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Bolivia’s President Wants To Be Reelected For A Fourth Time But He Could Send His Country Into A Political Crisis

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales is again envuelto en controversia after his attempts to be reelected once again.Juan Evo Morales Ayma is one of the most disputed figures in recent Latin American history. The indigenous activist and politician became president after leading his party, Movement for Socialism, to victory in the polls. He first attempted to win the presidency in 2002 and came in second after a very tight race. He is part of the wave of socialist and populist politics that defined South American politics in the mid 2000s, and which also included statesmen such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa (for an alternative reading of the socialist revolution in South America, watch Oliver Stone’s controversial documentary South of the Border). 

His allies see him as a true liberator of the continent, a noble opponent of the neoliberal policies that have produced millions of poor in the region. His opponents think of him as a dictator with a thirst for power. Truth is, he has subverted Bolivian politics by adopting a socialist agenda and often pushing back corporations and foreign influence, particularly from the United States. 

Morales has served as President of Bolivia since 2006: 13 years and counting.

Credit: Instagram. @fmpinilla

So how is it even possible for someone to remain in power for so long? Morales was first elected for the 2006-2009 period. In 2008 he organized a recall referendum (meaning that the electorate could decide whether to keep him or dump him), which he won. Shortly after he established a new constitution through which Bolivia became a plurinational state, meaning that indigenous nations within the borders were recognized. This reshaping of the political backbone of Bolivia led to his reelection in 2009 and then for a third term in 2014. So yes, 13 years and counting! 

So the opposition is obviously very unhappy about the prospects of a fourth Morales term, especially after a referendum that he lost.

Credit: Instagram. @fmpinilla

Morales organized a referendum asking Bolivians whether he should run again or not. A constitutional reform needed to be in place for him to do so.  He lost, but he is nevertheless on the ticket and seems to be headed to a victory in the October elections. The opposition sees this as an attempt to undermine democracy. They see Morales as a king who will do anything to keep his throne and crown. As BBC reported back on July 3, 2019: “Although the 2016 referendum results rejected the constitutional reform needed to allow Morales to seek office again, subsequent court rulings determined that not allowing him to run would violate his political rights, and electoral authorities accepted his new re-election bid”. 

Political pundits have taken their gloves off.

Credit: Twitter. @CarlosAMontaner

Personalities such as writer and journalist Carlos A. Montaner have criticized not only Morales, but also the Organization of American States (OEA), which has supported the Bolivian President in his bid for a fourth term. The OEA had previously been critical of regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. 

Protests during Morales’ mandate have been constant and increasingly violent.

Credit: Instagram. @apnews

Before becoming president, Evo Morales was famous for his combative activism. He was the leader of cocaleros or coca producers, and played an active role in the 1999 Cochabamba Water War, in which indigenous populations fought against the privatization of water. During his presidency he has encountered the same kind of combativeness, but he is now on the other side. This photo, for example, was taken at a protest against budget cuts in services for people with disabilities. His bid for a third reelection could escalate into a full-blown political crisis. 

Western powers don’t see him con muy buenos ojos, as he is an advocate of leftist politics and aligns with Putin’s Russia.

Credit: Instagram. @infonodal

Evo Morales is perceived in Western countries, including the United States, as a populist who manipulates his people into following him, and as a threat to global markets. He has aligned himself with the remains of the Soviet Bloc, meaning he has tight connections in Moscow and Havana. Just this year, Morales expressed his interest in buying Russian military equipment, as reported by Sputnik News Service: “There is a great interest in purchasing Russian military equipment, including aviation equipment, and in services. A [joint] commission is operating, and we hope that technology transfer will bring good results”. 

In the meantime, Morales is in full election mode.

Credit: Instagram. @evomoralesayma

His opposition is echando el grito al cielo, but Morales continues his seemingly swift ride to reelection. In his social media he has been sharing images of events such as this caravan in the iconic site of Cochabamba, an icon of indigenous struggle. Love him or hate him, no one can deny he is a masterful politician. 

And of course the photo-op “putting out fires” in the Bolivian Amazonia.

Credit: Instagram. @evomoralesayma

This image is kind of poetic. Yes, Bolivia should do its part in fighting the fires in the Amazon rainforest, but Morales seems to be ignoring the political fires that threaten to undermine democracy in the country. In the meantime, he has criticized the aid promised by the G7 (the group of the most powerful countries in the world). As reported by AFP, Morales said in an interview with Radio Panamericana: “I welcome that small, small, tiny contribution of $20 million from the G7 — that is not help, it is part of a shared co-responsibility, as all peoples have the obligation to preserve the ecosystem”. This anti-establishment rhetoric is exactly what might get him another electoral win. 

In fact, he “temporarily interrupted” his reelection campaign to oversee the environmental crisis.

Credit: Twitter. @chamberohoy

With the election looming and the opposition getting combative, how come Morales interrupted his campaign? This is a smart political move: he acts presidential to get voters to think mejor malo por conocido que bueno por conocer. 

Indigenous People In Guatemala Marched On Their Capitol In Support Of Evo Morales

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Indigenous People In Guatemala Marched On Their Capitol In Support Of Evo Morales

evoespueblo / Twitter

South America’s poorest country, Bolivia, is in the midst of a political crisis, and Guatemala’s indigenous people are marching in solidarity with ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. After the Guatemalan government joined the United States in recognizing extreme right self-appointed Jeanine Anez as the interim president of Bolivia, Guatemala’s indigenous people expressed their outrage in an organized protest. Hundreds of indigenous people marched in Guatemala’s capital Thursday to protest the change of government, which they view as a coup d’etat of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. With a “Brother Evo, Guatemala is with you” banner in hand, the protesters marched toward a heavily guarded US embassy. The next day, Morales announced that he won’t be “taking part in new elections.”

Before Morales rose to the presidency, he was a campesino activist, representing indigenous traditions and customs under attack by the US government. “We are repudiating the discriminatory and racist coup d’etat that took place in Bolivia,” said Mauro Vay, march organizer and head of Guatemala’s Rural Development Committee. 

Protesters proudly waved the wiphala flags, an indigenous symbol of solidarity.

CREDIT: @UKREDREVOLUTION / TWITTER

This man held an image that told the story of a thousand words. As a child, Evo Morales’ family were subsistence farmers, which allowed him to enjoy a basic education. He later moved to grow coca, the raw plant used to make cocaine. During the U.S.’ “War on Drugs,” coca farmers were under attack. Morales rose to defend the campesinos from what he called an imperialist violation of indigenous culture. His protests may have led to several arrests, but his notoriety grew to elect him to Congress as the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party. 

In Paraguay, Bolivian ex-patriates went up against the police to rehang the wiphala flag at the Bolivian embassy.

CREDIT: @WILL_J_COSTA / TWITTER

Several indigenous residents of Paraguay arrived at the Bolivian embassy to hang the Wiphala flag, which was reportedly taken down. They faced police resistance but eventually succeeded. The next day, the flag was removed. 

In 2005, Morales ran against former President Carlos Mesa and won, becoming the first indigenous president of Bolivia. 

CREDIT: @BRETGUSTAFSON / TWITTER

Then, it gets murky. By the time his first term was over, MAS rewrote their constitution to lift the one-term limit on presidents. Morales ran for a second term and won. Even though he claimed he wouldn’t run for a third term, Morales claimed the first term didn’t count because it was completed under the old constitution.  So he ran again and won for the third time. In October 2019, Morales ran for his fourth term, and won by a small margin, prompting a recount.

Just 24 hours into the recount, Morales ordered the recount to an end and declared himself president over his opponent, former president Mesa. the Organization of American States (OAS) conducted an audit that flagged the election as possibly fraudulent.

The OAS is not in the service of the people of Latin America, less so the social movements. The OAS is at the service of the North American empire,” Morales later said. Still, protests erupted across the country.

In a quickly developing government coup, military chiefs removed Morales.

CREDIT: @FAFASCHMITT / TWITTER

On Nov. 10, General Williams Kaliman, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, decided, along with other military chiefs, that Morales should step down. Morales tweeted, “I denounce to the world and the Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he is instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; likewise, violent groups assaulted my home. A coup destroys the rule of law.” He added, “After looting and trying to set fire to my house in Villa Victoria, vandalism groups of the Mesa and Camacho coup docked my home in the Magisterio neighborhood of Cochabamba. I am very grateful to my neighbors, who stopped those raids. A coup destroys peace.”

Mexico offered him asylum and sent a plane to escort Morales to Mexico City.

CREDIT: @EVOESPUEBLO / TWITTER

“This was my first night after leaving the presidency, forced by the coup of Mesa and Camacho with the help of the Police. There I remembered my times as a leader. Very grateful to my brothers from the federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba for providing security and care,” Morales tweeted. Right-wing Christian opponent, Luis Fernando Camacho, also called “Bolivia’s Bolsonaro,” led violent protests against Morales and his Indigenous supporters, burning Bolivia’s Indigenous Wiphala flag. 

Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentina have maintained that his removal from office was a coup. The United States, led by a right-wing president, has recognized Bolivia’s interim right-wing president as valid.

Morales announced Friday that he won’t run for president in the reelection “for the sake of democracy.”

CREDIT: @VERSOBOOKS / TWITTER

Morales resigned Sunday after protests left four people dead. “For the sake of democracy, if they don’t want me to take part, I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told Reuters while remaining in asylum. “I just wonder why there is so much fear of Evo,” he offered.

READ: A US-Backed Opposition Leader Has Declared Herself President Of Bolivia Amid Outrage At Her Comments About Indigenous Bolivians

House Committee Holds Impeachment Hearings And Democrats Are Laying Out All Of Their Evidence

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House Committee Holds Impeachment Hearings And Democrats Are Laying Out All Of Their Evidence

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This past Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump moved into the public spotlight when the House Intelligence Committee opened hearings in the Capitol. The day was marked with back and forths between members of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, that further displayed the political divide in this country. The issue at hand is whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, by freezing U.S. military aid. 

One of the key figures in leading the proceedings is Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who has been a frequent target of President Trump. The congressman is heading the Democrats’ investigation into whether Trump abused his presidential powers for political gain and against national security interests. The proceedings are expected to last at least 10 days and will be a showcase of what many Democrats believe is an opportunity to show the American public why Trump needs to be removed from office. 

“Our job is to shape public opinion, not just follow public opinion,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Vox. “It’s to do what we think is right, for our country, for our national security, and to persuade people of that.”

One of the biggest moments on the first day of the impeachment hearings came from Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) who made the argument that Trump’s actions were “criminal.” 

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who is the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the chairman of his brother Julián Castro’s presidential bid, had one of the most notable moments on Wednesday. In speaking to Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Castro tried to make the case for President Trump’s actions as criminal. Taylor is a key figure in the  proceedings as he was the top U.S. official in Ukraine as the scandal was unfolding. 

In a tense moment between the two, Castro asked Taylor if he considered President Trump’s actions worthy as being labeled as “criminal.” Castro didn’t back down as he made the comparisons to Trump’s actions to other criminal offenses. 


“So ambassadors, is attempted murder a crime?” Castro asked, repeating his question. “Is attempted murder a crime?”

“Attempted murder is a crime,” Taylor said.

“Is attempted robbery a crime?” he asked.

“Neither of us is a lawyer,” Taylor began before Castro interrupted.

“I think anyone in this room could answer that question,” he said.

“I’ll go out on a limb and say yes it is,” Taylor said.

“Is attempted extortion and bribery a crime?” Castro responded. 

“I don’t know sir,” Taylor said.


The moment resonated with many people on social media who agreed with Castro’s reasoning. 

Credit: @madg_lulu22 / Twitter

Castro’s questioning prompted varied responses from people online that agreed with that Trump had indeed committed a crime by withholding money from Ukraine. One of those people included U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) that echoed similar thoughts to that of many Democrats. 

“This is what I have been saying over and over again. Attempting a crime is a CRIME. #ImpeachmentTrumpNow,” Talib tweeted. 

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer later Wednesday afternoon, Castro reaffirmed his position on his questioning with Taylor. “Based on the evidence that I’ve seen, the President… either he committed extortion and bribery of a foreign official or he committed attempted extortion and bribery of a foreign official… it’s still a crime.” Castro said.

This moment is huge for Castro outside of just the hearings as he pursues to challenge U.S. Senator John Cornyn, (R-Texas). Many are looking at Castro’s role in the hearings as an opportunity to make his name known in the Democratic party. 

“It’s an opportunity in the national spotlight,” Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor, told The Statesman. It’s a chance “to reemerge on the national scene and bolster his overall relevance in the Democratic Party.”

This was one of many big moments on the first day of these impeachment hearings. 

Credit: @alexismhodges / Twitter

If these public hearings are anything like the first day, there will be a lot of action on both sides of the political aisle. Wednesday showed proof that Democrats will pull out all the stops in presenting their case for impeachment to the American people. 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has been one of the most staunch opponents of the Democrats’ attempts to impeach President Trump. During the hearing, Jordan said that the whistleblower was “the reason we’re all sitting here today” and that they should testify before the impeachment inquiry. The goal in doing so would be to discredit the whistleblower’s credibility. 

But Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) quickly responded to Jordan’s claims by naming the actual person who started the entire Ukraine scandal.

“I’d be glad to have the person who started it all,” Welch said. “President Trump is welcome to come in and sit down right there.”

The quick exchange produced laughter and applause from some in the room. Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chimed in on the moment. “Don’t sleep on Peter Welch!” she wrote on Twitter. “He’s great.”

If Wednesday is anything like the rest of these hearings we are all in for a real treat for the next few weeks. 

READ: Remembering Pedro Zamora, The HIV-Positive Man Who Changed Hearts And Minds While On ‘Real World: San Francisco’