skills and he was unable to even administer the Covid vaccination programme and recently wasted more than 9,968 vaccines provided by the central government. Camacho's latest excuse is “federalism” to evade justice.

They lost at the polls and now they are destabilising the country and want to seize power using violence. They long to destroy the newly founded Plurinational Estate of Bolivia.

The response of the people was to come out united with an admirable ability to convene with representations of the nine departments, social movements, indigenous people from the high and lowlands, trade unions, students, small traders and show the imperialist far-right the historic “March for the Homeland” which began on November 23 at 4,000m altitude in Caracollo and concluded on November 29 in the historic Plaza de San Francisco, La Paz, with more than one-and-a-half million marchers.

Led by the Unity Pact, the COB (the main trade union confederation), President Arce, Vice-President David Choquehuanca and Evo Morales, chanting: “Strength, strength, comrades the fight is hard but we will win,” millions reaffirmed loyalty to the Arce and Choquehuanca government, demanding respect for democracy, sovereignty, dignity and that justice to prosecute the coup-plotters.

In their journey, the marchers saw whole communities that showed their solidarity and affection, providing hot drinks, food and that strengthened the will to reach their set goal defeating the far-right attempts to destabilise the country again.

The media and press as usual, misreported the march, stating that there were only 200 people. Nothing strange about that, they always lied, they will continue to lie, they are instrumental and servile to the oligarchs.

The economy is reactivated, there are vaccination programmes to combat Covid, education is reopened, and President Arce has a great desire to industrialise lithium, iron and many other industries taking care of the environment. 

Arce said: “We are going to overcome the economic, social, health, educational and cultural crisis.” 

And in relation to the justice system, he said: “Do your job. It is clear the inefficiency and delay of justice is the stone in the shoe for the government and they recognise it.”

Why do the genocidal and murderers still enjoy impunity? The people demand jail for Camacho, Calvo and all the coup-plotters, but it seems that there is a boycott. 

Justice does not listen to the people, the legal system is not functioning and needs an immediate restructuring.

The COB ratified the continuation of the state of emergency and told the fascists: respect the democratic government of Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca, let them govern, or we will end up nationalising all the companies and industries of Santa Cruz.

The Bolivian people are clear about the fight against fascism — and that is they do not negotiate with fascists, they have to defeat fascism which is faithfully aligned with the geopolitics of imperialism.

The Covid challenge will continue to threaten the health of the population. No country can deal with this in isolation. This will continue to put additional strains on health systems and the poorest economies and nations will pay the highest prices, including Bolivia, and we ask for equal treatment.

There can be no “Third World” health service in which the poor must die, while people in developed countries have wide access to vaccines and healthcare.

Despite these difficulties, Bolivia continues to set positive examples. It demonstrated that in democracy the economy was and is sustainable, redistributive, with public investment, creation of new industries, with health and education. 

As of October 2021, it registers the lowest inflation in Latin America, 0.54 per cent. This is how the Arce/Choquehuanca administration works, governing alongside the people with our ancestral rules: Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, Ama Quella. (Do not steal, lie or be lazy).

We say to the conspiratorial oligarchy, here you will find the people with high morale, firm conviction and ready to defend the process of change and the democratic and cultural revolution. 

Let us live in peace and dignity with jobs, good health, housing, education, Vivir Bien.

No to fascism! Jallalla Bolivia! Long live la Patria Grande!

Miriam Amancay Colque is spokesperson for Bartolina Sisa Resistance (Twitter: @BartolinaLives).

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