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Photo by JORGE BERNAL/AFP via Getty Images.

IWL Statement on the Political Crisis in Bolivia

1- A counterrevolutionary coup in Bolivia, led by opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, the Armed Forces, and the police, was manipulatively carried out using a popular mobilization, in its progressive onset, against the electoral fraud by Evo Morales.

What is happening in Bolivia is part of a tremulous process that is taking place in several countries around the world with some of the toughest confrontations between revolution and counterrevolution. We have numerous revolutionary developments in the world (such as Chile, Haiti, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iraq, etc.), just as we had with this coup in Bolivia.

Those who fought against the Evo Morales government cannot be fooled to have any hope in this coup. Power at this time relies essentially on the Armed Forces. There will be nothing progressive from there, only the repression of the workers’ and popular movements.

We of the IWL, who have always stood against Evo’s bourgeois government, at this time call for the broadest unity of action against this military coup.

2- Evo Morales’s government was bourgeois, at the service of the multinationals and the Bolivian bourgeoisie. He made numerous concessions to Camacho, the same bourgeous coup planner from Santa Cruz. He maintained the support of most of big capital while being able to contain the mass movement. In 13 years in office, there has been no real change in the capitalist domination of the country. He even admitted burning part of the Amazon rainforest, along with Bolsonaro, to seek agreement with the agrarian bourgeoisie.

As a product of all these years in the administration of capitalism, Evo has accumulated a major drain. In an attempt to remain in power, even though increasingly unpopular, he overtook the outcome of the 2016 plebiscite, which prevented him from running for a fourth term. Then, when the election results indicated a second round, he acted fraudulently and declared himself victorious in the first round.

We have a commitment to truth and class independence. It is not because we stand clearly against the current coup that we will be silent on this bourgeois content of the Evo government.

It must be said that it was Evo Morales’ government that opened the conditions in those 13 years in power and with electoral fraud so that this coup was victorious.

3- All the processes with this degree of polarization have confusing and contradictory elements. The mobilization against electoral fraud was initially progressive, because it had a democratic content against Evo’s bourgeois government, although there were reactionary elements in it with the presence of a bourgeois leadership, such as former president Carlos Mesa. Mobilizations initially emerged in the middle class and then began to encompass broader popular sectors.

However, the ultra-right bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz, led by Camacho, relied on this mobilization to call a military coup. It is a violently xenophobic and anti-indigenous bourgeoisie that hates the acceptance of indigenous people in the country. Camacho never wanted a runoff election, but rather to overthrow Evo and consummate a military coup.

Different police riots began to follow, pointing in the direction of the coup, because they put the force of arms at the service of the ultra-right proposal and the overthrow of Evo. The Army summit initially assumed a “no intervention” stance, as if there were neutrality in such a situation. They later “asked” Evo to resign, a true ultimatum. Evo resigned.

Trump also demanded Evo’s resignation, and then applauded “the military for protecting the constitution.”

4-There was not simply Evo’s resignation. That was just the form. There was in essence a military coup, which Evo accepted without resistance.

Bolivia is now discussing how the formation of the new government and the conditions of the elections will be conducted. There may be differences and crises within the victorious bourgeois front itself, over the contradictions between Camacho and Mesa.

But in reality, there has already been a change in the regime in Bolivia which, if consolidated, will mean a major defeat for the mass movement. Power is not in the presidency and parliament – institutions of bourgeois democracy. Power passes through the Armed Forces, and its political bloc with the victorious bourgeois sector. This bourgeois sector includes, firstly, Camacho and the Santa Cruz. Secondly, Mesa and the rest of the bourgeoisie opposition.

There was a regime change from bourgeois democratic to Bonapartist as a result of a victorious coup. This is the essence of what is happening in Bolivia today. If this consolidates, it will mean a major defeat of the masses.

5- The resignation of Evo Morales has another important element. It is the refusal to resist the coup, typical of a bourgeois leader who has much to lose and runs away without a fight.

Bolivia has a history of many military coups. And also, much resistance to those coups that ended in defeat. This is what we refer to. It was possible to defeat the coup.

It is not true that Evo had no basis in the mass movement to resist. He had and still has. But to resist, it was necessary to mobilize and arm the workers, and this is something Evo did not want. He preferred to flee and demoralize the resistance, facilitating the victory of the coup.

If he were to resist, he would have to open a degree of revolutionary confrontation in the class struggle in Bolivia that, as a bourgeois leader, he preferred to avoid.

The consequences of this victorious coup have already begun to occur, and they must have even more severe ones to come. Arrests and repression against MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo – Movement to Socialism) leaders have already been unleashed. This repression will extend to the bases of the mass movement.

Now it is necessary to reorganize the forces in the direct struggles to put in place again the possibility of defeating the coup.

5- We call upon all organizations of the mass movement in Bolivia, and around the world, for the broadest unity of action to combat this coup. It is important that there are international mobilizations against the coup.

It is necessary to aim for self-organization of the mass movement to retake the resistance to defeat the coup.

We stand for free elections in Bolivia without any restrictions. We do not accept the ban on Evo’s candidacy or any MAS candidacy, which is what the new coup power is up to. We stand for free elections for all workers and any sectors wishing to participate.

As part of this struggle, we express our political independence from Evo Morales. We are not part of these reformist currents that ignore the bourgeois character of the Evo government, and its responsibility in establishing the conditions for this coup to be victorious so far.

Down with the coup in Bolivia!

For free elections, no restrictions!

No confidence in Evo Morales!