For Immediate Release
January 7, 2020
BERKSHIRES DSA CONDEMNS BOLIVIA COUP D’ETAT, URGES MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATORS TO DO THE SAME
Pittsfield, MA — Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America (Berkshires DSA) condemns, in the strongest terms, the November 9, 2019, coup d’etat, led by Bolivia’s military and police, which resulted in the ousting of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. Berkshires DSA requests that Massachusetts Senators Markey and Warren condemn the coup, in efforts to bring international attention to the atrocities that have been carried out by the Bolivian military, police and fascist groups in the past two months.
During and following the coup, U.S. corporate media failed to report on the kidnapping, torture, murder and violence that was happening against Morales’ government officials, and MAS constituents, the majority whom are peasants working on cocoa farms in rural areas. In fact, Senator Warren backed up fascist opposition when she agreed that Bolivia deserved a “clean” election, thus calling the lawful election that Morales won on Oct. 20, not clean.
“The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible,” Warren tweeted on November 18. “Bolivia’s interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia’s security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit violence against them.”
As of today, the only U.S. Presidential nominee to denounce the coup is democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who tweeted in mid-November, “I oppose the intervention of Bolivia’s security forces in the democratic process and their repression of Indigenous protesters. When the military intervened and asked President Evo Morales to leave, in my view, that’s called a coup.”
Morales started the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party in 1998, which helped to defend and promote the rights of indigenous cocoa farmers and kept half of mining-generated income in the country and out of multinational corporations operating in Bolivia. On October 20, 2019, President Morales had democratically won the presidential election and would have begun a fourth term, before he was challenged by the opposition, who cited fraud based on questionable evidence.
It’s important to note that Morales offered to hold a new election to establish the validity of the vote, but the opposition removed him from power by force rather than accede to that request. In addition, even if the most recent election had been based on irregularities, Morales’ current term, to which he had been duly elected, was not due to run out until January, which makes his forceful removal from office in November illegal under the Bolivian Constitution.
“We obtained footage, not dissimilar to accounts that local activists were getting onto Democracy Now, where MAS activists are asking for the world to respond to the violent actions that had been carried out on the people of Bolivia, protesting the coup against Morales in November,” said Co-Chair John Prusinski. “ What we heard alarmed us and we will take action in helping spread the word regarding what’s happening to our comrades in Bolivia. To understand the history of this nation in Latin America is to understand that the U.S. and Canadian governments, etc. have been players in the electoral politics of many nations, especially those rich in minerals and cocoa, ever since the new world formed. Do we stipulate that the U.S. or Canadian government have a hand in the November 2019 coup? Absolutely. The majority of the nation, poor indigenous workers, voted in their president and then were beaten, tortured and jailed for protesting the fascist opposition, who are putting business before workers rights. We’re watching what is happening in Bolivia closely now.”
The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics. We believe that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. DSA members use a variety of tactics, from legislative to direct action, to fight for reforms that empower working people.
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