Bolivia crisis: Facts
As of the writing of this article Representative Tulsi Gabbard has expressed no position about the crisis in Bolivia.
Some have already condemned the coup against President Morales, while others claim it is the will of the Bolivian people against a president who didn’t want to leave power.
Let us look at the facts.
In 2005 Evo Morales was elected president of Bolivia, back then the Bolivian Constitution did not have term limits for Presidents, as they could be re-elected multiple times without restrictions.
However in 2006 a Constitutional amendment was passed to limit the number of re-elections to one.
Evo Morales was elected president in 2009 and 2014, and his administration sought a referendum to explore the possibility to restore the ability for a President to be elected multiple times.
51% of the population voted against the amendment, and 49% of the population voted in favor of the amendment, however in September of 2017 the Supreme Tribunal of Justice abolished the term limits citing the American Convention on Human Rights, thus allowing Morales to run for re-election in 2019.
The 2019 election was deemed controversial as there as a pause in the results transmission for 24 hours, which took Morales from a tight race to an outright win. On October 26 Morales invited foreign governments to carry out an audit and promised to call for a run-off if electoral fraud was found.
However thing unfolded rapidly:
October 27th 2019: Morales declared a coup was in the making.
November 6th 2019: The opposition published a report claiming electoral fraud.
November 9th 2019: The OAS published a report citing clear manipulation of the electoral records, while a separate statistical analysis of the results by the Center of Economic and Policy research revealed no irregularities.
November 10th 2019: Morales announces fresh elections, but several hours later Morales and most of his administration resign after losing support of the police, and the military.
It is important to note that under President Morales the poverty rate in Bolivia was almost cut in half: From 60% to 35%
While it is easy to claim US involvement based on prior experience, given that Morales led a leftist government, one must also consider the changes in the constitution that first prevented him to run multiple times, and then the decision by the supreme court to let him run a fourth time.
I for one applaud Tulsi’s reluctance to express an opinion before she learns more about the situation, as it is not clear if indeed the Bolivian people wanted President Morales to be reelected, or if indeed there is US intervention at play.
There is clear infighting, and clearly the right is trying to retake the government, by preventing legislators of Morales’ party to attend sessions of congress.
The new president of Bolivia has has her own scandals with members of her family found guilty of drug trafficking, and now preventing left-leaning legislators join the sessions of congress.
However, just like in the Egyptian coup that deposed the Muslim Brotherhood from power, it is really not easy to identify external factors that have led to this uprising.
If this right-leaning interim government calls for new elections, just like Morales’ was going to do just hours before being deposed, the goal remains the same, then the outcome is what Bolivia really needs.
If indeed the new government tries to install their own leader via voter fraud, then countries around the world should express their dissatisfaction with these events. But at its core, and with the information available as of November 14th 2019, this is seems to be a domestic dispute, that only the people of Bolivia should address.