Menno Grootveld on Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:56:10 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Evo Morales

Hi there! This is not so much lazy reporting as incredibly overt disinformation.

You better read this:

Op 11-11-19 om 22:10 schreef Felix Stalder:
[I don't know much about the situation in Bolivia, but reporting in the
Western media seems incredibly lazy, portraying the situation as a
liberal uprising against an anti-democratic leader.

There is obviously much more context than that. Some of it is mentioned
in the below interview. Another aspect is that just a week ago, Bolivia
cancelled a very large project to produce lithium with a German company
after local protests again the project. Though that also is probably
more complex, because the German won the initial contract because they
were they only ones willing to refine the Lithium locally, rather than
simply export the raw material. Perhaps somebody with more direct
knowledge can add more information. Felix ]

Evo Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, was credited with
lifting nearly a fifth of Bolivia’s population out of poverty since he
took office in 2006. But he faced criticism from some of his former
supporters for running for a third and then a fourth term. Evo Morales’s
whereabouts are unknown. His home was ransacked Sunday. Mexico has
offered Morales asylum. Hours before resigning, Morales had agreed to
call for new elections, after the Organization of American States issued
a report claiming there was, quote, “clear manipulation” in last month’s
election results. According to the official results of last month’s
election, Morales won 47% of the vote and just narrowly avoided a runoff
election. But the OAS immediately questioned the election process,
sparking mass street protests. Critics of the OAS say the global body
did not provide any evidence of actual vote rigging.

We go now to Washington, D.C., where we’re joined by Mark Weisbrot,
co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, his latest
piece for The Nation headlined “The Trump Administration Is Undercutting
Democracy in Bolivia.” Talk about the latest developments, the
resignation of President Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of

MARK WEISBROT: Well, this is a military coup. There’s no doubt about it
now, after the head of the military told the president and vice
president to resign and then they did. And I think it’s really terrible
the way it’s been presented, because, from the beginning, you had that
OAS press release, the day after the election, which hinted — or
implied, actually, very strongly — that there was something wrong with
the vote count, and they never presented any evidence at all. They
didn’t presented it in that release. They didn’t present it in their
next release. They didn’t present it in their preliminary report. And
there’s really nothing in this latest so-called preliminary audit that
shows that there was any fraud in this election. But it was repeated
over and over again in all the media, and so it became kind of true.
And, you know, if you look at the media, you don’t see anybody — you
don’t see any experts, for example, saying that there was something
wrong with the vote count. It’s really just that OAS observation
mission, which was under a lot of pressure, of course, from Senator
Rubio and the Trump administration to do this, because they wanted —
they’ve wanted for some time to get rid of this government.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain how the election went — Morales stopping the
election count, resuming it — and then what kind of majority he needed
to avoid a runoff.

MARK WEISBROT: OK. So, this is very important, because this has been
very badly described, I think, in most of the media. You have a quick
count, which is not even the official count of the election, and it’s
not binding. It’s not what determines the result. It’s just something
that is done while the votes are being counted to let people know what’s
going on at that time. And so, the quick count was interrupted, and when
it resumed — and it was interrupted with Evo leading by about 7
percentage points. And when it came back, his margin increased. And if
you read the press here, any of the articles, it’s reported as though
something terribly suspicious happened. He didn’t have enough votes — he
needed a 10-point margin in order to — a 10-point lead over the next
runner-up in order to win in the first round, and he didn’t have that
when the vote count, this quick count, was interrupted — or, the
reporting was interrupted, I should say. And then, you know, he got it
in the last 14 — last 16% of the votes counted. He reached 10%. But if
you look at what was really — so, this was reported as a very suspicious
thing. And this is what’s reported over and over again to make it look
like something was wrong.

But if you look at it, actually — actually, the whole vote count — you
see there was a steady trend of Evo’s margin increasing almost from the
beginning. And it didn’t change in the last 16%; it just continued
because — and you can look at the areas that were coming in — these were
rural and poor areas where Evo Morales had more support. That’s all that
happened. This happens in elections. You can see this if you watch
election returns in the U.S. So, there was never anything there.

AMY GOODMAN: Several Latin American leaders have criticized the ouster
of Evo Morales in Bolivia. This is Argentina’s President-elect Alberto

     PRESIDENT-ELECT ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ: [translated] What’s happening in
Bolivia is that there’s a dominant class that will not resign themselves
to losing power to the hands of a president who is the first Bolivian
president that looks like Bolivians. That’s what’s happening.

AMY GOODMAN: And British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted Sunday, “To
see @evoespueble who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so
much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. I
condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for
democracy, social justice and independence. So, if you can talk, Mark
Weisbrot, about the role of the Bolivian military? And what about the
Trump administration?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the most — you know, the Bolivian military
very clearly said — I mean, before they did that, they said they weren’t
going to intervene, in terms of the protests. But they very clearly —
the head of the armed forces said that Evo should resign, right before
he did that. And so it was a military coup. And Evo Morales is calling
it that, of course. And there isn’t any doubt about it. The media hasn’t
really mentioned it as much as a military coup, but it definitely is.

In terms of the Trump administration, you can look at tweets and
statements from Marco Rubio right before the votes were even counted,
saying that there was going to be fraud, and, you know, making it clear
that they didn’t want this government to be there. And so, yeah, I think
that — I mean, it’s very obvious that they supported this coup. And it’s
very obvious that they pressured the OAS, where the United States
supplies 60% of the budget.

And, you know, this is the problem. The media treats this OAS as though
it’s really an independent arbiter here. And they do have electoral
missions, and most of the time they’re clean, but they are not always.
You know, in Haiti in 2011, for example, they reversed the results of a
first-round presidential election without any statistical test, recount
or any reason. It was completely political. And in 2000, they reversed
their position, their report on the election, when the United States, as
you know and you’ve reported on this show, wanted to cut off all
international aid to Haiti and spent four years preparing for the coup
of 2004. So, the OAS played a major role in that by changing their
report on the election in Haiti. And so, I think this is a kind of a
classic military coup supported by the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Mark Weisbrot, you have the CIA involvement in coups in
Bolivia in 1952, in 1964, 1970, 1980. Would you add 2019 to that list?

MARK WEISBROT: I would add it to the list. I mean, we don’t have the
hard evidence of what they did. You know, it’s not like 2009 in
Honduras, where Hillary Clinton wrote in her memoirs that she worked in
the OAS, too, to prevent the elected president, who you’ve had on this
show, from coming back to the country and to the presidency. But I think
we’ll probably find out more later. But it’s just — it is very obvious
that they supported this coup.

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