Bolivia: the errors of Evo Morales

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Editorial. While under his presidency poverty has been halved in the country, inequality has declined, GDP has risen steadily, Morales has not resisted the authoritarian temptation.

Posted today at 11h32, updated at 14h43

Time to Reading 2 min.

Editorial of the "World". The election of Evo Morales as head of Bolivia was, in 2006, an unprecedented historic event. For the first time, a native was given the supreme function in a country hitherto run unchallenged by a minority elite. The new president held his promises rather quickly, thanks to a number of spectacular economic and social measures. Under the Morales presidency, poverty was halved, illiteracy and inequality declined, and GDP grew steadily.

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This progressive president has unfortunately not resisted the authoritarian temptation. It was this political drift that caused him to be expelled from his country, which he fled on Tuesday, November 12, to take refuge in Mexico.

The Movement to Socialism (MAS) of Evo Morales ended up concentrating all the powers, ignoring the urban middle class and youth. The president himself made a major mistake in 2016, when he decided to ignore the "no" in the referendum, yet organized on his own initiative, to be able to stand for a fourth term, prohibited by the Constitution .

Risk of a disastrous step back

The suspicions of fraud that weighed on the result of the presidential election of October 20, even before the polls, were therefore inevitable. Faced with the revolt of citizens that broke out, Evo Morales redoubled his arrogance, seeking to mobilize his base and proclaiming himself victorious. The report of the Organization of American States (OAS), which confirmed "Serious irregularities", gave the coup de grace. This is the moment chosen by the military hierarchy to ask the president to resign, in order to "To allow the return of stability" in Bolivia, as in the darkest hours of military coups in Latin America.

Read also The chaotic odyssey of Evo Morales for exile in Mexico, revealing Latin American tensions

Bolivia is now running the risk of a disastrous step backwards. The far right, which has never admitted a native ruler, has taken the lead and is trying to marginalize centrist Carlos Mesa, who came second in the October 20 election. The way the second vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, proclaimed Tuesday acting president, Bible in hand, after being handed the presidential sash by the commander-in-chief of the army in Parliament without the necessary quorum is worrying, even if it has been approved by the Constitutional Court. "The Bible has returned to the palace (presidential) and the Pachamama (the goddess of the land, for the natives, who claimed Morales) will never come back, " Luis Fernando Camacho, who became the most visible face of the extreme right in recent days after parading in the streets of La Paz alongside police who had just mutinied.

The clashes and manifestations of racism that followed the polls fears a return of fractures that could have been expected to be over. From Mexico, Evo Morales cries out for the coup in an interview published Thursday by El Pais, and said he is ready to return to Bolivia without being a candidate for the next election. It would be a new mistake. If he really has the interest of his fellow citizens at heart, Mr. Morales would be wiser to stand back, so that violence can cease in Bolivia and a constitutional issue emerge. This necessarily involves a new election, which can only be held if all the parties behave responsibly.



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https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2019/11/14/bolivie-les-erreurs-d-evo-morales_6019123_3232.html

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