Ready to Go to War Against Fascism
By Andre Vltchek
December 12, 20D19 "Information
December 2019, three weeks after the fascist
coup. It is devilishly cold. My comrade’s
car is carefully navigating through the deep
mud tracks. Enormous snow-covered mountain
peaks are clearly visible in the distance.
Altiplano; beloved, yet always somehow
hostile, silent, impenetrable.
So many times, in the
past I came close to death here. In Peru as
well as in Bolivia. More often in Peru.
Now, what I do is
totally mad. Being a supporter of President
Evo Morales from the beginning until this
very moment, I am not supposed to be here;
in Bolivia, in the Altiplano. But I am,
because these mud huts on the left and
right, are so familiar and so dear to me.
My comrade is a
Bolivian farmer, an indigenous man. His
hands are red, rough. He usually does not
talk much, but after the coup, he cannot
stop speaking. This is his country; the
country that he loves and which has been
stolen from him, from his wife and from his
We can both get
screwed here, but if we do, that’s life; we
know the risk and we are happy to take it.
Carlos (not his real
name), my driver and a friend, explained:
“I called them,
the elders, and they said it is ok that
you come. I sent them your essays. You
know, people here now read, even in the
deep villages. After 14 years of Evo’s
government, the entire country is
covered by the mobile phone network.
They read your stuff translated into
Spanish. They liked what they read. They
agreed to give you a statement. But they
said, ‘if he is not really a
Russian-Chinese left-wing writer, but
instead some Camacho crony, we will
break his head with a stone.’”
Fernando Camacho, a member of the fascist,
U.S.-backed Revolutionary Nationalist
Movement, and the Chair of the Civic
Committee of Santa Cruz since 2019. A major
adversary of Evo Morales, a man who during
the 2019 Bolivian general election, sided
with the West, with the treasonous Bolivian
military (trained in the United States), and
demanded Evo’s resignation, on 5 November
I am fine with what
they say. We are going.
We drive up, and
then, at approximately 4,100 meters above
sea level, we level up.
A new, wide road is
being constructed. Of course, it is a
project from the days of Evo’s presidency.
But it is not only
the road building that can be detected all
around us. There are water towers and water
pumps and faucets in every village. Water is
free, for all. There are schools, medical
centers as well as sport facilities, and
carefully attended fields.
The drive is long,
tough. But at one point, we see a few buses
and cars parked on the top of a hill.
There is a small
plateau, and a giant white speaker sitting
in the middle of the field.
People in colorful
outfits are scattered all around the site:
men, women and children. A group of elders
is seated in a closed circle. They are
chanting, and their appeal is broadcasted
through the speaker. They are addressing
what is sacred to them: Mother Earth. They
need strength in order to go on, to
struggle, to defend themselves.
I am first ‘scanned’
by the people, and only then allowed to
approach the elders. I explain who I am, and
soon, the formalities are over.
“Please record but do
not film our faces, for security,” I am
told. “But later, you can film the
Soon after, I sit
down, and they begin to talk:
which we are living in these days in our
country, in the communities up here, in
the Andean communities is very
difficult. In reality we feel
frustrated, often abandoned because
during the previous government led by
President Evo Morales, we as farmers and
indigenous people, felt very good. Even
if, sometimes, we did not receive too
much help, still, the government, the
very President Evo Morales, is of our
own blood, our own class. For that
reason, we were supporting him. And we
keep supporting him.”
“And this, what
we have, now is a government –
dictatorship. They say the contrary, but
it is a fascist government. It is a
government which is burning Wiphala,
our symbol. It dishonors us. We feel
humiliated, we feel discriminated
against. For that reason, we realize
that we cannot fail; we cannot stay here
like this, we will continue fighting.
There will be elections in our country,
and we will continue supporting that one
person who has elevated our name; the
name of the native people, of workers,
of working people, and of the poor.”
“First, we will
go to the elections, if of course there
are elections. We will go and support
our people; our leaders. In case that
they will produce electoral fraud, then
yes, we will rise!”
I told them that I
have known their country, and Altiplano, for
more than 25 years. Everything has changed.
The villages consisting of mud huts came to
life. They woke up, began to bloom. Water
for all began to run through the pipes
provided by the government. Modern
ambulances have been deployed, serving all
corners of the nation. Health centers opened
their doors to millions of students, and so
did schools, and vocation centers. New roads
have been built. The government encouraged
Bolivia, for decades
and centuries living under monstrous
apartheid has been exploited, humiliated and
robbed of everything, but lately has begun
rising to its feet.
them this. I told them how I used to come
here, again and again, in the 1990’s, from
Peru; a country devastated by the so-called
“Dirty War” which I have described in my
of No Return”.
Peru was terribly broken, but here, in
Bolivia, people were half-alive. There was
no hope, only silent, frightening misery.
Now Bolivia, once the
poorest country in South America, has been
way ahead of Peru, a state which has been
relentlessly cannibalized by the neo-liberal
economic model, while still racially and
socially divided to the extreme.
I asked the elders,
whether they agreed. They did.
Because with our own eyes we have seen
enormous economic changes and we have
witnessed how Bolivia rose and after
those 14 years, got ahead of this entire
Latin American region.”
Before we left, an
elderly woman approached the car, and
screamed something in a local language.
“We will all
fight those evil beings who declared
themselves our rulers. If they don’t
disappear, soon again we will close the
roads between El Alto and La Paz, and
they will have to eat their own
excrement. Our people will never again
be defeated. Say this wherever you go!”
I said that I will.
In 1971, the great
Uruguayan writer, journalist and poet,
Eduardo Galeano, published his book Open
Veins of Latin America, which soon
became the most important tome for the Latin
American left-wing thinkers and
Inside the book,
which was regularly banned all over the
continent, Galeano had written about those
500 years of monstrous plunder, deceit and
cruelty, committed by the Europeans and the
North Americans against the people of South
and Central America. Some of the most
terrible crimes were committed on the
territory which is now Bolivia, particularly
in the silver mines of the city of Potosi,
which helped to make Europe rich, but whose
tens of thousands of people died, while
forced to live and work as slaves.
Not long before he
passed away, I worked with Eduardo Galeano
in his café, in the old city of Montevideo.
It was during the
heady days of the “Pink Revolutions” wave.
We were celebrating our victories, sharing
hope for the future.
But at one point,
Eduardo paused, and said, simply:
“You know, all of
our comrades who are holding power now
have to be very careful. They have to
understand that the poor people who
voted them in, or who supported them
when they were taking power, have only
one thing left in their life, and that
is hope. You take away their hope, and
they are left with nothing. Robbing them
of hope is like killing them. That is
why, whenever I encounter our left-wing
leaders, and I do it very often, I
always tell them: ‘Comrades, careful, Do
not play with hope! Never promise to
people what you cannot deliver. Always
keep your word.”
Juan Evo Morales
Ayma, the first Bolivian indigenous
president, understood Galeano and his work
perfectly well. He and his Movement for
Socialism (MAS), never betrayed the
trust of the poor people. That is why he was
never forgiven by the West, and by many
individuals coming from the treasonous
Bolivian elites and the military.
After my meeting with
the indigenous leaders, I asked Carlos to
drive us around Altiplano, without any
particular plan. I wanted to talk to people;
to the poorest of the poor of Bolivia.
At one point, we
arrived at a tiny hamlet. A dog with a
broken leg welcomed us with loud but
innocuous barking. There were two sheep near
the entrance to the house. An elderly
farmer, his blind wife and a daughter were
working in the field.
They were not afraid
to speak, even to be recorded and
photographed, as long as I promised not to
reveal their names.
The farmer had half
of his teeth missing, and he was leaning to
one side, but his thoughts and words were
“Thanks to Evo
for everything. There is his work, and
it speaks for itself; that road,
infrastructure. Even this little house
that we have is because of him.”
“Here we don’t
want that so-called President Añez. She
wants to mislead us, she lies to us. We
are with MAS; all of us up here are
strongly supporting MAS. We are
supporting our brother Evo. We have
always been suffering here, but Evo came
with excellent projects… but now all
progress will stop.”
The daughter is
perhaps 14 years old. She is a product of
Evo’s government. Neatly dressed, with nice
glasses, she speaks fluently. Her words are
leaders have no pity on us. They have
been shooting at us, beating us, gassing
us. They have been violating our women.
Lately, our mothers, our fathers
suffered tremendously in La Paz. People
were injured, people died, and the
military and the coup leaders have no
mercy. We don’t want to be slaves, like
before. After the coup, the new
government said terrible things about
our president; things that we don’t like
at all. We don’t want to be slaves, nor
to be dammed by that new lady-president
and by her people. She is a racist. The
truth is that she is too racist. They
call us ‘Indios’, and say things about
us that make us furious. They are
discriminating against us in all
“But you don’t lose
hope?” I asked.
“I don’t,” she
smiled. “I am with MAS. And MAS is going to
be victorious. We will defeat those who are
behind the coup.”
We left, heading
towards the main road.
“One more stop,” I
We drove, randomly,
towards a partially damaged dwelling.
“What happened here?”
The family members
spoke over each other:
Camacho sent here several buses full of
his supporters, from Potosi. They
arrived, and began beating us up,
insulting us, killing our animals and
destroying our houses. They forced us to
our knees, tying our hands behind our
backs. They called us the most insulting
names. They humiliated us. They said
that it is over, that now we will know
again where we belong.”
I asked Carlos
whether he had heard these stories before.
He replied, without thinking:
“Of course. You
can ask anyone up here, and they will
confirm what you just heard.”
Before descending to
La Paz, in El Alto, I asked Carlos to stop
at several places, where in November, dozens
of people died, blocking the capital as the
protest against the coup, and against
forcing Evo Morales into exile.
The bullet holes that
damaged the walls were still visible, and
they were clearly marked. There were flowers
there, where people had fallen. Soon,
hopefully very soon, there will be
The graffiti all over
El Alto, spoke clearly and loudly:
“Añez, we will fish
you off – you coup-maker!”, “Añez –
dictator!” and “Añez – killer!”.
Just half a year ago,
I witnessed great fiestas in El Alto. I
filmed colorful processions, people dancing,
fireworks. I admired the new public spaces,
super-modern cable cars, public swimming
pools as well as the playgrounds constructed
Now, the city felt
like a cemetery. It was eerie, silent,
The enormous Mount
Illimani, the symbol of this ancient land,
was covered by snow. It was beautiful now,
but it is always stunning, in good times as
well as during the disasters. La Paz,
sitting in a tremendous crater, was clearly
visible from above.
“The Yankees coming,”
said Carlos. “You know, Añez has restored
full diplomatic ties with Washington. And
their spies and agents are flooding the
embassy; all in civilian clothes, of
“With their backs
covered by the treasonous Bolivian
military,” I uttered, sarcastically.
Carlos was quiet for
some time. Then he decided to speak:
“When I was
young, I was in the military myself. In
Cochabamba, you know, during the water
crises, and popular rebellion aimed at
making water free. I never told you.
Those were tough times. People stood up,
and some died. Our unit consisted of
mainly indigenous soldiers. The officers
were white; almost all were. At one
point, we let them know that we would
not fire at our brothers and sisters.
They shat their pants: captains,
colonels; you should have seen them:
they were running around, in barracks
and outside, with no marks of their
ranks. You know, at one point, if they
were to have forced us to slaughter our
people, we would have refused, and
slaughtered them, instead.”
“They were trained in
the West?” I asked.
“And now Carlos? What
whispering, although no one seemed to be
“I have two
relatives in the army. I talked to one
of them, a few days ago. It is the same
as when I was serving in Cochabamba. The
upper ranks are with the Yanquis, but
the troops, most of them, are with MAS;
they are with Evo. You see, if there is
a mutiny, and there very well may be
one, soon, then Añez, Camacho and their
gringo friends will all soon be fucked!”
I went to the luxury
hotel Suites Camino Real in La Paz,
for lunch. I had to see “them”, the other
side. Those who import exquisite beef from
Santa Cruz province, those who consume it
here, those who are now celebrating.
And celebrating they
Several parties were
taking place, simultaneously. People were
jumping around, hugging each other, shouting
like mad. All white, all “tall and
beautiful”, all blonde, peroxide or real.
Wine was flowing.
Most of the waiters
were indigenous, dressed in Western clothes;
hushed and uncertain.
I met a former top
economist in Evo’s government, Ernesto
Yañez, who at one point served as the
vice-President of the Central Bank of
Bolivia. It was safe to meet here. We found
a quite corner where we could talk:
“I certainly call
what happened here, a coup. There was no
doubt, Evo’s years in power were marked
by great economic stability. Especially
in the beginning, there were almost no
economic problems. The poverty rate
decreased from 55% to below 30%. Quality
of life increased dramatically.”
“In relatively poor
Bolivia, poverty rates are lower than in the
richest country on the continent, Argentina,
after the reign of the neo-liberal President
Macri”, I could not help but mention.
“Yes, but after the
coup, the economy here is collapsing,”
Ernesto Yañez said.
Half a year ago, I
was here, and there were violent strikes by
doctors all over Bolivia. Many of them were
educated for free, by the state, but after
that, they were demanding a neo-liberal
medical system, in which doctors and nurses
would gain unrealistically high salaries.
Many Cuban doctors have been deployed by the
government, all over the country, in order
to improve medical care.
Ernesto Yañez further
government, millions of people moved
from lower to middle class. Most of them
were young. Which means, before the
coup, and after 14 years of MAS rule,
many young middle-class people had no
idea what it is to live in misery. They
took all the achievements of Evo and MAS
for granted. Then, when certain
hardships arrived, including the slowing
down of the economy after 2014, they saw
them as the failures of Evo’s
“You know, for
instance the doctors that you mentioned;
they thought that if they brought down
MAS, all their requests would be
immediately fulfilled by the right-wing
government. It never happened. Now they
have no idea what to do.”
“The same as in Santa
Cruz,” I agreed with him. “Fuel and utility
prices are going up. Now the right-wingers
will realize what it is to have their dream
come true – a neo-liberal regime. They are
getting wiped-out; desperate.”
“You, know, Evo
made many Bolivian businessmen rich,
too. The country and its economy were
very stable, for years. Before he came
to power, the big players were North
Americans, Europeans and Chileans.
During his mandate, Bolivian companies
were given priority. Bolivian elites
were always racist, for them, Evo was
‘un Indio mas’ (just another Indian).
But they hid their feelings well. It is
because Evo did things well. He changed
this country for the better, almost for
“But now, things
have gone from bad to worse. The new
president comes with the bible and
cross, burns Wiphala, and people die.
Now the Indigenous people want Evo
And not only
indigenous people, although almost all
indigenous people that I met this time in
I walked to Plaza
Murillo in La Paz, where the Presidential
Palace and the National Congress of Bolivia
The police and
military were everywhere. During Evo’s
government, this was a quiet, open space,
full of green trees, children and pigeons.
In front of the
National Congress, several ladies dressed in
beautiful indigenous clothes, were
gathering, talking to each other. These were
deputies from MAS.
I pulled out my
cameras and approached them. Immediately,
security dudes in plainclothes, began
approaching me, but the two lady-deputies
made protective gestures with their arms,
smiled at me, and rebuffed the security
officers: “Leave him alone, he is with us.”
I knew we had no
time, and I asked only one thing: “Are we
They did not
“We are standing.
They will not defeat us. MAS is the
legitimate government of Bolivia.”
And so, this is what
I am reporting from the Plurinational
Republic of Bolivia:
country is under attack from the United
States and its allies. It has been injured
by its treasonous cadres, both military and
civilian. Blood has been spilled. The
legitimate president and vice-president are
in exile. According to Reuters, “Bolivian
minister seeks Israel help in fighting
alleged leftist ‘terrorism‘”.
Meaning, the legitimate government.
But the country is
standing. People are not on their knees.
First there will be a vote, but if there are
any tricks from Washington or from the
Organization of American States (OAS), there
will be a fight.
Evo Morales and MAS
won the recent elections. There is
absolutely no way that MAS will not win
again. I spoke to people, and now, even more
than before, they are closing ranks around
the Movement towards Socialism which made
Bolivia one of the greatest nations in the
The indigenous people
of Bolivia and the rest of South America are
not beggars or slaves. Long before the
arrival of those brutal religious
fundamentalists and badly brought-up looters
– the Spanish conquerors – they were the
owners of this beautiful land. Their
civilization was much greater than that of
Evo’s government did
much more than just improving the social
situation in his country. He began reversing
500 years of cruel injustice on this
continent. He gave power to the powerless.
He returned pride to the people who had been
robbed of everything.
clearly where it stands. Despite its
hypocritical “political correctness”, it is
on the side of racism, colonialism and
fascist oppression. Instead of defending
freedom, it oppresses freedom. Instead of
promoting democracy (which is “rule of the
people”), it is raping democracy: here in
Bolivia, and elsewhere.
Until Bolivia is free
again, the entire freedom-loving world
should be waving the Wiphala.
The elders from the
Altiplano sent a clear message to the world.
Elections will take place, but if the people
are robbed of their government, there will
be an uprising and an epic battle.
Sadly, if there is a
battle, some people will join the Earth. But
also, the Earth will not stay idle – it will
join her People.
Añez together with
her colonialist symbols, is already being
cursed by the majority of Bolivian people,
and so are Camacho and several other
traitors. But perhaps, technically, they are
not “traitors”, after all. Their allegiances
are to those nations which had attacked and
have been looting this part of the world,
for several long centuries.
After 500 years of
being tormented and humiliated, the mother
Earth, Pachamama, is embracing her
children. Evo and MAS brought them together.
This is a tremendous moment in history.
People here realize it. European, racist
elites realize it. Washington is well aware
Right now, there is a
moment of silence; a brief one.
If the fascist coup
leaders do not back up, there will be huge
thunder, and the people of Altiplano will
rise, Wiphala in hand, supported by their
ancient, sacred Earth.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher,
novelist, filmmaker and investigative
journalist. He has covered wars and
conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of
his latest books are
Optimism, Western Nihilism, a
revolutionary novel “Aurora” and
a bestselling work of political non-fiction:
Lies Of The Empire”.
View his other books here.
his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda
and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam
Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and
the Middle East, and continues to work
around the world. He can be reached through
his website and
He writes especially for the online
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