The article to read to understand what is happening in Bolivia


After resigning, Bolivian President Evo Morales left his country for Mexico, whence he denounced a coup d'etat. Right-wing Senator Jeanine Anez declared herself Tuesday, November 12, as Acting President of Bolivia.

A "Rebellion". This is the expression used by former Bolivian President Evo Morales, now a refugee in Mexico, to describe the circumstances of his departure. In power since 2006, the head of state resigned on Sunday, November 10,Near a series of violent protests challenging his reelection, then he flew to Mexico. Despite the absence of a quorum in Parliament, lSenator Jeanine Anez proclaimed herself, Tuesday, November 12, Acting President of Bolivia. She said she wanted "call elections as soon as possible". We explain what happened in this Andean country to arrive at such a situation.

For dunces in geography, where is Bolivia?

Bolivia is surrounded by Chile and Peru, which block its direct access to the Pacific Ocean and, on the other side, to the east, by Brazil, Paraguay and Peru. 'Argentina. Its administrative capital is La Paz, its constitutional capital is the city of Sucre.

Map of Bolivia.
Map of Bolivia. (GOOGLE MAPS)

In terms of economic resources, Bolivia is considered the second largest natural gas reserve on the South American continent. The country also has mines of gold, copper, tin, and especially lithium (essential for modern batteries). It is finally a coca-producing country that is, among others, consumed locally for traditional uses. But that is also turned into powder, cocaine, massively (and illegally) exported to Europe and North America, which causes incessant litigation with the US administration in charge of the fight against narcotics.

What is the record of Evo Morales, the president who resigned?

It is overall positive after thirteen years of presidency (2006-2019), despite some more questionable points. Once in power, Evo Morales nationalized hydrocarbon extraction companies (oil and especially gas). This manna allows him to finance many social programs, which drastically reduce the level of extreme poverty. It goes from 36.7% in 2005 to 16.8% in 2015 according to the UN quoted by Le Figaro. Moderate poverty goes from 60 to 36% of the population. "He redistributed money in a targeted way: to pregnant women, schoolchildren, the elderly …" enumerates the geographer Laetitia Perrier-Brusle, country specialist and lecturer at the University of Nancy. And he multiplied by 4 the gross national product. " The IMF certifies it: from 2006 to 2019, GDP (gross domestic product) rose from 9 to 38.5 billion.

But his revolution is also "cultural and democratic", observes Claude Le Gouill, researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies of Latin America and specialist of Bolivia. First president of the country who claims to be indigenous, Evo Morales makes his country a "Plurinational State", with 36 nations and as many languages. And it promotes the symbols of indianity, like the wiphala, this multicolored checkered flag of the Andean ethnic groups. "It's the conquest of all these years of struggle against discrimination Our government has allowed the indigenous woman to no longer have to abandon the 'pollera' (a traditional puff skirt) ", explains a Bolivian in this video of France 24.

Was the 2019 presidential election one of too many? "Yes, Judge Laetitia Perrier-Brusle. Evo Morales could have left in 2016 on an extremely positive economic balance sheet." She recalled that the President ignored the results of the referendum of 2016, a ballot he lost (a majority of Bolivians opposed a constitutional amendment allowing him to run again in 2019). The geographer There are also drifts, such as the infiltration of institutions or the cult of the personality. "He embodied so much change that no one could take his place"asserts the researcher. "He no longer had the same support from his bases, and most of all, he disconnected from his bases, the critics never came back," note from his side Claude Le Gouill.

Why did he leave the country?

Before coming to Mexico, where he got asylum, Evo Morales explained that he was leaving Bolivia because he felt "threat". Opponents had got his resignation that same November 10th. For several days they had been fighting in the streets for the re-election of the head of state after the presidential election on 20 October. On 25 October, according to the final results, Evo Morales is declared the winner in the first round with 47.08% of the votes against 36.51% to his center-right opponent Carlos Mesa. But irregularities and fraud are pointed out by the international observers present on the spot and by the opposition. Demonstrations then win the whole country. The army and the police release the president, pushing him to resign.

Who are his opponents?

The protest brought together a wide variety of Boliviansaccording to the researchers interviewed.

Ordinary inhabitants of the country were angry at the proven electoral fraud. It was the last straw that broke the camel's back.Claude Le Gouill, specialist of Boliviaat franceinfo

"The opposition to Evo Morales is very complex," also considers Laetitia Perrier-Brusle. "It goes from the representatives of the rich on the far right to intellectuals of the left, or indigenous populations of the lowlands, believing that it did not respect their territory, to the enriched petty bourgeoisie." "In addition to the far-right leader Luis Fernando Camacho, who embodies a racist base that is resurging, there are also corporatist or professional logics", complete Claude Le Gouill. He quotes "coca growers who considered themselves abused by the government ", or the regions that did not want anymore "share rent built on gas or lithium".

What is the role of the far right?

"She's trying to enjoy it", analyzes Claude Le Gouill. "Luis Fernando Camacho, who represents it, appears as one of the leaders of the opposition, while it is only a small part."41-year-old entrepreneur, ultraconservative and Catholic, this opponent of Evo Morales "imposed by its radicality and its assumed provocations ", explains France 24. "Young, he has is making its way to the Union of Young Crucenists, a movement described as a racist paramilitary group targeting the 'indigenous', according to an international human rights organization.Today, he took the leadership of the Santa Cruz Civic Junta, a far-right group led by mining contractors and landowners, to complete the Canadian newspaper. The duty.

Highly visible in the media and on social networks, Luis Fernando Camacho called on November 2 the army and the police to "to stand with the people". November 10, "P.before the announcement of the resignation of Evo Morales, Luis Fernando Camacho enters the 'Palacio Quemado' (the presidential palace), decided to hand the letter of resignation in blank to his sworn enemy, details France 24. Posing the Bible on the Bolivian flag (…) the leader of the rebellion in Santa Cruz promises to 'bring God back to the burnt palace.'

Quoted by The duty, South American Specialist Marie-Christine Doran, a professor at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, believes: "It is not the wear of power or a tragic balance sheet that has forced the exit of Evo Morales.This is the result of resistance from the elite who, for thirteen years, lost his privileges. It has become radicalized through the movements of the evangelical religious right. " Hence comparisons sometimes made with the right that brought to power Jair Bolsanoro in Brazil. Hence also these images circulating on social networks that show retaliation against the Amerindian population. This the one shown by the Belgian newspaper The evening This mayor is a bit disgraced, humiliated, red-haired and forcibly cut by opponents of Evo Morales on November 6th. Or those, taken by the American journalist and whistleblower Glenn Greenwald, where police officers tear off their wiphala, the rainbow flag of the Indian nations of Colombia.

Today, what is the situation in the country?

She is tense for several days. Demonstrations and strikes demanding the departure of Evo Morales have been followed by urban riots by Bolivians supporting Morales. Armed and ready to fight with the opposition, supporters of the former head of state attacked the police on Monday, November 11. Police barracks were looted and burned in several cities, while hundreds of Evo Morales supporters marched to the capital, La Paz, in forcing the shops to close.

On Monday, November 11, companies were attacked, buildings burned down and most schools and businesses remained closed. Public transport was stopped and roads blocked. The commander of the Bolivian Armed Forces announced that he ordered troops to conduct joint operations with the police against "acts of vandalism". Speaking to reporters in La Paz, Williams Kaliman assured that the security forces would make use of "proportionate" of the force. The army is deployed in the streets to support the police. Tuesday, November 12, La Paz remained paralyzed, without public transport.

Who then assures the power?

Despite the lack of a quorum (a sufficient number of deputies present) in Parliament, the second vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, supported by far-right leader Luis Fernando Camacho, proclaimed herself interim president of Bolivia on Tuesday (November 12th). To claim this position, la senator on the right has invoked the cascading resignations of President Morales and his successors provided for by the Constitution. Namely the vice president, the president and the vice-president of the Senate as well as the president of the Chamber of Deputies. She was then sworn in, and the Constitutional Court validated this election.

Dramatically, this 52-year-old lawyer brandished a huge Bible as she entered the presidential palace. "The Bible is back at the Palace"she proclaimed. "Several old tweets removed from Anez reappear. In 2013: "I dream of a Bolivia free of the satanic rites indigenous, the city is not made for the Indians, that they go away in the Altiplano or in the Chaco !!"says Twitter reporter Vincent Glad. However, in an address on Tuesday, the president defended the use, alongside the national flag, the wiphala, the Amerindian flag.

Jeanine Anez must now appoint her government and call new elections within 90 days, according to the Constitution. She promised that these elections would take place before January 22, 2020.

Is this a coup d'etat?

For Evo Morales, the accession to power of Senator Jeanine Anez sign "the most astute and odious coup d'etat in history". Was there a coup d'etat? "If so, it is not a coup in the traditional sense.The army did not take power as it had been the case during military dictatorships" (from 1964 to 1982), answers Claude Le Gouill.

But against a background of widespread protest, demonstrations, strikes and paralysis of the country, it is the decisive pressure of the security forces that pushed Evo Morales to leave. On Sunday afternoon, the army and police withdrew their support and called him to resign "for the good of Bolivia", what he did the same day. In the wake of his resignation,The police arrested the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and her vice-president on the order of the public prosecutor's office investigating irregularities in the October elections. Both were taken by masked or masked men and were presented to the media at the foot of a platform where police officers were seated.

It's really far, Bolivia. Do you give me a summary?

In power since 2006, Evo Morales has wanted the mandate too much by running again in the presidential elections of 2019, under contested conditions, say some experts from Bolivia. On October 20, his first-round win against Carlos Mesa (center right) is fraught with fraud, according to international observers and the opposition, who are demanding a second round. In the days that follow, demonstrations and strikes break out. Police and army release Evo Morales, who resigns on Sunday, November 10, leaves for Mexico and denounces "the most astute and odious coup d'etat in history".

Worried and furious, supporters of Evo Morales rise after his departure, with urban riots in several cities. The army joins the police to control them. Tuesday 12th November, the second vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, proclaims herself acting president of Bolivia and promises to hold elections.

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