Bernie calls it as he sees it: What happened in Bolivia was a coup

Bolivia is in turmoill following the coup that ousted President Evo Morales who resigned and is now in Mexico. At least 20 people have been killed in clashes between the security forces and protestors. Morales’ political party the Movement for Socialism (Mas) has the majority in parliament and could vote to reject Morales’s resignation but have chosen not to, for fear of exacerbating the tensions.

Bernie Sanders was questioned about events in Bolivia and was unequivocal about calling it a coup.

So far, we have had two successful right wing takeovers of Latin American countries in Brazil and Bolivia and an as-yet unsuccessful ongoing attempt in Venezuela, with the US backing all three.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    So far, we have had two successful right wing takeovers of Latin American countries in Brazil and Bolivia and an as-yet unsuccessful ongoing attempt in Venezuela, with the US backing all three.

    Plus whatever-the-hell is going on in Ecuador (so far I haven’t found any comprehensive/trustworthy-seeming accounts).

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oh, and count the current president of Guatemala as instigating another hard-right regime.

  3. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I was reading something about this. Claimed that Evo Morales packed their supreme court equivalent with supporters. Then claimed that Evo Morales was already in violation of the constitutional term limits for his third term, but his supporters in the supreme court gave him an extra term with some highly dubious logic. Then when time came for his fourth election run, that would have been a clear violation of the constitutional term limits, and so he first tried to pass a constitutional amendment, and the public narrowly voted against it.
    And then he ran anyway, and the supreme court ruled that Evo Morales’s human rights / civil rights were being violated by constitutional term limits, and so he was “elected” for a fourth time.

    Assuming this story is roughly accurate, I sympathize in part with the so-called “coup”. When you have a supreme court that is that willing to flagrantly violate the law in favor of their president, then the system has collapsed.

    Reminds me of how close the US might be to a similar situation ala Trump. I think Trump is still at least a few SCOTUS judges away.

  4. bmiller says


    You bring up an interesting question: If one is almost…religiously…committed to a process of social change, then one can be very impatient/dismissive of legally established norms. At the same time, those norms ARE important. Morales may indeed be a “good actor” to a large element of Bolivian society which has been historically disempowered and exploited. One can understand why his supporters are still supportive of him. And yet…one could claim the same thing about Trump voters who still support their Mango Menace who tramples on norms and procedures and traditions. I am a bureaucrat who can be impatient with process and legalisms, yet there is a reason for them. Ignoring constitutional term limits and electoral norms is a pretty serious violation. And yet, the anti-Morales people do represent an urban upper class that is unhappy their position is in any way threatened. Hence, their hatred of Morales (see: anti Roosevelt elites in the 1930s, heck, the other, dominant part of Trump’s base-upper middle class white suburbanites).

    Tragic…not sure how it will be fairly resolved. Throw in the nefarious hand of the United States and it cannot end well.

    (I would also note that the Bolivarian revolutionary movement also seems to be engaged in quite a bit of magical thinking w/r/t economics. Just like the disaster in Venezuela. I am less enamored than our host with Maduro, even as I acknowledge how nefarious the American role has been in that poor country)

  5. mnb0 says

    Of course the only reason MS objects the “as-yet unsuccessful ongoing attempt in Venezuela” is because he supports anyone who clinches with Donald the Clown. To justify it he has to suggest that Guaidó Márquez is right wing, like the Brazilian president Bolsonaro. When it comes to MS’ simple political scheme he doesn’t care anymore about facts than a creationist regarding evolution.
    In reality Guaidó Márquez represents a party that “was formed in reaction to alleged infringements of individual freedom and human rights on the part of the government of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro.” In reality Maduro “first took from the poor, then the middle class, then the upper class, then …. until almost everyone in Venezuela had become poor. As long as Maduro opens his big mouth against the USA MS is totally OK with him violating human rights, ruining the economy and will condemn any opposition that seeks to repair the damage.

  6. mnb0 says

    @Bmiller: “as I acknowledge how nefarious the American role has been in that poor country.”
    1) The country isn’t poor; it has the largest oil reserves in the world -- yup, larger than Saudi-Arabia.
    2) The majority of the Venezuelans has been made poor by the disastrous economic politics of Chavez and Maduro.
    3) Chavez and Maduro have made very sure that they benefited immensely from the oil revenues.
    4) Had C and M done their job properly the USA could not have played any role in Venzuela anymore than in Saudi-Arabia.
    5) MS doesn’t want to know, because ideology.

    “Fun” fact: Hugo Chavez tried a military coup in 1992. When he was elected in 1998 he immediately rewrote the constitution and modelled it after the Argentinean constitution of Juan Peron -- an admirer of Hitler. If Chavez and Maduro are left-wing, as MS tries to suggest again and again, then the pope is a buddhist.

  7. bmiller says

    mnbo: Economies based on resource extraction* are often authoritarian economic disasters. (See: Nigeria. Heck, see Texas! and the home of the head choppin’ House of Saud is no paradise?)
    I totally agree with point #2. While I agree that U.S. interference is a factor, one cannot deny that Maduro HAS been a disaster due to the same kind of crony capitalism and utter corruption often found in other resource extraction economies. I also agree with 3). 4), and 5). I am disappointed in our host, who I generally agree with on so many things that he seems so enamored with the bus driver and his gang of thugs. BUT, like Trumpalos in the United States, there was a sense of disdain and unfairness among a good part of the poorer population. As with Trump, these voters supported a disastrous administration. Not every popular rebellion is a good thing.

    *for every Norway, there are multiple Nigerias

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