By Finian Cunningham
November 28/29, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Apt it is, in a heinous way, that as the United States celebrates its annual Thanksgiving Day this week, the indigenous people of Bolivia are being slaughtered by a US-backed coup unfolding in the Andean nation.
When former President Evo Morales was threatened out of office on November 10 by orchestrated, massive street violence, US President Donald Trump hailed it “a great day for democracy”. What Trump meant was “a great day for plutocracy”. The new regime in Laz Paz is the colonial-descendant, ruling class back in power, rolling back the gains made after 14 years of progressive socialism and democracy for the indigenous majority of Bolivians.
The coup was carried off by Washington’s smearing of Morales’ re-election on October 20 and by fascist paramilitaries directed by Bolivian oligarchs who are well connected in Washington, as documented by Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton.
The Bolivian oligarchs and their supporters espouse a rightwing Christian fundamentalism which disparages the indigenous culture as pagan. The violent racism towards the indigenous majority was expressed by the self-declared “interim president”, Jeannie Anez, who, like other oligarchic figures, denounced the native and largely poor population as “satanic”.
The takeover in Bolivia is as much about taking control of the country’s wealth – natural gas and minerals – as it about a racist revenge on the native Indian population who dared to rule the country under Morales’ leadership for the benefit of the poor majority.
Morales has been warned that if he returns from exile in Mexico he will be jailed for terrorism. The new regime has instructed state forces to “hunt down” members of Morales’ Movement to Socialism (MAS) party. It has given impunity for the police and army to shoot dead protesters who are holding strikes and other demonstrations against the new regime. The latter made earlier promises to hold new elections – without MAS being allowed to participate despite the party having a majority of lawmakers in the country’s Congress. It looks like even those hollow promises are now being scrapped.
Since Morales was ousted, over 30 people have been killed and hundreds injured as state forces fire live rounds at unarmed protesters. Reporting from on the ground, Medea Benjamin says the indigenous communities are living in fear of increasing atrocities and the return to the old days of military dictatorship.
In one incident in El Alto on November 19, army and police, reinforced with helicopters, killed eight people, including children, who were among MAS supporters holding an unarmed strike against the new regime.
“I saw the doctors and nurses desperately trying to save lives, carrying out emergency surgeries in difficult conditions with a shortage of medical equipment,” reported Benjamin. “I saw five dead bodies and dozens of people with bullet wounds… A grieving mother whose son was shot cried out between sobs: ‘They’re killing us like dogs’.”
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