What a surprise! Bolivian coup was based on false premises

Two researchers from MIT write that the fraud claims that were used to launch a US-backed coup against president Evo Morales cannot be substantiated.

A new study released by a pair of MIT researchers Thursday reveals that, contrary to claims from the U.S.-backed Organization of American States, there was no fraud in Bolivia’s Oct. 20, 2019 elections — an accusation used by the OAS and others as a pretext for supporting the coup in the country that deposed President Evo Morales and replaced him with an unelected right-wing government.

MIT researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams reviewed the OAS report on the election for the Washington Post and found that the “election irregularities” cited by the group were based on “problematic” statistical claims. The OAS report rested its claim on the assumption that these so-called irregularities gave Morales a boost in numbers that raised his results over 10% higher than any other candidate, precluding a runoff election.

The orgnaization’s report bolstered the accusations of fraud in the Nov. 10 OAS report that precipitated the coup and the institution of hard-right legislator Jeanine Añez as president. The ensuing unrest and threats against he and his family, as Common Dreams reported at the time, forced Morales to flee the country for Mexico.

CEPR’s Weisbrot declared the researchers’ findings troubling and questioned the OAS’ credibility.

“This important analysis from MIT election researchers is the latest to show that the OAS’ statements were without basis, and that simple arithmetic shows that there is no evidence that fraud or irregularities affected the preliminary results, or the official results ― the ones that actually matter,” Weisbrot said. “The OAS needs to explain why it made these statements and why anyone should trust it when it comes to elections.”

The OAS is set to monitor new national elections in Bolivia set for May 3. Morales, still in exile, has effectively been barred from running.

Curiel and Williams also point to the role in the media for uncritically regurgitating OAS claims on face value as the coup against Morales’ Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS-IPSP) party was underway.

“The media has largely reported the allegations of fraud as fact,” the researchers write. “And many commentators have justified the coup as a response to electoral fraud by MAS-IPSP.”

It is a repeat of what happened with Lula in Brazil, where the US backed the effort to get rid of a popular leader, replaced the leader with a military-backed right-winger, and then prevented the popular leader from running again.

But look over there! Bernie Sanders said something nice about Cuba’s health and education systems!


  1. jrkrideau says

    Nice to have the study but it was clear to anyone not completely trusting the US propagandists press or the OAS that accusations of fraud in the Bolivian election were flat lies about 10 minutes after they were uttered.

    I believe that many US reporters on international affairs are more accurately referred to as “government stenographers”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *