Bolivia

In his latest podcast (recorded 25 November), Jorge Martin provides an update on the recent strike in Colombia, the month-long uprising in Chile, and the struggle against the coup in Bolivia.

We publish here a translation of an article written by Lucha de Clases, the Bolivian section of the IMT, originally published 18 November after the Sacaba massacre in which nine peasants were killed. Since then, there has been another massacre, in which eight people were killed by the army and the police as they forcibly lifted the blockade of the Senkata gas plant near the capital La Paz. Yesterday, the MAS parliamentary group made a deal with the coup government of Añez to elect a new presidency of the chamber and moved a draft law for the calling of new elections, which starts with a recognition of the legitimacy of the coup government.

To workers, left-wingers and activists. The dramatic times we are living through reveal before everybody’s eyes that Añez’s presidency can only be imposed through bloodshed and the massive use of the armed forces. That is to say: through a putsch that will cut across any democratic smokescreens. The forces that are now being released against farmers, indigenous people and coca growers from the Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) in several areas around the country, and against the raising of the wiphalas in El Alto, will be used to militarise society against the working class in the future.

On 10 November at 4.50pm, Bolivian president Evo Morales announced his resignation. It was the culmination of a coup that had been brewing for some time. A police mutiny, sharpshooters firing on mine workers, an OAS report questioning the validity of the elections and finally the army “suggesting” he should step down were just the final acts over the weekend. We have opposed this reactionary coup from the beginning, while at the same time pointing out how the conditions for it were laid.

The Bolivian general election, on 20 October, produced a victory for Evo Morales of the ruling MAS party, but on a much-reduced majority, revealing how the class collaborationist policies of his government have alienated sections of its traditional base of support. The fact that Evo avoided a second round by the smallest of margins was used by the right wing to claim fraud and start a campaign of mobilisations on the streets. While there are different elements involved in the protests, in the last few days the initiative has passed to the camp of the “civic movement”, organised by the most reactionary elements of Bolivia’s capitalist oligarchy, based in Santa Cruz. The Bolivian comrades

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The elections last Sunday were to elect the president but, due to the conditions under which the whole process has been carried out, they were also a repeat of the 21 February 2016 constitutional referendum.

The Chiquitania region of Bolivia has been on fire since early August. The wildfires started on 2 August both west and east from San José de Chiquitos in woodland areas and dry woods, reaching Roboré later on. Prime Minister Quintana accused the right-wing of provoking the fires for political and electoral purposes. Until he can prove this, we’ll have to take his statement as an assumption that the wildfires did not spread from Brazil, as the government initially claimed. Rather, the cause of this disaster is to be found inside Bolivia’s borders.

Hands Off Venezuela, Bolivia Solidarity Campaign and others would like to express our solidarity with the Bolivian president Evo Morales, with the revolutionary workers and peasants of Bolivia, in the face of the blatant imperialist aggression which held the president against his will in Vienna for over 14 hours.

On April 9, 1952 Bolivia witnessed one of the deepest and most proletarian revolutions in the history of the American continent. In the space of a few hours, factory workers, the population of the cities and armed miners, defeated and humiliated the bourgeois state apparatus and physically destroyed the army of the ruling class, which would take years to be re-established.

Domitila ChungaraDomitila Chungara was the daughter, and later wife, of a miner and a leader of the women in the mining community. She was arrested and tortured during the 1967 San Juan massacre, when the army opened fire on miners and their families, killing many and injuring even more, including women and children. She went on to become a symbol of the struggle against the military. Here we provide a comment by Darrall Cozens and an article by the comrades of El Militante-Bolivia.

Evo Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism party (MAS) got a resounding victory in the December 6th election in Bolivia. The crowds in the capital La Paz received Morales’ victory speech with shouts of “socialismo, socialismo”.

Even though we are still waiting for the official final data from the Plurinational Electoral Body, the victory of Evo Morales and the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) is clear and massive, as was expected. The overwhelming support for change in society has been graphically shown by Morales winning 2/3rds of the vote.

We are proud to announce the publication the first issue of El Militante-Bolivia, the voice of the IMT in Bolivia. We provide here the front page to give our readers an idea of the high quality production of the journal. We would also like to thank all those comrades, supporters and sympathisers who contributed to the financial appeal to help the Bolivian Marxists. Your donations have been invested well and have served to strengthen the Marxist tendency in this key country for the Latin American revolution.

On October 21 hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants cheered enthusiastically in the Bolivian capital La Paz on hearing the news that the calling of the long awaited referendum on a new constitution had been agreed. But while the masses mobilised on the streets, the leadership of the MAS had been negotiating behind closed doors with the oligarchy, changing key aspects of the CPE which fundamentally change its character.

As 100,000 workers and peasants arrive in La Paz, this article by Darrall Cozens, written as the march was setting off, explains the issues that are pitting the Bolivian workers and peasants against the oligarchy.

We publish here this statement signed by all the working class and people's organisations in the city of Santa Cruz on September 13. The statement clearly expresses the anger of the people faced with the fascist attacks organised by the oligarchy and correctly appeals for mobilisation and legitimate defence in order to face up to them.

On Friday, September 12, we reported on the attack on pro-MAS peasants in the department of Pando, in the East of Bolivia. We said at the time that 9 people had been killed by the hired thugs of the opposition regional prefect (governor), Leopoldo Fernández. But only later was the full scale of the massacre revealed, with the death toll currently at 30, and many more still missing.

The situation in Bolivia remains one of confrontation between the oligarchy, backed by U.S. imperialism on the one side, and the masses who support the Evo Morales government on the other. This is no time for words or negotiations. This is the time for action, to put an end once and for all to the power of the oligarchy.

Having suffered a clear defeat in the August recall referendum. The reactionary oligarchy of Bolivia is back on the offensive. It has unleashed its gangs, occupying government buildings and terrorising the workers and peasants, but the Morales governmenmet vacillates, not taking the required decisive action to stop what amounts to an attempt at a coup.

After Evo Morales' massive victory in the recall referendum in August, the pressure has been building up from below to move against the oligarchy. Now Morales has called a referendum on a new Constitution and for elections of the regional governors of Cochabamba and La Paz, steps in the right direction, but in and of themselves not enough to break the deadlock between the classes.

After having won a two-thirds majority in the recall referendum, Bolivian president Evo Morales made an appeal to the oligarchy to negotiate and for national unity. As was to be expected, the oligarchy responded by launching a renewed offensive against the democratically elected government using all means at its disposal. But now we are seeing an organised reaction against the oligarchy. Building on the movement that started on May 4th, the mass movement of workers and peasants is being in the streets once again.

In the August 10 recall referendum, President Evo Morales and vice-president García Linera were ratified with an increased number of votes and the two MAS prefects (governors) of Oruro and Potosí were also ratified. But at the same time, four of the six opposition prefects were also ratified with sizable majorities. So, who won? Who lost?

The mass media in the west continue to pump out lies about what is happening in Bolivia. They claim the oligarchy in Santa Cruz has won support from the people for "autonomy". We provide the facts that show the opposite is the case. Reaction is spurring on the masses to step up their revolutionary offensive.

The attempt of the Bolivian oligarchy to use the referendum on autonomy as a lever to push forward their reactionary agenda has failed. They failed to get the votes they required, and at the same time they have enraged the masses of workers and peasants, who have risen once more in huge mobilisations.

The oligarchy in Bolivia has launched a major challenge to the Evo Morales government in the form of a referendum on an "Autonomous Statute" in the Eastern Department of Santa Cruz. They are using this question to mobilise the forces of counter-revolution. Morales must stop dithering and take firm action.

A very successful first public meeting of El Militante Bolivia was held on February 28 in Potosí with 35 people taking part, some of whom expressed an interest in joining El Militante. All this while the city was erupting in mass rioting in protest against economic sabotage being carried out by the oligarchy.

The Bolivian oligarchy and imperialism are not prepared to accept democracy if the democratic will of the majority is to take away their power and privileges. Unfortunately, what is lacking in Bolivia is a programme to challenge the interests of the landlords and capitalists and a leadership that will fight for this programme.

Reaction is raising its ugly head in Bolivia. The strategy of the Morales government seems to be based on making more concessions. Taking advantage of the temporising and vacillation of the Morales government the oligarchy is gaining even more confidence. What is needed is a serious campaign among the masses to explain what is at stake and take firm revolutionary socialist measures.

In 2005 the revolutionary movemenet of the Bolivian masses produced the Morales government. Since then vacillation on the part of Morales has given the oligarchy room to manoeuvre and now it is stepping up its activities as it prepares to exploit the weaknesses of the government. Urgent revolutionary measures are required.

June 24, 1967, entered the memory of the Bolivian people and of the entire world as one of the cruelest episodes in history. The Mineworkers Trade Union Federation of Bolivia (FSTMB) sent us a message commemorating these events. See also in Spanish.

In the advanced capitalist countries people take water almost for granted, or at least they did until recently. Now more and more of us have to pay huge bills for our water. In the underdeveloped countries, however it is much worse, with over one billion having no access to safe water. Water will become a source of class conflict, as the experience of Bolivia has confirmed.

Roberto Chavez, the general secretary of the FSTMB (Bolivian Miners’ Union), spoke to Alan Woods about the conditions of the miners and their role in the class struggle in Bolivia. Their view is that the Morales government is not going far enough. They want serious, radical change.

One year after the swearing in of the Morales government in Bolivia it is possible to make a sober balance sheet of the situation. Morales has attempted to carry out some reforms while trying to appease the oligarchy. The masses are drawing conclusions: that compromise is not possible. The struggle must go all the way.

On Thursday October 5, violent confrontations broke out in the mining city of Huanuni, Oruro, in Bolivia, which left 16 dead and scores of others injured. Clashes started as 4,000 "cooperativistas" tried to take over the main Huanuni mine, and the 1,100 miners who work there, organised in the powerful Bolivian Union Federation of Mine Workers, FSTMB, defended the mine.

The Bolivian revolution is at the crossroads. The government has moderated its policies and retreated on many fronts. The reaction manoeuvres against the government and any of the reforms its attempts to implement. There exists a mood of confusion and anger amongst the masses, which at any moment could explode into a fresh insurrectionary movement.

The recent announcement by the Evo Morales government in Bolivia of the “nationalisation” of the country’s hydrocarbon resources has shaken the multinationals. This move, although in reality not complete nationalisation, is a reflection of the overall revolutionary wave sweeping across Latin America.

The massive victory of the MAS in the elections was the distorted by-product of the revolutionary movement that Bolivia has witnessed for the last two years. This is why the imperialists are worried. The choice faced by the Morales government is clear: either with the workers and peasants or with the multinationals. If he attempts to please both he will please none.

Evo Morales has won a handsome majority in the presidential elections getting more than 50%. This massive victory can only be explained on the basis of the revolutionary movements that have shaken Bolivia in the recent period. Now Morales faces a choice: carry out the demands of the workers and peasants or bend under the pressure of the oligarchy and imperialism. The masses are waiting to see which way he goes.

Bolivia goes to the elections on Sunday. In the past period the masses could have taken power but at the crucial moment the workers’ leaders talked about taking power but never did. This has thrown the ball back into the court of the ruling class. The masses will be concentrating their attention on the elections. Their only option is Evo Morales and his party, the MAS, the same man who used his position to derail the movement in the past. What should the attitude of the Marxists be?

Here we publish some messages of support to the Bolivian people which we received in the last few days. Please raise the question of the Bolivian Revolution in your trade union branch, party branch, local associations, etc., get resolutions of support passed and send them on to us at !

After three weeks of a struggle that had acquired revolutionary dimensions, Bolivia now has a new president and the workers and peasants are discussing how to continue the struggle. With the help of the MAS the ruling class has managed to delay the process once more, but for how long? The masses are learning from each turn of events, and with each betrayal wider layers are being radicalised.

The Bolivian revolution is an inspiration to the workers and youth of the whole world. In the last few days it has reached a decisive stage. The masses have risen. Power has passed to the streets. However, the time for making revolutionary speeches is over. It is necessary to pass from words to deeds.