Incidents » Conflicts
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Urgency of solidarity with Bolivia

Altamiro Borges

Of all the progressive experiences in the Latin America, resulting from the electoral victories of the forces of the left, the one that currently runs the bigger risk of retreat is that of Bolivia. According to countless analysts, the neighboring nation is on the verge of a civil war. The racist oligarchy, that up until today has not swallowed the historical election of the peasant and aboriginal leader, Evo Morales, is wagering their tokens on the division of the country, in a separatist movement of a fascist character.

The "referendum of autonomy" in the rich section of Santa Cruz, on the 4th of May, can be the fuse for confrontation.
In an illegal initiative, contrary to the Constitution and territorial unity, Rubén Costa, governor of the state and leader of the separatists, boasts that the referendum will be the first step to split the country. Three other sections (Pando, Tarija and Beni) intend to tread the same course. Since the tenure of Evo Morales, in January of 2006, the Bolivian bourgeoisie orchestrates this blow, and aims at to separate the eastern part, "Media Luna," more industrialized and rich in natural resources, than the western part - poor and with a predominance of the aboriginal population. To impose the division, they count on the wide open support of USA and they recruit mercenaries for a predictable armed confrontation.

The separatist ambassador

The interventionist action of President-terrorist George Bush is obvious. In a clear provocation, he nominated the frightening Philip Goldberg as ambassador to Bolivia. This agent of imperialism was famous for the action of stimulating separatism in the Balkans, called "Mission Kosovo." As Stella Calloni denounces, in the text "Against-insurgency and globalism," "Goldberg is known as a specialist in instigating ethnic and racial conflicts and for his intervention and experience in the ethnic conflicts from Bosnia up to the dismemberment of ex-Yugoslavia". His "diplomatic" past still includes the blow in Haiti that toppled Jean Aristides and the militarization of the Colombia Plan.

For him, "there are no doubts that the hands of Goldberg are behind the separatist process in Santa Cruz de la Sierra," initiated soon after the tenure of Morales that already resulted in sabotage and deaths. "When he arrived in Bolivia, the Croatian entrepreneurs of Santa Cruz (his old friends) had adapted the movement “Nação Camba” One of the main leaders of the movement, with business ties in Chile, Branco Marinkovic, is the biggest promoter of the destabilization measures, with influence in the remainder of Media Luna," and has solid bonds with the Yankee ambassador.

Military maneuvers in the region

Last year, in the 17th Iberoamerican Summit , in Chile, President Evo Morales showed the heads of State some photos of Ambassador Goldberg smiling beside the Colombian mafioso and paramilitary Jairo Vanegas. Employees of the embassy of USA in La Paz had disclosed that George Bush viewed the victory of Morales as a "threat the security of the region" due to his "radical Populism" and to bonds with Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. The former-secretary of Defense of the USA, Donald Rumsfeld arrived to declare that "Bolivia now is part of the axis of the evil.".

In another provocative action, Yankee troops carried out military exercises in neighboring Paraguay since the end of 2005, when the victory of the aboriginal leader already was certain. "Special forces of the US act on the common border in hidden maneuvers of civic action, old “counter-insurgent” tactics, alerts the author. Constructed at the time of the dictator Alfredo Stroessner, the Advanced Operative Squadrons (EOA) count on strong structure in the neighboring country, also an aerial track of 3,8 a thousand meters in the Mariscal Estigarribia base. The arrival of Fernando Lugo to the presidency of Paraguay threatens to annul these military agreements that could precipitate a military adventure in Bolivia.

Fascist and mercenary groups

Driven to despair with the gradual changes promoted by the Morales government, but enlivened with the open support of USA, the racist oligarchy armed itself for confrontation. Manfred Kings, former-military man in the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer and influential autonomist of Cochabamba, organized groups of responsible young fascists for violent confrontations that resulted in dead and wounded. Currently, they have taken refuge in Santa Cruz. In November of 2006, the news agency Erbol informed that a group of businessmen traveled to Spain to contract mercenaries. Owners of "security" companies had confirmed the profitable business. One of them said that they negotiated 650 "combatants, old members of elite units, who are already operating in the bordering zones of Bolivia".

The coup-minded ones also count on the millionaire help of USAID and the NED, agencies of USA. that finance non-governmental organizations of opposition to Morales. The intelligence service of the government recently proved the donation of millions of dollars for separatist leaders,student unions and journalists in the campaign against the Constituent Assembly. The financing guaranteed the "civil stops" and the violent blockades of roads. In 2007, the consulate of Venezuela and the residence of a Cuban doctor were targets of attacks and one official of the embassy of USA was detained with arms and ammunition. In this process, "the media are the protagonists of the counter-insurgency, stimulating the internal confrontation and external intervention," affirms Calloni.

Active internationalism and pressure

The separatists, maneuvered by the Bolivian oligarchy, who must acquire new dynamics with the May referendum in Santa Cruz, has been receiving criticism from all sides. The Organization of American States (OAS), famous for its servile past to the USA, condemned the coup d’état mentality. In an extraordinary session in Washington, on the 26th of April, the OAS supported the democratic institutions and called on them to dialogue the governing of Media Luna. Intellectuals and political, social and religious leaders - among them, Pérez Esquivel, Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano and the Brazilians Frei Betto, Moral Niemeyer Oscar and Fernando - also have disclosed a solidarity manifesto:

"The process of change in Bolivia runs the risk of being brutally interrupted. The ascension to power of an aboriginal president and his social programs and recovery of natural resources from the first moment faced oligarchical conspiracies and imperialist interference. In most recent days, the conspiring escalation reached its maximum degree. The subversive and unconstitutional actions with the oligarchical groups that intend to divide the Bolivian nation reflect the fascist and elitist mentality of these sectors... Ahead of this situation, we want to express our endorsement to President Evo Morales. At the same time, we reject the autonomy referendum of Santa Cruz for its unconstitutional character and making an attempt against the unity of a nation and of our America. "

The serious Bolivian situation, that places in danger the proper progressive wave in Latin America, demands the active solidarity of all the democratic and popular sectors of the continent and the world. It is urgent to denounce the separatist and coup-minded train of the oligarchy, supported by the USA, in the bases of workers, the parliament and the progressive media. It is necessary to pressure the OAS and the government of Lula so that they adopt a more active position on this risk of retrogression in the region.

Altamiro Borges is a journalist, member of the Central Committee of the PCdoB and author of the book recently released “Trade unionism, resistance and alternatives” (Publisher Anita Garibaldi).

Translated by Lisa KARPOVA