MN says: “No to U.S. coup in Bolivia”
Minneapolis, MN – 50 protesters rallied at the intersection of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis on November 14 in response to a call for emergency response protests. On November 8, Bolivia’s military staged a coup and ousted democratically elected President Evo Morales. Even though Morales accepted asylum in Mexico, the people’s movements have refused to back down and have been protesting in the capital. Protests internationally have been organized to show solidarity with the indigenous and workers’ movements opposing U.S. interference in Bolivia.
Thousands of drivers returning home from work saw signs saying, “No U.S. coup in Bolivia” and “U.S. out of Latin America,” and heard chants of “Hey hey, ho ho! U.S. coups have got to go!” backed by music from the Unlawful Assembly protest band.
Autumn Lake, representing the MN Anti-War Committee, explained the context to the crowd: “This is a coup, not by a righteous grassroots movement, but by U.S.-backed right-wing racists. This is a coup designed to undermine the social and economic gains made by the first indigenous-led government in the western hemisphere since it had been colonized by European powers. Bolivia to this day is the only country left in the Americas where the majority of the population is indigenous. The movement that led to the election of President Evo Morales is rooted in ensuring that Bolivia’s social and economic practices prioritize the majority-indigenous masses of Bolivia over the interests of foreign capital, lifting broad masses of Bolivians out of poverty. Under Morales, indigenous languages and culture have been thoroughly incorporated into Bolivia’s plurinational model.”
Sarah Martin, a board member from Women Against Military Madness, addressed the U.S. motivations for supporting the coup, saying, “When Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism took power in 2006, the government immediately sought to undo decades of theft by transnational mining firms and seized several of the mining operations of the most powerful firms. This sent a message that business as usual was not going to continue. The mines and gas refineries that used to be the sole property of U.S. firms were nationalized, and their revenue directed to lifting the poor out of poverty. For as long as Bolivia has existed, it has not known a period of greater collective prosperity and genuine democracy. Bolivia, along with Venezuela and Cuba, have the example for self-determination and making life better for the people and this terrifies U.S. capitalists. As it turns out Bolivia has 70% of the world’s lithium. Lithium is an essential metal in our devices as well as batteries for electric cars. When Morales was unable to make deals with Western transnational companies to fairly share the profits, he turned to Chinese firms – this was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies, including Tesla, and made the Morales govt vulnerable. After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.”
The speakers, signs and chants all targeted U.S. involvement in the Bolivian coup. Lake explained, “As was the case in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Honduras, U.S. resources and training were instrumental in opposing the democratically-elected progressive government of Bolivia. General Williams Kaliman, the current head of Bolivia’s military and one of the masterminds of the coup, had previously received training at the infamous ‘School of the Americas,’ as did many others involved. Leaked audio confirmed that reactionary conservative Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were involved in planning the coup with the Bolivian right-wing opposition forces.”
The emergency response protest was organized by the MN Anti-War Committee, MN Peace Action Coalition and Women Against Military Madness. The Anti-War Committee announced that their next protest will be a march on International Human Rights Day, December 10, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Senator Klobuchar’s office at 1200 Washington Avenue South in Minneapolis.