BY TANIA APAZA
Several Bolivians in the United Kingdom have been leading protests outside of the Houses of Parliament, claiming that President Evo Morales is a “dictator” because he is able to run for president again in 2019.
They claim that him being able to run for another term is “undemocratic.”
This is quite simply, as I have argued before, a lie. The truth is that they are merely afraid that the Bolivian people will once again vote him in democratically and that Evo and his Movimiento Al Socialismo (Movement Toward Socialism) party will continue to make changes in society that benefit the masses of the country, as opposed to previous presidents who only sought to benefit the criollo minority.
While people at these protests may not be a part of the Bolivian elite themselves, the political parties they have aligned themselves with are most definitely part of the parasitic sectors of the population. Carlos Valverde, the so-called “journalist” who was the first to spread the lie that Evo had a secret child with an ex-girlfriend, shared footage of the protests outside Parliament. Samuel Doria Medina, a key member of the opposition and the criollo elite, shared photos of the protesters on Facebook.
These reactionary protesters have aligned themselves with those who are responsible for ransacking Bolivia’s natural resources throughout centuries — the elite who prioritize profit over people. They cry “dictator” and desecrate the memory of all the Bolivians who suffered under real dictatorships and political repression.
Evo is no dictator. Hugo Banzer was a dictator, put into power in the 1970s during Operation Condor, an operation orchestrated and funded by the United States to stop socialism from developing in Latin America. Banzer was responsible for the assassination, disappearances, and torture of hundreds of leftists.
He created concentration camps, inspired by Nazi Germany. He himself was of German descent and had zero interest in the betterment of the Brown and Black masses of Bolivia. He continued the work of Columbus, stealing the land and resources from the Indigenous majority and keeping it for himself and the European minority.
He put into a place a brutal structure, which even after the period of military dictatorships and well into the so-called “democratic era,” stayed intact and continued to persecute leftists. Leftists were kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed, with their families under similar threats.
Many were forced to leave the country — my mother being one of them. However, knowing that her comrades were still suffering back home, she co-founded the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, continuing her political work in the United Kingdom. Despite being so far away, she was still afraid that whatever activism she did in London may lead to dangerous consequences for her family in Bolivia, who had already been threatened numerous times by paramilitaries. Thus, she did it under the name Amancay Colque.
My mother, along with many others, knows what repression is. It’s fear and violence — not what is happening in Bolivia right now. Far from it, in fact.
Due to the scandal that the doctors created around what is a simple update to a law which seeks to protect patients, Evo decided to put a hold on the passing of it for another year. Does that sound like a dictator to you?
In fact, it seems like reactionary thought has too much of a space in Bolivian politics. Parasites, such as Samuel Doria Medina, are still able to broadcast campaign advertisements falsely claiming that Evo is spending the public’s money on private airplanes instead of investing in healthcare and education. The opposition, in general, is being permitted to spread lies about the new criminal code.
However, all this shows is that they are desperate and truly fear that the people will vote Evo in again. They are trying to manipulate the population so that they can install a government in which the Indigenous masses are once again under the boot of the European elite and the imperialist powers.
The fact that they are still able to even attempt this manipulation through the media shows that there is no dictatorship in Bolivia. Anyone who claims otherwise is disrespecting the many people who suffered and died at the hands of real dictatorships.
If only there was a dictatorship in Bolivia. A dictatorship of the Indigenous proletariat, that is.