The Latin American continent is again falling victim to military, judicial or parliamentary coups; the real victims, as always, are the people, who are forced to suffer deaths, injuries, arrests, social and structural violence.
Neoliberal governments are bringing hunger and poverty to our countries, the destruction of our productive capacity and the dollarization of our economies, subjected to financial speculation resulting in inflationary processes that defy belief, such as the one suffered by Argentina.
The rebellion of the peoples comes when living conditions become unbearable and despair becomes the dominant sentiment. Behind all the mechanisms of domination, we find the hand of the United States, which doesn’t want to lose control over the continent, and, just like it did in the ‘70s, promotes coups, imposing the doctrine of national security by force and implementing the Condor II Plan.
This is what they did against President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, a pilot experiment on how to conduct a civic-military coup, which also resulted in the strengthening of the US military base in Pulmarola.
This was followed by the civic-parliamentary coup in Paraguay against President Fernando Lugo, and the parliamentary coup against the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, together with keeping Lula from running as a candidate in the presidential elections. The continent is being targeted with coups, whether parliamentary or military, whose goal is one and the same: to block the advance of the peoples’ sovereignty. The United States has started a judicial war—“Lawfare”—with the complicity of the hegemonic media, which condemns before verifying the facts, creating conformity in opinion and a monoculture of minds.
In Bolivia, President Evo Morales was able to overcome several coup attempts, such as the Pando massacre and the uprising in the Crescent region. Today, the country has again been subjected to a coup, civic and military, with the intervention of the United States and everything that followed from it: deaths, arrests, the persecution of indigenous peoples and of the entire Bolivian people. The US has imposed a de facto government led by Jeanine Añez, an apprentice dictator and a puppet in the hands of the armed forces.
The policy of the United States aims to prevent the existence of independent countries, hinder regional integration and bend the continent to the interests of the IMF and neoliberal politics; in the case of Argentina, the goal is to isolate the upcoming government, headed by Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner.
The peoples’ rebellion on the continent is spreading. In Chile, the government of Sebastián Piñera has resorted once again to the old tactic of sending in the army to repress the protesters, resulting in deaths, blinded persons and many cases of detention and torture, including against minors. In Ecuador, the repression was let loose against those who rebelled against Lenin Moreno’s neoliberal policy. Then, we have the difficult situation in which the people of Haiti and Venezuela are finding themselves.
It is necessary for the social, cultural and political organizations to join together and demand, with one voice, the resignation of the Secretary General of the OAS (Organization of American States), Luis Almagro, for his share of the blame for the crisis in Bolivia, tied to his irresponsibility when it came to verifying the fairness of the voting in the last elections, and his subservience to the policy of the US, which intervened to thwart the victory of Evo Morales. Almagro is a threat to democracies across Latin America.
At the moment, there are no legitimate interlocutors in Bolivia—certainly none of the coup plotters responsible for the violence unleashed against the population. The UN should urgently send in a commission of inquiry that could lay the foundations for peace and stop the murderous violence. We must demand the immediate withdrawal of the armed forces from the streets and fields of Bolivia. Enough with the repression and the deaths. Let us remember the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero: “No soldier is obliged to obey unjust orders against their own people.”
It is necessary that the Bolivian people should organize themselves to form a Constituent Assembly and demand elections without delay. Investigations must be launched into the deaths caused by the army and security forces. The discrimination, persecution and racism must stop. And the decision of the plurality of the Bolivian people must be respected.
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel is a Nobel Peace laureate and creator of the Fundación Servicio Paz y Justicia in Argentina.