As People’s Voice goes to press, details of the November 10 coup d’état in Bolivia are still emerging. They paint a picture of rapid and violent right-wing movement against progressives, including trade unionists, Indigenous people, members of Evo Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, and other left-wing political activists. On November 11, police shot at least 6 anti-coup protesters in the Bolivia’s second largest city of El Alto and injured several dozen more. The military has joined the police in suppressing Morales supporters.
Morales himself has fled the country amid concerns for his life and has received asylum in Mexico. On November 9, as the coup was underway, an officer in the Bolivian Army told Morales that there was a $50,000 bounty on his head.
The World Peace Council (WPC) has warned that “the orchestrated protests and aggressions by reactionary forces in the city of La Paz, [and] the threats and attacks on politicians, media and social movements, constitute fascist-type actions.”
Corporate media in Canada have reported the coup as a “government collapse” in the wake of popular protests and equated it with recent anti-government uprisings in Chile and Ecuador. This is nothing but lies, designed to brainwash working people in this country against the enormity of what has taken place in Bolivia.
But the truth is already out.
The WPC denounced the coup as “sponsored and supported by US imperialists, hand in hand with the local oligarchy and their well-known instrument, the Organisation of American States (OAS).” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also pointed the finger at the OAS for instigating the coup against Morales and MAS.
Their accusations are well-founded. Even before all the ballots were counted, the OAS began agitating against the Bolivian election results. They claimed that a last-minute surge in Morales’ lead – attributed to polls from rural areas where the President is extremely popular – was indicative of “clear manipulation” and declared that the result should not stand.
Such rapid and decisive intervention by the OAS stands in unsettling contrast to its stunning silence on the impeachment of Brazil’s President and Worker’s Party leader Dilma Rousseff. Even Rousseff’s successor, the far-right Michel Temer, has publicly admitted that the impeachment was a coup d’état.
And what about the anti-government protests in Chile and Ecuador? In Ecuador, the OAS condemned the protesters’ destruction of property and declared “it essential that all parties respect the constitutional term for which President Lenin Moreno was elected and reiterates its rejection of any form of interruption of his government.” As to Chile, the OAS blamed the anti-austerity protests on interference from Cuba and Venezuela, charging them with “directly attacking the democratic system and trying to force interruptions in constitutional mandates.”
Hypocrisy and double standards on this scale invite a closer investigation into the nature of the beast.
Venezuela’s Maduro has described the OAS as “the US Ministry of Colonies.” Indeed, while the current organization was formed in 1948, its roots lie in a long line of hemispheric political cartels that reflect the “Monroe Doctrine” of US political and economic domination over the Americas. The 1948 conference that founded the OAS included a pledge of the member states to fight socialism in the western hemisphere.
Canada became a permanent observer of the OAS in 1972 and a full member in 1990. Immediately, coupled with the growth of Canadian corporate interests in Latin America and the Caribbean, the government of this country became an active and enthusiastic component of the “Ministry of Colonies.” By 2004, Canada was the second largest contributor to the OAS budget.
Through its membership in the OAS, the Canadian government participates in the promotion and justification of aggressions, human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and coups d’états throughout the Americas. Like NATO, NORAD, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other sanitized cabals, the OAS provides a conduit for inoculating the working class in Canada (and the US) against the brutal realities of imperialism, both at home and abroad.
As we stand in support of Bolivians who are resisting the violent coup in their country, let us also demand that Canada withdraw from the Organization of American States.