DPJC Position Statement

Bolivia: Dallas Peace and Justice Center Denounces Military Coup

(DALLAS, TX - November 12, 2019) Bolivia is in the midst of a dangerous political crisis! Last Sunday, democratically-elected Bolivian President Evo Morales, Latin America's longest serving leader, was forced by the country's military to resign. Morales had led the poorest nation in South America for fourteen years and was widely credited with lifting millions out of poverty. According to some media reports, the coup may be linked to a decision by Morales to cancel an agreement with a German firm for the sale of Lithium, a rare metal and critical component in the manufacture of electric car batteries. Bolivia has 50 to 70% of the world's supply of Lithium.
Morales' Oct 20 victory in Bolivia's national elections was disputed by the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS), that claimed the vote was fraught with irregularities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Senator Marco Rubio were quick to support the OAS position. President Donald Trump celebrated the coup saying, "The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian army for protecting the Bolivian constitution.... We are now a step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere."
As news of the coup spread, condemnations began to pour in from around the world. Jeremy Corbyn, UK Labour Party leader, President Manuel Obrador in Mexico and Brazil's former president Silva de Lula denounced the subversion of democracy in Bolivia. 
According to Hadi Jawad, Executive Director of the Dallas Peace and Justice Center (DPJC), "It is important to note that the OAS, backed by the US, has routinely undermined left-wing governments in South America while blindly supporting authoritarian regimes in the region. With a gun to his head, to say that Morales 'resigned' is disingenuous." He continued, "In Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua, and now Brazil, the US has supported coups and regime-change policies that harken back to the era when the US aggressively promoted right-wing candidates, and propped up tyrants that used death squads and kidnappings to maintain their grip on power."
Boliva has been ruled by a white European elite since the day of the conquistadors! Morales was the first indigenous president in this indigenous-majority nation. As president, he oversaw the reduction of poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by over 60%. He cut unemployment by 50% and introduced major public works reforms. Nationalizing the country's main resources, he focused on health, education and food security for poor Bolivians. But his rejection of neoliberal policies drew the ire of the US and western corporate interests and hastened his removal from office.
Jawad added, "the message is clear: it's not a coup when the outcome favors the US and its allies."