Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coup Watch Update

There is now open speculation in the Bolivian press and from diverse sectors about the possibility of a golpe de estado in the near future against Evo Morales' government . This is not the first time such rumors have floated, so let's not freak out, but you may ask yourself, why would the conservative opposition be probing the waters for such a move now?

Well the US Embassy might have a good answer for us. Because according to their surveys Evo will sail through the upcoming recall referendum August 10th with 60+ percent approval, while every single opposition prefect is in danger of being revoked. The only two safe seats are the MAS prefects in Potosi and Oruro. The opposition prefects of Cochabamba, Pando, and Tarija are almost certain to go, while support for the prefects of Beni and Santa Cruz is right on the line. Apparently their support dissolves when you get outside of the cities and encounter all those indigenous and campesino folks, my guess is who aren't too down with the racism.

These soon to be unemployed prefects tried to call for a cancellation of the recall referendums, a move which has blown up in their faces, as even the Departmental Electoral Courts which ran the illegal autonomy referendums and the largest opposition party PODEMOS (whose power is in the Senate) have stated that the referendums will go forward as scheduled.

However Oscar Ortiz of PODEMOS, the President of the Senate is reaching new heights of bullshit in pushing forward accusations of presidential complicity and "state terrorism" in that fishy Yacuiba bombing. Ortiz confirmed that he is certain the order for the bombing came from the Presidential Palace, why? eh, whatever.

Simultaneously, rumors emerged that the AK-47 found in the jeep of the military officer accused of carry out the bombing came from... Venezuela!, because tracking down the origins of a random Ak-47 in South America is so easy. The press claimed apart of a 100,000 AK-47 shipment Hugo recently bought from Russia, suspicious because Donald Rumsfeld said so, whose word is as good as gold. I just knew Hugo had his hand in this one! The Bolivian Defense Minister retorted bullshit and clarified that the Bolivian armed forces have 10,000 Ak-47s, acquired from China, not Venezuela.

Of course the accused officer's alleged connection with the Palace has yet to be verified. I would have thought that damning identity card would have been printed on the front page of every newspaper by now along with weapons found in the jeep. I guess they are saving the good stuff for later. Don't worry if you're starting to have doubts about the connection between the material evidence in question and the Presidential Palace, as Ortiz assures us that this Venezuelan terrorist plot goes even deeper. He is now certain the jeep and weapons came from the Venezuelan Embassy!

Also, the Union Juvenil Crucenista is apparently plotting to seize control of government offices in Santa Cruz and are getting into spats, and arrests with the national police. The alliance of Chapare campesino unions (Evo's homies) have decided to kick USAID out of their region. And why aren't more foreign English language journalists in Bolivia like this Brazilian.

It is important to view the current moment in relation to some history, that of Bolivia's neighbor. Don't forget that September 11th, 1973 the day Salvador Allende was killed, his socialist government overthrow, and Chile's democratic constitution eviscerated by Pinochet was the scheduled date for a recall referendum on Allende's presidency. However, in 2008 Bolivia the golpistas may be encountering different conditions.


Bina said...

Wow, what a farce. They ARE getting desperate! That can only mean that Evo is going to win in a landslide, and the scummy prefects are about to be washed out to sea. We may even see a MAS resurgence in the Media Luna--who knows? One thing I know for sure is that fascists always pull out the violence and the smears when they can't make a more compelling case for why anyone should give them the time of day. And when they are losing badly. They've tried to market their bogus "vision" with dancing cheerleaders, and no one's buying. The majority has either abstained or come out directly against them. So now out comes the heavy artillery: first the smears (to fabricate a "case" for topping a popular leader), then the coup attempts. Ain't gonna happen, suckas! Evo's got not just the Bolivian indigenous and the white leftists behind him, but the solid support of practically all South American leaders, plus those of Nicaragua and Cuba. If he's toppled (or, Pachamama forbid, killed), there will be a lot of backs suddenly turned on the prefects of the Media Luna. The only time anyone's face will be toward them is when that person is pelting them with rocks!

Anonymous said...


Do you have any information regarding the possible divisions within the Bolivian military, or specifically within the Army? In other words would you argue that a significant faction exists within the military that would be receptive to such overtures? Much of what I have come across suggests that the military is generally unified behind Morales and/or that the Morales government has done enough in terms of military spending/benefits to placate the military and co-op their loyalty. What do you think?



El Duderino said...

I agree with you, and meant to imply such with the photo of ponchos rojos marching in step with the military.

But make no mistake that the opposition is working to precipitate a crisis that would delegitimize Evo and give cause for the old guard to return to power. I am not knowledgeable enough to say what specific segments of the military may or may not be open to considering a golpe, but I do know the question has caused enough concern in the government for them to shuffle around the positions of the top brass in the last year, and for Evo to occasionally make statements reminding the FFAA of where their loyalties ought to lie. We'll have to see how this all plays out.

gonzalez said...

The assertion that the AK-47 came from Venezuela is not only ridiculous for the reason you state, but also because the Venezuelan military does not even USE AK-47s. The main assault rifle of the Venezuelan armed forces has been for decades the European FN FAL, which they were in fact the first nation outside of FN's native Belgium to adopt.

The Russian rifle that is now replacing it is not the old AK-47 but the new AK-103, a modernized model made entirely out of black plastic that is impossible to mistake for the iconic wood and metal original. Pic here:

So La Razon is either lying or very bad at basic research you can do at Wikipedia, because there was never any basis to assume that the AK-47s in use by the Bolivian army are from Venezuela. Even if the Venezuelan government DID have AK-47s, as opposed to AK-103s or FN FALs or any other kind of small arms, do they seriously think some not particularly militaristic developing country with problems of its own just has 10,000 rifles to spare for any given cause?