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News > Bolivia

Elections in Bolivia: A Road Towards Stability or Chaos?

  • Citizens at the Peace Square, Bolivia, June 26, 2020.

    Citizens at the Peace Square, Bolivia, June 26, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @ladiaria

Published 3 July 2020

The Arce-Choquehuanca couple's victory would put the Indigenous peoples in a better position.

Donald Trump's arrival at the White House added significantly more pressure on those Latin American countries in which their leaders tried to construct an independent political agenda from Washington.


Bolivia: General Elections Will Have International Observers

Besides trying to destabilize Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, the U.S. intelligence agencies started focusing on Evo Morales' administration in Bolivia, eventually achieving his fall from power.

The U.S. tried to seize power over Bolivia to have direct control and access to its natural resources, which under Morales ’mandate were declared a Bolivian people’s patrimony, which allowed the former leftist president to maintain high levels of citizen trust during his 14 years in power.

This popular support was also facilitated by his government's effective solutions in socio-economic issues aiming at Indigenous peoples and the poor, two social groups that comprise 55 percent of the population.

The current Socialist presidential candidate is Luis Arce Catacora, an academic who was part of Evo Morales’ Economy Minister from 2006 to 2017 and some months of 2019.

During his time in office, besides managing to guarantee a 5 percent annual growth for 8 years, he increased the country’s monetary reserves and keep economic inflation to zero. These achievements generate confidence in the socialist binomial Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca.

The MAS candidates have a difficult but not impossible task. It should be recalled what the U.S. did after the victory of Evo Morales in the first round of the October 2019 presidential elections. Although his victory was recognized by numerous countries as legitimate, the United States and its regional allies opposed it.

Even before the elections, they decided that they would not recognize Evo Morales' victory. This was demonstrated through press investigations that showed that there was no fraud in the Bolivian presidential elections and that the OAS was part of Washington's plan to destabilize the country.

With the support of the OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, who has been the most pro-American. President that this regional organization has never had, Washington created a political and communicative scenario where the accusation of fraud, threats, and violent actions against Morales and his relatives, prevailed. This prevented a second electoral round and motivated the resignation of President Morales.

As a result of this destructive policy, Washington and its so-called "Lima Group" artificially generated another source of political instability in South America.


Bolivia: Senate Speaker Rejects Proposal to Postpone Elections

The installment of a US-backed de facto government in Bolivia, which has shown keen interest in staying in power by taking advantage of the COVID-19's consequences, make us contemplate the idea that there will be massive social protests, just like the ones that rose in Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador, where governments, which have the same line as Jeanine Añez in Bolivia, show no interest in solving the most urgent issues from their citizens.

Chile’s example can give us insight into the forthright rejection of economic policies dictated by Washington and international financial organizations.

The multiple events that occurred from October 2019 until March 2020 -that could only be stopped by the pandemics- shook this South American country, which is currently run by a right-wing government that is enforcing a detrimental model for the larger part of the population, a model that only promises more social unrest.

The political situation in Bolivia has suffered a turn of logical complexity. Besides the number of candidacies that will be running for office, the most likely scenario lays out a profound social crisis after the elections.

This will happen in the likelihood that the US-backed candidate Jeannine Añez wins the election, with the financial and political support and interference from US agencies, which encompasses buying votes and defamatory campaigns against MAS whereby they want to pull the Socialist candidates out from the presidential race.

The U.S. government’s bet is to keep control of the Bolivian army, just like they did when they made Evo Morales resign, so they can keep using it as a key instrument to achieve political goals. Such a strategy may lead to a rise in the military's lead within Bolivia, with possibilities of generating a rise in external tension such as the long-standing disputes over territory, which include Chile, Peru, and Paraguay.

The Bolivian army has received ample and multiple benefits from the Añez administration. Besides social benefits and wage increases, those benefits include amnesty in favor of those police and military officials involved in the murders of citizens who protested against the coup that led to Morales' resignation. Let's remember that in November 2019, at least 32 people were assassinated by shots from military and police, according to official data.

This deserved a statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. Her official report pointed out that “the post-election crisis from last year caused at least 35 deaths and injuries to over 800 people, the majority occurring during operations of the army and the police”. The report also expressed concern over the indictment of officials who belonged to the MAS administration.

The upcoming elections on September 6, a date that was established by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, should not be modified, despite Añez’s wishes and the political and economical elites supporting here.

A decision that was even praised by the UN Secretary Antonio Guterres, who cherished the decision from the tribunal and convened political parties and authorities to cooperate fully with the celebration of pacific, transparent, and inclusive elections

The polls indicate that the MAS candidate Arce would eventually win in the first round, leaving the big question as to how much would the percentage of difference be, in such a way that a ballot would prove unnecessary.

A victory from the Arce-Choquehuanca couple would put the Indigenous population in a better position, just like it happened during the Morales administration.

Their victory implies the possibility of improving their social struggles, matters related to their political representation in power, and the respect to customs of a country which, in a democratic framework, would return to walk on the road of stability and a progressive development, leaving behind the fear of chaos.

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