Evo Morales Returns to Bolivia, Welcomed by Millions

November 9, 2020. Evo Morales and former vice president Álvaro García Linera greeted in the border town of Villazón as they cross into Bolivia from Argentina.

We will return and we will be millions!

- Declaration of legendary Aymara independence fighter
Tupac Kátari before he was executed by the Spanish in 1781

On the morning of Monday, November 9 a multitude of people gathered in the border town of Villazón in the south of Bolivia to greet Evo Morales and former vice president Álvaro García Linera as they crossed into Bolivia from Argentina where both have been living as refugees during most of the past year. Many people travelled 16 hours overnight, after attending the swearing-in of President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca in La Paz the day before, to join in celebrating Evo's much-awaited return to Bolivia.

November 9, 2020. President Alberto Fernández bids farewell to Evo Morales at a send-off in La Quiaca, Argentina before walking across the border into Bolivia with him.

Before crossing the border, Evo was honoured at a large send-off event in the neighbouring city of La Quiaca in Argentina's Jujuy province. There, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández bid him farewell, saying, "I am honoured to have had you among us." The two men embraced and then walked together across the international bridge to Villazón on the Bolivian side.

In Villazón, after receiving a traditional Indigenous blessing upon setting foot on Bolivian soil, Evo and Alvaro were received by a sea of jubilant supporters who packed the town square and filled the streets leading up to it for blocks and blocks. Contingents of miners could be identified by their hard hats. Members of different Indigenous nations played traditional musical instruments and danced in the streets -- all contributing to the joyous atmosphere that prevailed. The rally in Villazón served as the kick-off for a caravan of vehicles in which Evo, Álvaro and hundreds of supporters travelled through three departments, starting in the south of Bolivia and arriving in the Tropic of Cochabamba in the centre of the country two days later.

In his speech in Villazón, Evo said it was thanks to the Bolivian people who took action to rescue their democracy and their country that today MAS was in government and he was back in Bolivia. It was a message he would repeat many times to the tens of thousands who came out to the rallies held in towns and cities the caravan passed through, on its 1,100-km journey through the departments of Potosí and Oruro to the Tropic of Cochabamba, the caravan’s final stop. There, in Chimoré, the city where Evo plans to live and work in the coming period, as he did before becoming president, a million people turned out to celebrate his arrival.

Evo and Álvaro were fêted at political-cultural celebrations in large and small population centres along their route as the people affirmed the rich ancestral traditions of their regions and their rights today. Celebrations took place in the mining towns of Atocha, Uyuni and Oruro, the quinoa growing region of the Bolivian highlands and the tropical lowlands of Cochabamba. Between scheduled stops, Evo and Álvaro had to get out of the car many times as villagers who lined the highway waving their Wiphalas and other flags demanded to personally express their support and joy at the former president's return, take selfies with him and give gifts of food and agricultural products grown in their fields and gardens.

November 9, 2020. Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera are welcomed by miners in Antocha.

In a speech to a midnight rally in Uyuni, where the world's largest salt flat is located and lithium is mined, Evo made a point of saying that last year's coup was not just an act of Bolivian right-wing forces. He said they were accompanied, directed and financed by the United States for the purpose of stopping the process of change in Bolivia's economy. "They do not want us to benefit from the added value of our resources, to have the technology to process our resources," he said.

Bolivia's lithium industry was brought to a virtual standstill by the coup government when its attempts to sell it off to private foreign interests did not work out. Luis Arce has long said that a MAS government will reactivate the industry and continue with plans to process more of the strategic mineral as a national project. Evo reiterated this, adding that "nationalization is the program of the people; privatization is the program of the looters who want to keep on looting our natural resources." He said that fight was not just Bolivia's but humanity's fight over who controls the earth's resources, ending his remarks with "Long live a dignified and sovereign Bolivia!"

November 10, 2020. Campesinos line the route of Evo Morales' caravan.

November 10, 2020. Morales visits his childhood home in Orinoca, Oruro (left): Morales receives gifts of food.

Million-Strong Rally Greets Evo in Tropic of Cochabamba

November 11, 2020.  Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera at Rally in Chimoré.

By the time the caravan arrived at its final destination in Chimoré, there were people as far as the eye could see packing the runway of the city's airport -- the very place Evo and Alvaro had flown from, a year before to the day, after accepting the Mexican government's offer of asylum.

The event was organized by the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba, the coca growers' union of which Evo is still the president. In attendance was a broad section of the Bolivian people as well as ministers and elected members of the new Plurinational Legislative Assembly, other officials from all levels of government, Indigenous leaders and members of the Unity Pact of unions and social movements that worked to elect Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca, and many others who came from all over Bolivia as well as neighbouring countries -- Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and others, to be part of what promised to be, and was, a historic event.

In his remarks to the crowd Evo explained the circumstances that led to his and Álvaro's decision to leave the country -- mainly the fact that the top leadership of the police and military had been bought off and were responsible for the mutiny of those forces. He thanked the thousands of workers from the Trópico who surrounded the airport so the plane in which they flew to Mexico could take off in the tense situation that had developed. He said he never felt abandoned during the time he spent as a refugee outside Bolivia.

He attributed the reversal of the coup in just a year to the strength, unity and convictions of the Bolivian people, who he also credited with stopping right-wing forces, right up to the eve of the inauguration, from preventing Luis Arce from taking office.

In closing, he emphasized: "First, we are anti-imperialist, that's not up for debate. It's not about being 'populist,' 'progressive,' 'in solidarity.' If you're not anti-imperialist, you are not revolutionary. Get that in your head brothers and sisters!"

The rally ended with a rousing speech by Álvaro García Linera who paid tribute to Evo and what he represented to the Bolivian people, especially the Indigenous, campesinos, workers and all other humble people who, after 500 years of subjugation, lifted themselves up and would never bow their heads again. He said both he and Evo would keep fighting for their cause as long as they both lived no matter how hard the racist usurpers who burned the Wiphala try to regain the ground they have lost at the hands of the Bolivian people.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) extends its congratulations and best wishes to Evo Morales on the happy occasion of his return to Bolivia to continue his work, in a new capacity, for the process of transforming Bolivia which began 14 years ago. Special congratulations as well to the Bolivian people whose courage, convictions and steadfastness in the face of very big odds created the conditions for the return of the historic leader and founder of MAS-IPSP to Bolivia. In so doing they have delivered a sharp and fitting rebuke to the criminal coup forces, many of them now scurrying to leave Bolivia, and to their international backers -- Canada's interfering government among them.

See video clips from Evo Morales' return to Bolivia:

- Midnight rally with miners in Uyuni, Potosí 
- Indigenous campesinos hail Evo's return as caravan passes through Potosí 
- Aerial view of crowd gathered for rally in Chimoré in the Tropic of Cochabamba

(Photos: MAS-IPSP, E. Morales, Resumen Latinamericano, teleSUR, ajplus.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 44 - November 14, 2020

Article Link:
Evo Morales Returns to Bolivia, Welcomed by Millions


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