November 16, 2019 - No. 27

The Coup Against the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia
and Its President

Canada Must Stop Being a Tool for
Regime Change!
Stand with the People of Bolivia Demanding Reinstatement of the President They Elected

Mass gathering of resistance to the coup in El Alto,  November 13, 2019.

Bolivia During the Government of Evo Morales
• Behind the Racist Coup in Bolivia

- Danny Shaw, Council on Hemispheric Affairs -

For Your Information

Audio Recordings Documenting U.S. Politicians and Bolivian Opposition Leaders Organizing the Coup
• What Happened in Bolivia's 2019 Vote Count?
Role of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission
- Guillaume Long, David Rosnick, Cavan Kharrazian, and Kevin Cashman, Center for Economic and Policy Research -

Expressions of Anti-Imperialist Solidarity

• Militant Actions in Support of Bolivian People
Discussion on Political Developments in the
Americas and the Carribean

• Cuba's 28th Victory at the UN General Assembly: Animated Exchange With the Cuban Consul in Montreal

• Canada Must Stop Interfering in the Internal Affairs of Venezuela! Respect Diplomatic and International Norms!

Rising with Haiti: Justice, Dignity, Reparations!

- Marie Dimanche, Frantz Andé and Yves Engler -

Coming Events

Significant Anniversaries

• Thirty Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall
- Pauline Easton -

• 134th Anniversary of the Hanging of Louis Riel

The Coup Against the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia and Its President

Canada Must Stop Being a Tool for Regime Change!
Stand with the People of Bolivia Demanding Reinstatement of the President They Elected

Events of the past week in Bolivia make crystal clear that what we have been witnessing is the culmination of a military coup against President Evo Morales who was re-elected in the  October 20 general election and the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) which he leads that won the majority of seats in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

There is irrefutable evidence that the events which transpired over the past week are connected to U.S. efforts to co-opt and influence military and police forces in the region through programs it has in place for this purpose.  In addition, leaked audio tapes have emerged which suggest certain U.S. politicians and embassy officials worked with retired Bolivian military officers and opposition politicians and some others to organize and finance the kind of violent and destabilizing actions that have taken place as well as the creation of a parallel government if Evo won the election. That such a plan existed is given credibility by the fact that according to Evo, a member of his security team told him he had been offered $50,000 to hand Evo over to his political enemies.

Showing its bad conscience, the Trudeau government refuses to acknowledge the obvious. In its statements, Global Affairs has so far referred only to President Morales "resigning" and its readiness to support a "temporary caretaker administration to prepare for new elections and avoid a power vacuum." This means Canada is supporting opposition Senator Jeanine Añez, a person who, like Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, unconstitutionally declared herself the interim president -- in her case backed by the military, with an army officer assisting her don the presidential sash at her swearing-in. With the presidency captured, opposition Añez named her own cabinet and, belying the notion that hers is only a caretaker administration until a new election is held, set about dismantling programs and arrangements of all types put in place by the Morales government and generally unleashing a wave of revenge-taking against its members and supporters. If the interim "president" has her way, not just Evo but any candidate of the MAS will be barred from contesting the new election. Meanwhile the police and army have been given a green light to attack and arbitrarily arrest those resisting the coup  -- many of them members of the country's Indigenous nations. As of November 16, 23 deaths had been reported across the country, many caused by bullets.

Rally of rural teachers in La Paz, November 13, 2019, demanding the self-proclaimed coup government step down.

In the regime change operations mounted against both Bolivia and Venezuela, Canada has been an important player, working through the Organization of American States (OAS) to declare elections illegitimate or fraudulent that have not produced the desired results. It then works with coup forces to illegitimately remove the presidents and governments elected by the people of those countries.

In the case of Bolivia's recent election, separate analyses of the results performed by different experts do not support the conclusions allegedly reached by the team that performed the audit for the OAS. All the studies concluded that the reported irregularities were not significant and that removing the suspect number of votes cast for Evo would not have affected his first round victory. All of which suggests that the alleged irregularities reported by the OAS team -- which it provided no concrete evidence for and never said amounted to fraud -- was the pretext needed to call for rejecting the results altogether and holding a new election, opening the door for the coup forces to claim Evo was elected through "fraud" and to make their move against him. In whose name was Canada acting to help instigate this?

March from 20 states in Bolivia to the government headquarters in support of Evo Morales,
November 15, 2019.

Canada has played a similar role in other U.S.-orchestrated coups or coup attempts in the hemisphere this century -- including the coups against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti in 2004 and President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009. In both cases the leader and governments targeted for regime change were attempting to chart their own course for development, giving priority to meeting the needs of the working people and most vulnerable rather than embracing the harsh neo-liberal remedies of the IMF that have destroyed national economies and brought misery to so many people around the world. In those two cases, beyond the role it played in supporting the coups perpetrated against those presidents, Canada under both Conservative and Liberal governments weighed in to prevent the people's forces from electing their choice of government by rushing in to support subsequent electoral coups to ensure the continuation in power of neo-liberal governments and the repressive apparatus they do not hesitate to wield against the people.

The fact that Canada was tapped by the U.S. to lead the Lima Group, supposedly to "restore democracy in Venezuela," shows what kind of democracy, human rights and rule of law Canada stands for. The Lima Group is a collection of some of the most corrupt, repressive, undemocratic, rights-violating governments anywhere -- among them Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Chile, Peru, all of them facing crises of legitimacy and widespread repudiation at home.

The Trudeau government's hypocrisy appears to have no bounds. It is making endless declarations on its own behalf and as part of the Lima Group about the democratic and constitutional order having been ruptured in Venezuela, warranting punitive action by the OAS. Not only are the people of Venezuela standing steadfast against the attempts to bring about regime change in Venezuela but Canada's attempts have never been realized for lack of the required support inside the OAS itself. Meanwhile, it is willfully blind to the attack on the constitution and democracy -- as well as on the lives of the people of Bolivia demanding the return of their legitimate president -- by the racist oligarchy now taking their revenge on the "Indians" they so despise.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians to unreservedly support the demand of the Bolivian people for the reinstatement of their elected president Evo Morales and to demand that the government of Canada end its gross interference in the affairs of Bolivia and Venezuela in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the norms of diplomacy, which no amount of Liberal hypocrisy about working for free and fair elections, human rights and a "rules-based order" can hide.

(Photos: O. Vargas, F. Morales, Prensa Latina)

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Bolivia During the Government of Evo Morales

Celebrations following President Evo Morales' election to a fourth term, October 29, 2019.

1. Bolivia went from being the poorest country in the Americas to the country with the highest rate of economic growth in the Americas.

2. Bolivia increased its GDP by 400 per cent.

3. The eight U.S. military bases in Bolivia were eliminated, and Evo removed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the CIA from his nation.

4. Gas and water were nationalized -- these vital services were established as a human rights, overturning their previous privatization.

5. The recovery of the nationalization of gas to put it at the service of the people of Bolivia enabled the development of this great nation.

6. Twelve lithium factories, three cement factories, two automotive factories, and 28 textile factories were built.

7. Twelve thousand six hundred and ninety-four cooperatives were created.

8. Discrimination against the majority of the population, that is the Indigenous population, was eliminated and Bolivia became the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, thus establishing the self-determination and culture of Indigenous peoples constitutionally.

9. Half of public positions are held by women, of which 68 per cent are Indigenous.

10. Minimum wage increased by 1,000 per cent.

11. Bolivia launched its first satellite, called Tupac Katarí [named after an Indigenous Aymara leader who led a rebellion against the Spanish from 1781-82] .

12. The Government of Bolivia exercised power together with the social movements, so it governed hand in hand with the people.

13. The government became the promoter of culture and respect for the environment, which implies "Loving the Pachamama [Mother Earth]."

14. A pension plan for the elderly was created for those 65 and older.

15. A financing program was established for all students in Bolivia.

16. Illiteracy dropped from 22.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent.

17. More than 25,000 kilometres of roads were built.

18. One hundred and thirty-four hospitals were built.

19. Seven thousand one hundred and ninety-one sports centres were built.

20. One thousand one hundred schools were built.

21. A new Constitution was created that recognized the rights of workers, peasants, students, women and the Indigenous peoples.

(Regeneración, November 12, 2019. Photo: AVN)

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Behind the Racist Coup in Bolivia

Yesterday, Sunday, November 10, at approximately 4:00 pm (eastern standard time) the democratically elected president and vice president of Bolivia, Evo Morales and Álvaro García respectively, were forced to resign from power. This was no voluntary resignation as CNN, the New York Times and the rest of the corporate media is reporting, nor has it been accepted by the Legislative Assembly as required by the Constitution of Bolivia.[1] This was a coup that employed threats and brutality against Morales, García, members of the cabinet, congressional representatives, and their families. Both the commander-in-chief of the military and head of the Bolivian Police requested, in no uncertain terms, the resignation of Morales.[2] The coup forces, led by Pro-Santa Cruz Committee president Luis Fernando Camacho, continues to target Movement for Socialism (MAS) activists, progressive social movements, and Indigenous peoples of Bolivia.

Behind the Misleading Headlines

The corporate press has predictably given one-sided coverage of the unfolding situation in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, a resource-rich Andean nation of 11.5 million, of which approximately 50 per cent are Indigenous[3]. While the mainstream media act as cheerleaders for the unrest in Hong Kong and magnify any sign of discontent in Venezuela or any other country perceived by the U.S. government as "enemy," it has largely ignored the popular uprisings in Haiti, Chile, Ecuador and beyond. Now, in the case of Bolivia, conservative circles in the Americas are celebrating an opportunity to take power back from a president, administration and people who have been a regional driving force for the advancement of Indigenous, environmental, women's and workers' rights. Bolivia has enjoyed one of the most stable economic growth rates in the Americas, between 4 per cent and 5 per cent in the last years, and decreased poverty among millions of Bolivians, from 59 per cent to 39 per cent, according to official data from the World Bank.[4]

A Call for Solidarity

Protest outside offices of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Washington, DC,
November 11, 2019.

On Thursday, October 24, Bolivia's election panel declared Morales the winner with 47.07 per cent of the votes and Carlos Mesa the runner up with 36.5 per cent of the votes.[5] According to a Center for Economic and Policy Research, Morales had a sufficient margin of victory to be declared the victor in the elections.[6] The Organization of American States presented findings that the election had irregularities and that the "auditing team could not validate the electoral results and were thus, recommending another election."[7] The opposition contested the election, led by extreme right wing leader of the Santa Cruz Committee, Luis Fernando Camacho. Camacho is involved in the continental corruption case known as "The Panama Papers"[8]. He also has links with terrorist and separatist Branko Marinkovic, who enjoys safe harbour in Brazil, which is governed by the right-wing presidency of Jair Bolsonaro[9]. In response to charges that the election was not valid, Morales invited the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) to conduct an audit.[10] The opposition rejected these calls, reiterating their demands for Morales to step down.[11] Morales responded to the OAS audit, which claimed there were irregularities, by calling for new elections and a reconstitution of the electoral commission but the coup leaders rejected all of these concessions.[12]

Since the anarchy began, all of president Morales' public statements have pleaded for peace and dialogue. However, the opposition has no interest in the social peace the MAS built. Quite the opposite, they want to reverse all of these gains.

In the town of Vinto, protestors brutally attacked, cut off [her] hair and marched MAS mayor Patricia Arce through the streets to humiliate her. Anti-government forces have picked up arms and burned down the homes of MAS activists and family members. In response, Morales said: "Burn my house. Not those of my family. Seek vengeance with me and Alvaro. Not with our families."[13]

The U.S. headlines do little to explain the racial and class divide that defines Bolivia historically and at the current moment. Pro-democracy forces should seek to understand the inner-dynamics at work in Bolivian society and support the restoration of democratically elected government and peace. Veterans of centuries of resistance, the Bolivian people are poised to keep resisting the coup and preserve the historic gains of the "process of change."

Behind the Propaganda

Protest, OAS headquarters, November 11, 2019.

Morales and the MAS' true crime in the eyes of the salivating gas multinationals and their local lackeys was the severing of Bolivia's historically exploitative relationship with the U.S.

In 2005, Evo Morales became the 80th president of Bolivia and its first Indigenous. In 2006, the MAS re-nationalized Bolivia's vast gas reserves. Morales expelled the DEA, USAID, the Peace Corps and the U.S. ambassador because of their agendas of political intervention in domestic affairs, which is illegal in any country, as it is surely in the U.S. Aware of the 200 plus U.S. military invasions in the continent in the 20th century, the MAS established an anti-imperialist military school to train their own officers and rank and file soldiers. Cholitas, as Aymara women are known, have made important gains since 2005. Traditionally alienated from the formal economy and exploited as servants in the homes of the wealthy, Bolivia's women have carved out new economic and cultural terrain to exercise more self-determination over their lives.

Despite all of the social and economic gains, the process of change was unable to completely transform the old state apparatus over the past thirteen years. In the decisive moment, when the rule of law came under attack, important sectors of the military high command and the police supported the coup.

In Evo's own words upon resigning, in order to prevent more attacks against innocent Bolivians, "my sin is I'm Indigenous and I'm a leftist."

Contextualizing the Coup

Contrary to what the second-place candidate Carlos Mesa, Luis Fernando Camacho and other pro-coup forces would have us believe, the violence and chaos is not just about Morales' fourth presidential term; it is about what class forces control the future of Bolivia.

The overthrow of the MAS government and the victory of pro-U.S. interventionist forces, for the present moment, represent a monumental setback for the Bolivian people as well as for the cause of regional independence and democracy, akin to the rise of Pinochet in Chile in 1973.

While 66.2 per cent of Bolivians are of Indigenous or mestizo (mixed Native and European with the Indigenous component higher than the European) ancestry, the violence is concentrated in Santa Cruz and other areas where the largely lighter-skinned, Spanish-descendent, wealthier sectors have no interest in Bolivian unity and democracy.[14] The concentration of wealth in these sectors is the result of unequal development, a direct product of centuries of colonialism.

Santa Cruz tried to secede from Bolivia in 2008. The secessionist forces trampled on the red, yellow and green flag of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Wiphala, electing instead to fly the green and white regional flag. The call for "autonomy" and the latest burning of homes and violent attacks seek to steal back the direction of the Bolivian state. Driven by racism and a thirst for the unconstrained power they have been accustomed to since the inception of Bolivia's history, these class forces believe they have won this round, forcing Morales and García from power.

An Insurrectionary Continent

It is important to place the temporary setback in Bolivia in the wider context of what is unfolding across Latin America.

Bolivia's neighbour to the south, Argentina, just rejected the right-wing agenda of Macrismo at the polls. To the west, Chile is in revolt against a billionaire agenda and president, Sebastián Piñera. Further north, Colombia rejected Uribismo in local elections. Lula -- the most popular politician in Brazil -- is free after 19 months as a political prisoner. Millions of Haitians are in the streets demanding an end to U.S.-led exploitation and occupation. In Ecuador, there is a popular movement against Lenín Moreno's hard turn towards the neo-liberal economic model. And in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads a new party which aims at building a post-neoliberal order for the country. Venezuela and Cuba continue to fight back against an all-out U.S. diplomatic, military, media and economic offensive.

The Coup Cannot Bury the Process of Change

As this article goes to press, there are numerous official denunciations of the coup from governments which defend the constitutional order in Bolivia as well as expressions of solidarity from progressive forces around the world. This is indeed a great blow to democracy and social justice in the Americas.

The OAS, after having failed to denounce the violence and racist attacks perpetrated by coup forces, has belatedly voiced support for the preservation of the constitutional order, for a new electoral authority, and for new elections, all of which were sought by President Morales himself.

The OAS statement declares:

"The General Secretariat requests an urgent meeting of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia to ensure the institutional functioning and to name new electoral authorities to guarantee a new electoral process. It is also important that justice continues to investigate existing responsibilities regarding the commission of crimes related to the electoral process held on October 20, until they are resolved."[15]

Now that President Morales and Vice President Álvaro García have resigned and the coup has polarized Bolivian society, it will be difficult to re-establish the "institutional functioning" undermined by the coup. Morales has been granted asylum by Mexican authorities. Celebrants of the anti-Indigenous victory are burning the Whiphala in public squares. Popular mobilizations against the coup and in support of Morales which are now on the rise, are being met in some areas with brutal repression by the police.[16] There are reliable video and testimonial reports that mutinous police, who stayed in their barracks during the violence and destruction wrought by the anti-government forces, are now using live ammunition on people in El Alto.[17] Meanwhile the MAS and other organizations that have been major protagonists of the process of change are seeking to protect their ranks from persecution and regroup in order to defend the progress of the past decade, gains which have lifted millions of Bolivians out of poverty, revalorized Indigenous culture, and contributed to the continent-wide aspiration of realizing the Patria Grande. As Evo Morales has promised, "the struggle continues."[18]

Danny Shaw teaches Latin American and Caribbean Studies at City University of New York.


1. Londono, Ernesto. "Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down," New York Times. November 10, 2019. See Article 161(3) of the Constitution of Bolivia: The Chambers shall meet in Pluri-National Legislative Assembly to exercise the following functions, as well as those set forth in the Constitution: 3. To accept or reject the resignation of the President of the State and of the Vice President of the State.

2. Statement of Vladimir Yuri Calderón Mariscal, Commander-in-Chief of the Bolivian Police, who subsequently resigned his post, November 10, 2019. Also see statement of Commander of the Armed forces of Bolivia, Williams Kaliman, who called for Morales' resignation on November 10, 2019. 

3. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). According to the 2012 National Census, 41 per cent of the Bolivian population over the age of 15 are of Indigenous origin, although the National Institute of Statistics' (INE) 2017 projections indicate that this percentage is likely to have increased to 48 per cent. 

4. The World Bank In Bolivia.

5. Krygier, Rachel, "Bolivia's election panel declares Evo Morales winner after contested tally; opponents demand second round," Washington Post, October 24, 2019

6.  What Happened in Bolivia's 2019 Vote Count? The Role of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission, Center for Economic and Policy Research, November 2019.  

7. Preliminary Findings of the Organization of Amercain States. Analysis of the Electoral Integrity of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, October 20, 2019.

8. "Informe involucra a cívico cruceño y envían dos casos al Ministerio Público." 

9. See "Revelan que Camacho se transporta en vehículo de Marinkovic en La Paz," and "El racismo de Branko Marinkovic es emulado por Luis Fernando Camacho."

10. "Bolivia election: U.S. withholds recognition; Morales supporters and opposition clash as sides await OAS audit." Washington Post, October 29, 2019.  

11. Ramos, Daniel, "Bolivia military says won't 'confront' the people as pressure on Morales builds," Reuters, November 9, 2019

12. Bolivian President Morales calls for new elections after OAS audit

13. "Statement of the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, upon Resigning from the Presidency,"  November 10, 2019.


15. Statement on Bolivia, OAS, November 11, 2019

16. There are reports that the police have asked for the military to intervene. See here.

17. In a tweet on November 11, Evo Morales said: "After the first day of the civic-political-police coup, the mutinous police repress with bullets to provoke deaths and wounded in El Alto. My solidarity with these innocent victims, among them a girl, and the heroic people of El Alto, defenders of democracy." 

18. "Statement of the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, upon Resigning from the Presidency," November 10, 2019.

(November 11, 2019. Photos: AVN, C. Leon)

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For Your Information

Audio Recordings Documenting U.S. Politicians and Bolivian Opposition Leaders Organizing the Coup

The Radio Education Network of Bolivia (Erbol) leaked 16 audio recordings involving opposition leaders who are calling for a coup d'état against the government of President Evo Morales, a political action which would have been coordinated from the U.S. embassy in the Andean country.

Among those mentioned in the recordings are the U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menéndez and Ted Cruz, who would have maintained contact with the Bolivian opposition in order to achieve regime change in the Bolivia.

The recordings also reveal participation in the political conspiracy of the
former prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa, who was accused of corruption in 2009 and fled Bolivia to seek asylum in the U.S., where he is currently living.

In their conspiracy talks, these Bolivian politicians also mention a former Bolivian president whose name is not given explicitly, former New Republican Force lawmaker Mauricio Muñoz and former Army officers Oscar Pacello Aguirre, Remberto Siles, Julio César Maldonado Leoni and Teobaldo Cardozo.

Click each file name to listen to the audio (Spanish).

Audio 1: This recording illustrates the commitment of U.S. senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menéndez and Ted Cruz to the coup plan in Bolivia.

Audio 2: A member of the Bolivian opposition and alleged former military man calls for an armed uprising.

Audio 3: A member of the Bolivian opposition (still to be identified) proposes to point out the houses of supporters of the president's political party, to instill fear in the population and influence them later to support the coup.

Audio 4: A member of the Bolivian opposition (still to be identified), raises the strategy to be followed by the Bolivian opposition, to establish a premise that invalidates the October 20 elections, generates a military-civil uprising and creates a national strike. In addition, he comments that there are active members of the National Armed Forces and the police that would support these actions.

Audio 5: A conversation between members of the Bolivian opposition that shows the participation of Manfred Reyes Villa, another member of the U.S.-based opposition, who has plans for a coup d'état. The support that the opposition is obtaining from the Evangelical Church and the Brazilian government is mentioned. The reference to an alleged confidante of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who also advises a Bolivian presidential candidate who has not yet been identified, stands out.

Audio 6: This recording shows the participation of Manfred Reyes Villa, an opposition member with coup plans. The voices of Bolivian political activist Mauricio Muñoz and Reyes can be heard on the recording.

Audio 7: A former Bolivian colonel confirms the coup plans against President Evo Morales, and expresses his concern about the participation of civic committee leaders in the opposition-related army.

Audio 8: Former Bolivian colonel Julio César Maldonado Leoni, president of the National Military Committee, gives orders to implement all kinds of actions against the Cuban Embassy and its diplomats, to instill fear and hatred towards Cubans so that they leave the country.

Audio 9: This recording is related to a meeting between former Bolivian military members held in the city of Cochabamba. Former Colonel Julio César Maldonado Leoni, president of the National Military Committee, refers to the creation of a political-military power.

Audio 10: Former Bolivian colonel Teobaldo Cardoso says that everything is ready and that they are a large group of old and active military members ready to wage war.

Audio 11: This recording illustrates the commitment of the politician and opposition member Manfred Reyes Villa to plans to overthrow the president. The voice of Reyes is heard in a conversation with political activist and opposition member Miriam Pereira and journalists Carlos and Chanet Blacut.

Audio 12: On this recording is heard the voice of former army general Remberto Siles, who refers to the existence of a grand plan against the Bolivian government.

Audio 13: Strategy and actions of the La Paz Civic Committee, in the context of the National Strike on August 21. You can hear the voice of its president, politician Jaime Antonio Alarcón Daza.

Audio 14: This recording contains the voice of former colonel Oscar Pacello Aguirre, representative of the National Military Coordinator. He mentions a secret plan against the government of President Evo Morales and the actions planned for October 10.

Audio 15: Private meeting between the opposition supporters Jaime Antonio Alarcón Daza, Iván Arias and other members of the civic committees, in which the agreement was reached to obtain rapid voting equipment for the next presidential elections, to use them to manipulate public opinion on the electoral results and declare fraud. There is a reference from the Jubilee Foundation, the European Union, the United States Embassy and the Evangelical Church.

Audio 16: The political activist Miriam Pereira links the opposition member and U.S. resident Carlos Sánchez Berzain with the plan to overthrow President Morales. She comments that Sánchez wants to incite a civil war in Bolivia and that they have a half-million dollars in financing.

(November 17, 2019. With files from teleSUR and

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What Happened in Bolivia's 2019 Vote Count?
Role of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission



On October 20, 2019, Bolivia held presidential and parliamentary elections. Nine presidential candidates competed in the presidential election. However, well before the electoral campaign began, polling indicated that the election was likely to be a two-way race between incumbent president Evo Morales of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS-IPSP), and former president Carlos Mesa of Comunidad Ciudadana (CC).

There are potentially two rounds in Bolivia's presidential elections. A candidate receiving either more than 50 percent of the vote, or at least 40 percent with a 10 percentage point lead over the runner-up in the first round, is declared the winner. If no candidate meets either of these requirements, the two candidates with the most votes must face each other in a runoff election.

On October 25, Bolivia's electoral authority, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral, or TSE, published the final official election results. Morales had obtained 2,889,359 votes, or 47.08 percent, to Mesa's 2,240,920 votes, or 36.51 percent. Morales's 648,439-vote lead gave him a 10.5 percentage point margin and therefore a first-round victory without the need for a runoff.

The MAS-IPSP also won a majority in the legislative elections. Though the MAS-IPSP lost seats in both houses, the party held on to a majority of 68 seats out of 130 in the lower house, and 21 out of 36 seats in the senate.

An Electoral Observation Mission from the Organization of American States (OAS) was sent to observe the elections.[1] According to the OAS, the mission was "composed of 92 observers, who [were to be] deployed in the 9 departments of the country to observe the process in all of its stages and throughout the country."[2]

Bolivia Has Two Vote-Counting Systems, but Only
One Is Legally Binding

The TSE has two vote-counting systems.[3] The first is a quick count known as the Transmisión de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (TREP, hereafter referred to as the quick count). This is a system that Bolivia and several other Latin American countries have implemented following OAS recommendations.[4] It was implemented for the 2019 election by a private company in conjunction with the Servicio de Registro Cívico (SERECÍ), the civil registry service, and is designed to deliver a swift -- but incomplete and not definitive -- result on the night of the elections to give the media an indication of the voting tendency and to inform the public. The TSE is unlikely to process 100 percent of the results in the quick count in nationwide votes due to logistical limitations and the amount processed can vary widely by geography and the type of ballot.[5] For example, in the 2016 nationwide constitutional referendum, it processed 81.2 percent of the results before it held a press conference at about 6:15 p.m. on election night.[6] The 2016 autonomous referendum results were released for each jurisdiction with between 66.7 and 100 percent of the results processed at 7:30 p.m. on election night.[7] In the 2017 judicial elections, an Electoral Experts Mission of the OAS praised the performance of the quick count system for releasing the results at 80 percent at around 9:30 PM.[8]

The second vote-counting system is the official count (or cómputo), which is legally binding under Bolivian law. The official count is more thorough and precise and takes longer. It is the only valid vote tallying system, and the TSE uses it to determine and announce the final election results.

Once voting has concluded, individual ballots are counted in voting stations and aggregated into actas, or tally sheets. For the nonbinding quick count, the results from the tally sheets are sent to SERECÍ verification operators via a mobile app, along with photos of the sheets themselves. The tally sheets are then physically sent to a Departmental Electoral Tribunal (TED), where the information is verified and entered into the official count.

Each polling station has six electoral jurors. They perform a mandatory citizens' role akin to jury duty in the US judicial system. In Bolivia, 207,322 citizens were randomly selected to be jurors and trained a month before the elections.[9] All six jurors in each polling station must sign off on the tally sheet. Representatives of political parties may also be present at the polling stations and request to approve the tally sheets. Any person or political organization is able to monitor the vote-counting process as an observer, which is encouraged by the TSE.[10] Images of the tally sheets are available online to anyone who wishes to confirm that the information on the physical tally sheets matches the information entered into the system. This makes it easy to check for inconsistencies, and for any errors to be quickly corrected.

In these elections, the results of the official count generally coincided with those of the quick count, which ended once 95.63 percent of tally sheets were counted, with Morales having a lead of 46.86 percent to Mesa's 36.72. The final official count, with 100 percent of votes counted, resulted in Morales winning the election in the first round with 47.08 percent, to Mesa's 36.51 percent.

Criticism of Bolivia's Electoral Process by the OAS Mission

On October 21, the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Bolivia (hereafter referred to as the OAS mission, or the mission) issued an initial postelection press release, which expressed "its deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results [from the quick count] revealed after the closing of the polls."[11] In line with the quick count process in previous elections, the TSE had ended the quick count at 83.85 percent of tally sheets verified. This tally showed MAS-IPSP receiving 45.71 percent of the presidential votes, and CC receiving 37.84 percent, a difference of 7.87 percentage points. Two days later, the OAS mission issued its preliminary report on the elections, which briefly repeated the criticism that "the changes in the TREP [quick count] trend were hard to explain and did not match the other measurements available."[12]

However, the mission provided no evidence to support these statements suggesting that the quick count could be wrong or "hard to explain." The following paper analyzes the election results and finds that:

- The results from the quick count for the first 83.85 percent of the vote count are consistent with a final projected result of Morales winning the election outright with a more than 10 percentage point victory;
- Neither the OAS mission nor any other party has demonstrated that there were widespread or systematic irregularities in the elections of October 20, 2019;
- Neither the quick count nor the official count exhibit significant changes in voting trends in the final results; rather, the same well-known trend, explainable by differences in voter preferences in different geographical areas, is evident in both counts;
- The legally binding vote count -- the official count -- did not stop for any significant period of time;
- It is unclear how the OAS mission's objections regarding the quick count would affect the
official count.

The Quick Count Process and the Official Count

There were other statements from the OAS, also without evidence, that appeared to cast doubt upon the result in addition to those from the mission's first press release and preliminary report.[13] While the TSE did suspend the verification of tally sheets in the quick count process on election night at 83.85 percent of tally sheets verified, this is consistent with what the TSE had pledged to do more than a week before the election: to publicize the result of a quick count that verified at least 80 percent of the preliminary results.[14] The TSE thus followed through with this commitment, and its decision to stop the quick count was not in itself irregular or in violation of any prior commitment.[15]

Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that it is the official count that is legally binding, not the quick count that the OAS mission took issue with. The official count was never interrupted and was regularly updated online without any significant interruption. Any potential irregularity would have had to affect the official count and not only the quick count in order to affect the final result. It is unclear by what mechanism any widespread or systematic irregularities could occur without being quickly apparent, given the existing safeguards in the Bolivian electoral process.[16] In addition to not presenting any evidence that irregularities that could have altered the vote count actually occurred, the OAS mission does not even provide a possible means by which they could have occurred.

The OAS Mission claims that after the interruption of the quick count, it urged the TSE to restart it and that on October 21, 23 hours after the interruption, the TSE agreed to resume that count.[17] At this point, the results showed Morales approaching the 10 percentage point margin of victory that would give him an outright win. The Mission then issued its first press release in which it expressed its "deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results revealed after the closing of the polls."[18]

But was this "change in the trend" in fact "hard to explain"?

Results: Consistent with Geographic Patterns in Voting

It is a general phenomenon that later-reporting areas are often politically and demographically different from earlier ones,[19] and it has been noted that this is relevant to interpreting the results from a parallel vote tabulation such as a quick count.[20] In Bolivia's elections over the last decade and a half, votes from rural and peripheral areas of the country have tended to disproportionately favor Morales and the MAS-IPSP.[21] Because of logistical, technological, and possibly other limitations, these votes end up being computed later in the counting process.[22] This is true of both the quick and the official counts, which are both affected by the same geography and infrastructure. Rural and poorer places, which have tended to heavily favor Morales, are slower to transmit data or send tally sheets to the electoral tribunals.

The Final Quick Count Results Were Not Hard to Explain

The quick count, in this case, was no exception. The gap between Morales and Mesa widened steadily as the counting process advanced. It was a predictable and unsurprising phenomenon that need not have surprised the OAS mission.

Figure 1 shows that the MAS-IPSP margin of victory increased steadily as more votes were counted, consistent with the idea that differences in geography and infrastructure resulted in later counting of areas that favored MAS-IPSP. This trend also holds for seats in the legislative assembly.[23]

Figure 1
The MAS-IPSP margin increased steadily through most of the quick count (TREP) as more tally sheets (actas) were verified

Source: Órgano Electoral Plurinacional (2019b) and authors' calculations.

The Partial Results from the Quick Count Before Suspension Predict a Result that Is Extremely Close to the Final Results

The election winner's margin of victory can be projected based on the quick count at the time of interruption at 83.85 percent. If a tally sheet is uncounted at that time, votes can be imputed for each candidate based on the number of voters eligible for that tally sheet and the votes for each candidate per eligible voter counted in the quick count at that time for the corresponding precinct. If the precinct is uncounted, corresponding votes per eligible voter for the location, the municipality, and so on to broader geographies as needed can be used.[24]

This exercise suggests that Morales's margin of victory with complete results - based entirely on the interrupted quick count - would be 10.09 percentage points, although there is reason to believe this underestimates Morales' margin.[25] It also suggests that Morales's margin was unusually large in the yet- uncounted areas; sufficient even to increase his margin past the 10 percentage point threshold as those last votes were counted. These results are consistent with the official count results (showing Morales winning with a 10.5 percentage point margin).[26]

The Results from the Official Count Follow a Trend Very Similar to that of the Quick Count, and Both Are Explained by Geography

Figure 2 analyzes the results from the official count. As with the quick count, the MAS-IPSP margin of victory steadily increased as more tally sheets were counted. This shows a similar dynamic, mainly that later-reporting areas disproportionately favored MAS-IPSP.

In both the official count and the quick count, results for MAS-IPSP legislative seats outperform the results for the presidential ticket early in the counting process. But as the MAS-IPSP margin increases, the gap between the results shrinks: for every 10 percentage point increase in the MAS-IPSP presidential ticket share, there is a 9.6 percentage point increase in the share for legislative seats. When CC-heavy areas are counted, the MAS-IPSP does slightly better in legislative races than in the presidential race, and likewise when areas more heavily favoring MAS-IPSP are counted, the CC does somewhat better in the legislative races than the presidential. This explains the "wedge" between legislative and presidential results seen in both counts. It is also consistent with the observation that later-reporting areas, when the "wedge" disappears, more heavily favor the MAS-IPSP.

Figure 2
The MAS-IPSP margin increased steadily through most of the official count (cómputo) as more tally sheets (actas) were verified

Source: Órgano Electoral Plurinacional (2019b) and authors' calculations.

In all, these analyses confirm that the overall trends in the results from both the quick count and the official count are easily explainable and consistent with the fact that later-reporting rural areas heavily favor MAS-IPSP, especially for the presidential ticket.[27] In addition, and contrary to public statements from the OAS mission, an analysis of the results of the quick count up until it was suspended on election day predict an outcome that is extremely similar to the actual final results.

Conclusion: The Politicization of the Electoral Observation Process

As shown in this paper, at the time that the reporting of the quick count results was suspended, the existing trend supported Morales winning the election outright with a more than 10 percentage point margin.

Crucially, the legally binding official vote count did not stop for any significant period of time, and the trend in results in the official count is very similar to the trend in the results of the quick count. The trends in both counts reflect well-known voting patterns that occur based on geography, and unlike claims from the OAS mission, did not change substantially over time.

The unsubstantiated doubts cast upon the vote count by the OAS mission in its first press statement and its preliminary report have been widely cited in the international and Bolivian media, repeatedly since the October 20 election.[28] It is clear that these unusual statements -- despite the OAS to this day not having presented any evidence whatsoever to support them -- have had a significant influence on media coverage and therefore on public opinion.

The Trump administration and its allies such as Senator Marco Rubio, who appears to have a strong influence on its Latin America policy agenda, have also made public statements -- both before and after the allegations contained in the OAS mission's first press release -- implying that the election was stolen.[29] The United States supplies about 60 percent of the OAS budget.[30]

On October 25, the Bolivian government proposed an international audit of the vote count. While initially stating that the only institution recognized by the Bolivian constitution to validate electoral results is the TSE, Morales nevertheless made it clear that he would abide by the findings of the international audit. He invited the OAS and a number of foreign governments to participate in the audit. The Bolivian government later went further and accepted the "binding" nature of the audit, on which the OAS had made its participation conditional.[31] Carlos Mesa has rejected the audit, stating that "[w]e don't accept the audit with these unilaterally agreed terms," demanding instead the annulment of the official results before any audit is carried out.[32]

The politicization of what is normally an independent process of electoral monitoring seems inevitable when an organization that is entrusted with this monitoring -- in this case the OAS -- makes unsubstantiated claims that call into question the validity of an election count. This is a serious breach of the public trust, and even more dangerous in the context of the sharp political polarization and postelection political violence that has taken place in Bolivia. These unsubstantiated allegations should be retracted, and measures should be taken to insure the neutrality of electoral observation by the OAS in the future.

The OAS, in continuing its technical assistance in implementing a quick count system in Bolivia, should provide guidance to the TSE on an appropriate procedure to release and disseminate preliminary results on election night. The OAS also should arrange for an independent investigation of its Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation; the Electoral Observation Mission that participated in this election; and any other part of the OAS that is found to have responsibility for this failure of the Electoral Observation Mission in Bolivia.


For footnotes and the Data Appendix, see the full report.

Guillaume Long is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). David Rosnick is an Economist at CEPR, Cavan Kharrazian is a Researcher at CEPR, and Kevin Cashman is a Senior Associate at CEPR..

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Expressions of Anti-Imperialist Solidarity

Militant Actions in Support of Bolivian People

Toronto Rally Stands with Evo Morales and the Bolivian People

More than 80 people participated in an emergency rally on November 12 at Matt Cohen Park in Toronto to express support for President Evo Morales of Bolivia and the Bolivian people, and to condemn the coup, and its instigators including Canada, the U.S, and the Organization of American States (OAS), which ousted him from power two days earlier. The action was organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Support Network with the participation of many organizations and activists.

Speaker after speaker denounced the coup and condemned the violence and terror organized by the army and police forces against the members of President Morales' family, and members and supporters of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). Speakers demanded that the Canadian government and the political parties in the parliament express the will of the Canadian people and condemn the coup and end Canada's interference in the affairs of sovereign nations.

What was also brought out by the speakers is the counterrevolutionary interference in Latin America by the U.S., Canada and others with the aim of bringing in anti-social governments, such as the one in Brazil, that enable the plunder of the resources and impoverishment of the peoples of the continent by the biggest mining and other multinationals in the world. It was noted that President Morales, Bolivia's first Indigenous leader, introduced many reforms that lifted the people, particularly the Indigenous peoples, out of poverty and built new housing, schools, hospitals and infrastructure raising the standard of living. At the same time, President Morales spoke out for peace and justice internationally.

A statement issued by the MAS on November 10 was read, condemning the coup and stating in part that "[today] we begin a long road of resistance to defend the historical achievements of the country's first Indigenous government which ended today with the forced resignation of our President Evo Morales at the hands of a civic-police coup. Let history bear witness to our commitment to defend our nationalization and industrialization program, our public companies, our social policies, and national symbols."

The rally ended with a short march to the Toronto office of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to demand that Canada stop its criminal interference in Bolivia, Venezuela and other countries in Latin American and around the world.

Militant Ottawa Demonstration in Support of Bolivian People

On November 12, people from Ottawa and Gatineau mobilized on short notice for an emergency demonstration at the office of the Prime Minister, in support of the people of Bolivia and their president Evo Morales. Despite being democratically re-elected on October 20, President Morales was forced from office by a violent foreign-instigated coup on November 10. Canada under the Trudeau government has been among those pushing for regime change, including dictating to Bolivia that the October 20 results are illegitimate and that it must hold a second round of voting.

Montreal Picket Calls for Justice for Chilean and Bolivian Peoples

On November 12, people in Montreal rallied in support of the Chilean people, who are opposing the violent repression of the Piñera government, and to oppose the coup in Bolivia and the violence and division being brought by the reactionary forces there. They also called on the Canadian government to take a stand against the violation of rights in Chile and against the coup in Bolivia.

Canadian Union of Public Employees' Statement on Bolivia,
November 13, 2019

CUPE joins the international community in raising our concern about the developing situation in Bolivia, which has led to a coup.

CUPE calls on the Government of Canada to recognize and respect the sovereignty of the Bolivian people to determine their own political future, without military or foreign interference.

We further call on the Liberals to stop taking their foreign policy cues from some of the world's most right-wing governments.

We extend our solidarity and support to the Bolivian people who will be most affected by the social or economic instability that accompanies this attack on their democratic rights.

(Photos: TML, Y. Cabana)

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Discussion on Political Developments in the Americas and the Caribbean

A successful meeting was held on Saturday, November 9 at the Friends' House in Ottawa, organized by ALBA Social Movements-Ottawa Chapter. In his opening remarks, a representative of ALBA pointed out that the situation in Latin America is evolving at such a rapid pace that certain situations are changing on a daily basis. Generally, the meeting expressed enthusiasm in light of the struggles of the people whether in Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, Haiti or Brazil, and their striving for new beginnings.

Speakers included Giuvel Orozco Ortega, Counselor-Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Cuba; Luis Acuña, Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Venezuela; and Professor Marcelo Saavedra and Gustavo Saavedra, originally from Bolivia, who informed those present of the situation in those countries. Giuvel spoke of how the Trump administration's new measures to tighten the blockade are creating a difficult situation for the Cuban people, and how they are dealing with the situation whereby 85 per cent of their trade has been affected. Luis spoke among other things, of the strange predicament in which the Canadian government finds itself with regards to diplomatic norms as it recently officially accepted the credentials of a Venezuelan ambassador to Canada named by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó. Meanwhile, it is creating hardships for the embassy in Ottawa and its staff by such activities as freezing financial transfers from Venezuela necessary for its everyday functioning. The two people who spoke about Bolivia explained the situation following Evo Morales' election win on October 20, where right-wing forces have been instigating open racist violence against the people as part of an attempted coup. (The coup against Morales actually took place the day after this meeting, on November 10.)

Throughout the discussion, it was raised that the Canadian government must render accounts for its meddling in the affairs of both Venezuela and Bolivia and many wondered why it is siding with those who spread violence and instability against the people and duly elected governments.

The participants at the meeting expressed enthusiasm for the liberation of Lula in Brazil on November 8, and could not help but notice that Brazil had joined the U.S. and Israel as the only countries voting against the UN resolution to denounce the U.S. blockade against Cuba.

Maricarmen Guevara, an organizer with ALBA, showed slides of the international conference against imperialism and neo-liberalism recently held in Havana, Cuba.

Many events were announced as part of stepping up support for the struggles of the people and the anti-imperialist struggle of which the Canadian, Mexican and U.S. working class are an integral part. Among others, it was emphasized that it is important to mobilize for the picket on November 13 at the University of Ottawa campus to denounce the presence of the false Venezuelan ambassador, for which ALBA is taking the initiative, as well as the monthly picket, November 17, in front of the U.S. Embassy in support of Cuba and its struggle against the inhuman U.S. blockade. People were also encouraged to sign a letter in support of the Bolivian people and in opposition to the violence being waged against the people and the road the Bolivian people have chosen to follow, to be delivered to the Embassy of Bolivia.

(Photos: TML)

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Cuba's 28th Victory at the UN General Assembly: Animated Exchange with the Cuban
Consul in Montreal

On Sunday, November 10, the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba (Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Roundtable) organized a meeting with Mara Bilbao Diaz, Consul General of Cuba in Montreal on the overwhelming vote in favour of the resolution opposing the U.S. blockade against Cuba. Nearly 50 people were present, including members of the Salvadoran, Chilean, and Haitian communities and activists. To loud applause, Mara announced that for the 28th consecutive year, the resolution against the U.S. criminal blockade against Cuba was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly on November 7. This year, 187 countries and nations voted in favour of the resolution condemning the blockade. The United States, Israel and Brazil voted against the resolution; Ukraine and Colombia abstained.

Despite the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act by the Trump administration in January 2019 and even though the latter exerted enormous pressure on Latin American countries, Mara said that the overwhelming majority of  votes in support of the struggle of the Cuban people exposes how the United States is increasingly isolated internationally.

She detailed the new attacks against the Cuban economy by the U.S. government through Title III, activated for the first time since its adoption in 1996. Every six months since its adoption, the U.S. administration has examined its feasibility, but the Trump administration is the first to implement it. One of the immediate consequences for Cuba is limited access to fuel. Consequently, in September Cuba was forced to slow down its activities. Moreover, the law allows any American citizen or entity that possessed Cuban land before the revolution to appear before the courts and apply for control over any company now located on the land. This manoeuvre obviously has the effect of intimidating new investors, which Cuba, like any other country, needs at this time.

She presented the list of measures imposed on Cuba: fewer visas issued as well as a reduction in consular services, the annulment of the agreement between the Cuban and U.S. baseball federations, U.S. citizens are no longer able to travel to Cuba. Direct flights to Cuban airports are prohibited, except to Havana. In addition, with the clause prohibiting the sale of all equipment that has more than 10 per cent U.S. components, the island's acquisition of new technologies, drugs and necessary materials has been rendered virtually impossible. This is reflected in all aspects of life, with implications for health care and the treatment of various diseases.

The 59 years of the blockade, she said, has cost the Cuban economy over $922 billion. From April 2018 to March 2019, the Cuban government was deprived of $ 4.34 billion. In spite of this, no school has been closed and the Cuban health system is such, noted Mara, that a Cuban who waits for more than 30 minutes at a clinic or hospital gets angry and asks to see the administration!

This spirit is owing to the resistance of the Cuban people themselves and to their leadership, said Mara. She also highlighted the crucial role of international solidarity, including organizations in Montreal, which month after month, regardless of the weather, picket the United States Consulate.

So many movements throughout the world, she said, including in our Americas, are rejecting neo-liberalism and its violence against the peoples. Cuba is testimony to the fact that a nation can be built around meeting the needs of the people. This is also the reason for Cuba's 28th victory at the UN General Assembly.

A very lively question period followed the presentation, interspersed with shouts of Viva Cuba! When asked what those 28 years of votes against the blockade represent for Cuba, as the United States continues to maintain the blockade while ignoring the resolution, and how the 187 countries can make their vote effective, the Consul first explained that the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly are not binding, as the UN structure does not work that way. However, she emphasized, the vote has a very important moral value. The United States, to its detriment, continues to ignore the decision of an overwhelming majority of the countries voting in favour of the resolution, while Cuba's example and determination continue to shift the votes of countries against the United States. 

For example, the African countries have not forgotten everything that Cuba has done selflessly and the blockade has awakened sensitivity in these countries, which have their own direct experience with Cuba. These are not just empty words. Cuba has very little, materially, but selflessly defends a policy of assistance to countries. It sends hundreds of doctors. With the emergence of Ebola in Africa, only three or four countries sent help and Cuba was one of them. The training of these doctors in the conditions of the revolution and the blockade enables them to act care for people in the most difficult circumstances.

Further, the European Union opposes the blockade and votes en bloc in support of the resolution. Some of the European countries, such as Spain, have many economic and commercial links with Cuba. Parliamentarians have moved motions to denounce the blockade as it affects the interests of Spain. Of equal importance, through the vote at the United Nations, Cuba also wants to expose the illegality and immorality of the blockade.

Other questions were raised about the work of doctors abroad, their training, and the work of diplomatic representatives in Canada. The responses illustrated the tangible imprint of 60 years of revolution on the outlook of the Cuban people, their daily battle in defence of their sovereignty and how they tackle problems so that they are settled in favour of both themselves and the peoples of the world.

The meeting followed just days after the Havana Anti-imperialist Solidarity Conference for Democracy and against Neo-liberalism held November 1-3, which the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba took part  in. A slide show of the conference's proceedings was shown, and a photo where Nicolás Maduro was seen alongside Raúl Castro, which sparked applause and shouts of Viva Cuba! Viva Venezuela! The Conference is testimony to the fact that Cuba is not alone at a dangerous time for the peoples of the Americas and the world.

At the very end of the meeting, news of the resignation of Evo Morales in Bolivia and the holding of new elections was announced, and participants listened to a live press conference with the Bolivian leadership. Participants immediately proposed an action to denounce the coup against  the Bolivian government and people, to be held with an already planned picket in support of the Chilean people on November 12. The spirit of resistance to the machinations of the United States and the highest levels of the oligarchy in the Americas was front and centre at the get-together.

(Photos: TML)

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Canada Must Stop Interfering in
the Internal Affairs of Venezuela!
Respect Diplomatic and International Norms!

Picket at the University of Ottawa against the sham ambassador of Venezuela,
November 13, 2019.

Activists, at the call of ALBA Social Movements Canada, organized a picket at the University of Ottawa on the evening of November 13 of an event announced as a "meeting of the Venezuelan community with the ambassador of Venezuela in Canada, Orlando Viera-Blanco." To promote this bogus ambassador, whose credentials are themselves from a self-proclaimed president, is farcical indeed. The problem is that the Canadian government is one of the architects of the farce. According to diplomatic norms, sovereign nations nominate their ambassadors but Canada's Governor General has recognized the credentials of a self-proclaimed phony President of Venezuela and is doing whatever possible to declare this legitimate. In terms of the norms of Canadian diplomacy, this is without precedent and shows how desperate Canada is to do yeoman's service for the U.S. imperialists.

In 2015, Barack Obama declared Venezuela a "threat to the national security of the United States" and later, former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, under the Trump administration declared that Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, constituted a "triangle of terror" and that they were the "cause of immense suffering, the impetus of enormous regional stability." The fact of the matter is that the main causes of immense suffering and instability in the region are the blockades imposed on Cuba and now Venezuela, as well as the coups d'état -- sired in part by Canada -- against Haiti, Honduras, Brazil and now Bolivia, amongst others. The constant interference of the U.S. and its cronies, such as Canada, in the affairs of sovereign countries cannot be justified under the cover of high ideals.

Speaking at the picket, organizers said: "Canada is not playing the role that Canadians expect of it. We oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries and we want our governments to respect duly elected, sovereign governments abroad. We refuse to play the game of the U.S. of imposing regime change through destabilization, blockades and threats of military intervention, whether under the banner of humanitarian aid or any other pretext. In this respect, the Canadian government must stop its shenanigans within the discredited Lima Group and return to basic diplomatic norms which involve recognizing one legitimate Venezuelan ambassador in Canada who was appointed by the duly elected government of Nicolás Maduro. This ambassador must be granted all the privileges and rights which become such an official function. Only in this way can the Canadian government have some semblance of being 'rules-based.'"

(Photos: TML)

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Rising with Haiti: Justice, Dignity, Reparations!

Rising with Haiti!

Sunday, November 17 -- 12:30-4:30 pm
Place Toussaint-Louverture, 137 De Maisonneuve Blvd East,
(between Sanguinet and Saint-Dominique)

Organized by: Solidarité Québec-Haïti


Protesters recently lobbed a Molotov cocktail and set fire to tires in front of the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. At another rally, protesters threw stones at Canada's diplomatic representation in Haiti and a protester was filmed holding a sign saying, "Fuck USA. Shit France. Fuck Canada."

Although disturbing to most Canadians, these acts reflect the anger of an impoverished people who are tired of foreign governments managing their affairs.

For more than a year, Haitians have engaged in a remarkable popular uprising against a corrupt and repressive president who is backed by foreigners. Since September, schools and businesses in Port-au-Prince have been largely closed due to demonstrations opposing the president, racism and economic inequality. Haitians also reject Canadian foreign policy.

Jovenel Moïse remains president because he has the support of Ottawa, France, Washington and other members of the so-called "Core Group." Canada is providing the unpopular president with significant financial, diplomatic and police support.

Over the last 15 years, Haitians have increasingly identified Canada as one of the foreign powers holding significant historical weight over their country. On January 31, 2003, Ottawa hosted a secret meeting -- revealed by eminent Quebec journalist Michel Vastel -- to discuss Haiti's future. No Haitian representative was invited to the summit where senior U.S., Canadian, French officials and representatives from the Organization of American States discussed the overthrow of elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, placing the country under international trusteeship, and the resurrection of the dreaded Haitian army.

Thirteen months after that meeting, the United States, France and Canada overthrew Aristide. Over the next two years, they imposed a government responsible for thousands of deaths. The coup d'état also gave rise to a United Nations military force which, by dumping its feces into the waterways, caused a cholera epidemic that claimed the lives of 10,000 people.

Rally at Justin Trudeau's campaign office in Montreal, October 12, 2019, demands
that Canada withdraw support of illegitimate regime of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti.

Following the deadly earthquake of 2010, Canadian leaders continued their inhuman and undemocratic agenda. According to internal government documents that the Canadian press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa were concerned that a power vacuum after the earthquake would lead to a "popular uprising."

A "secret" briefing note explained that, "Political fragility has increased the risks of a popular uprising and fuelled the rumour that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power."

The documents also explain the importance of strengthening the capacity of the Haitian authorities to "contain the risks of a popular uprising." To control the traumatized and suffering population of Haiti, 2,050 Canadian soldiers were deployed alongside 12,000 U.S. soldiers and 1,500 UN soldiers (8,000 were already on site).

One year after the earthquake, the United States and Canada forced presidential candidate Michel Martelly, from third to first place in an election from which Aristide's party was barred. Martelly is the mentor of Moïse, a central figure in the billion-dollar corruption scandal that recent protests tirelessly denounce.

It comes as no surprise that Haitians are angry with the Canadian government.

However, another Canadian position is also being proposed. On October 31, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously approved a motion affirming "our unreserved solidarity with the Haitian people and their desire to find a stable and secure society." It calls for "support of any peaceful and democratic resolution that emanates from stakeholders within Haiti's civil society."

A week earlier, the Concertation pour Haïti, a group of Quebec NGOs and unions, called for "Canada to make the right choice and use its influence within the international community to support" a presidential transition.

Last week, David Suzuki, Amir Khadir, Roger Waters, Maude Barlow, Yann Martel and more than 100 other writers, musicians, activists and teachers signed an open letter inviting the Canadian government to stop supporting a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.

On November 17, Solidarité Québec-Haïti is organizing a demonstration in solidarity with the popular revolt movement in Haiti.

Join us !

Marie Dimanche is the founder of Solidarité Québec-Haïti #Petrochallenge 2019. Frantz André is a member of Solidarité Québec-Haïti and also represents the Action Committee on Non-Status Persons. Yves Engler is a member of Solidarité Québec-Haïti and the author of 10 books.

(Solidarité Québec-Haïti #Petrochallenge 2019. Translated from original French by TML Weekly Photos TML.)

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Coming Events
Monthly Pickets, Sunday November 17

 All Out to End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba!
Return Guantánamo to Cuba Now!


5:00-6:00 pm

Inside Place-des-Arts Metro Station, near the turnstiles of
the exit to the bookstore Archambault.

Organized by: Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba

1:30 pm

U.S. Embassy, Mackenzie St. (Major's Hill Park side)
Organized by: Ottawa-Cuba Connections

4:00 pm

U.S. Consulate, 1075 W. Pender Street
Organized by: Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver

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No Harbour for War -- Make Canada
a Zone for Peace!

Oppose the U.S.-Based Halifax International Security Forum!
Saturday, November 23

The U.S.-based Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), known to the anti-war movement as the Halifax War Conference, returns to Halifax for the 11th year in a row from November 22 to 24. Every year, this event brings warmongers and war criminals, and their handmaidens, to plan further aggression against the peoples of the world. This is unacceptable. Join in actions to get Canada out of NATO, Make Canada a Zone for Peace and reaffirm that Halifax is "No Harbour for War"!

Rally -- 1:00 pm

Halifax Peace & Freedom Park
(formerly Cornwallis Park) Hollis & South Sts.

Meeting and Panel Discussion -- 6:30 pm
Dalhousie Student Union Building, Room 302
6136 University Ave.

Picket -- 1:00 pm

NATO Association of Canada
48 Yonge St. (near King Subway Station)
Organized by: Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist),
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
For information: 647-907-7915.

Toronto Events to Oppose NATO, Foreign Intervention
and Militarism

Monthly Picket
Canada Out of NATO!

Tuesday, December 3 -- 12:00-1:00 pm

NATO Association of Canada
48 Yonge Street (near King Subway Station)
Come for our last protest of NATO this year!
In solidarity with protests at the NATO leaders summit in the UK!

Organized by: Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Picket at Foreign Minister Freeland's Office
Stop the Coup Against Venezuela!
Stop the Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia!

Tuesday, December 3 -- 3:00-4:00 pm

344 Bloor St. W.
Organized by: Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Community Discussions on the Climate Crisis
Climate and the Military

Tuesday, December 10 -- 7:00-8:30 pm

OISE, Second Floor, Room 2296, 252 Bloor St. W.
Organized by: Extinction Rebellion Toronto, Science for Peace

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