Bolivia: Governance Pact Between Áñez and the MAS

On Saturday, December 14, in a rally in Buenos Aires, Evo Morales said: “We have defeated the coup plotters, I will return soon.” But what we saw on our trip to Bolivia with Coral Pozo, is that a pact of governance with the coup leaders advances.

In truth, that gathering in Buenos Aires had a different objective than the fight against the imperialist bosses’ coup. As Evo explained: “one month after the coup, we had our first meeting with MAS leaders to plan the campaign.”

Did they defeat the coup plotters? Beyond what sectors close to the MAS, such as Kirchnerism, and Evo himself, want to make us believe, the opposite is happening in Bolivia: The MAS reached a “pacification” and governance agreement with Áñez and the coup plotters.

Elections to “Pacify” Bolivia

There is a new moment that is expressed by the negotiations taking place in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (ALP), which has resumed its labor as if nothing had happened and pushed aside the demands that sparked mobilizations for the “immediate resignation of the coup plotter Áñez”.

The agreement to solve the crisis is to celebrate new elections to decide the future government and the correlation of forces in the country. The policy to stop the mobilizations, after a coup killed 34 people and injured and detained a thousand, ir to divert everything to the electoral process.

Thus, on November 14, two days after Áñez assumed, the ALP met and voted everything: transfers of land and property titles for construction, renovation and expansion of schools, health centers and sections of roads. The members of the Electoral Tribunal were selected and, on December 12, a month after Áñeztook office, the ALP unanimously approved the 2020 Budget Act. (1)

Negotiating During Massacres

These negotiations took place while massacres and repression are taking place. The day after the ALP session, on November 15, the Sacaba massacre was perpetrated, with 9 deaths and 140 wounded by gunshots. In this context, the negotiation between the coup leaders and the MAS, as well as the COB (Bolivian Workers´ Center), the Peasant and Indigenous Confederation, took place. The negotiation began on November 18, at the “peace table” with the Episcopal Conference, the UN and the European Union.

The president, Evo, resigned along with his vice president and the MAS line of succession to go to Mexico. His government collapsed and decomposition prevails. There are divisions within the MAS and its allies in the Political Instrument for the Peoples´ Sovereignty (IPSP) and the Pact of Unity conformed by the COB and the Peasant, Indigenous and Intercultural Confederations, which were the support of Evo´s government and the MAS-IPSP.

These disputes unmask a caste that is more concerned about surviving, controlling positions of power and the country than about the fight against the coup. On November 19 the Senkata massacre caused 10 deaths. Then the march with the coffins of the fallen in Senkata was repressed. But the negotiations and ALP sessions never stopped…

“A Law to Pacify the Country”

On November 23, the electoral law was voted unanimously (2). The imperialist representatives and the curia witnessed each session… As Sergio Choque of the MAS and president of the Chamber of Deputies explained: “We are demonstrating that the MAS, with the influence it has, fulfills its commitments. We have taught a lesson on appeasing, so that there are no more conflicts, more dead, wounded or arrested. Now it is up to the senator in office of the transitional presidency to promulgate it and enforce it.”(3) Thus, Choque recognizes Áñez as president.

That night, there was a meeting at the presidential palace. It was broadcast live and Eva Copa, president of the Senate and the MAS, sat next to Áñez, the Church and the UN, and gave a greeting: “Good evening to our former colleagues, now ministers, to our colleague Jeanine, we wish you successes in the role (of transitional president).” (4) Wishing her “successes” goes beyond recognizing Áñez, it is a betrayal to the cry for Áñez´s resignation for which so many died.

In the morning, a happy Áñez promulgated the law with Eva Copa, surrounded by coup plotters. Thus the October 20 election was annulled and another one was called with all the parties, but without Morales. The vote will not take place until April 2020. For what follows, Áñez, who advances with austerity measures, raising electricity rates, devaluating the currency, controlling state companies, laying off workers, threatening to privatize and sealing business deals.

Now Things are “Quiet”

Then the MAS gave the order to lift the road blockages, though it was not easy for them. There were many outraged voices. Choque said: “Some comrades criticized us because they said we were selling out to the right, but we understood that it was important to give peace to the population, who was asking for new elections”. (5)

On November 25, the COB, the Peasant (CSUTCB), Indigenous (CNMCIOB “BS”) and Intercultural (CSCIOB) Confederations also signed with the government. Days later, the government appointed Vitaliano Mamani, COB Organization Secretary, as Deputy Minister of Labor. (6)This give and take is part of the agreements to lift the protests. That is why it is “quiet” now. The shortages, price hikes and people´s fatigue took a toll. But the people who placed their body on the line, were fatigued by this new betrayal, because there was enough strength to defeat the coup.

The MAS Meeting in Cochabamba

While we were in Bolivia, a national meeting of the MAS was held on December 7, crossed by divisions and finger pointing. It is common to see MAS leaders say that the party was divided by Evo´s departure. With a wing that had already broken with Morales and sharp confrontations between leaders, the MAS is going through the worst crisis in its 25 years.

Several thousand attended, leaders were jeered. They blame each other for how they acted in the face of the coup. They were unable to decide their presidential nomination and the most important decision taken was to make Evo campaign manager.

They also decided that there will be no more “guests” on the lists. Evo had made alliances with right-wing politicians to increase votes in Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando. That is why the demand was raised that “the bases must choose the candidates. We can no longer allow impositions from above.”

Huarachi, the COB leader who had asked Evo to resign, apologized in a “self-criticism”. He denounced government attacks, but did not propose any fighting measures. He only called for organizing the election. It was voted to demand a “trial of responsibilities” of Áñez, her ministers and the military. But that was all. The adaptation of the MAS to the new regime is total.

The right is divided. The ISL advances in Bolivia

A fracture took place in the binomial of “macho” Camacho and Marco Pumari, civic leaders of Santa Cruz and Potosí. Both want to be president and went at each other´s throats, creating a scandal. A recording was leaked in which Camacho tells Pumari that he cannot pay Pumari 250 thousand dollars and give him control of Potosí and Oruro customs, in order to name him vice president… As the right divides, the MAS tries to unify to dispute with Carlos Mesa’s party.

We started taking very positive steps with this trip to Bolivia with Coral Pozo. We passed through La Paz to Oruro. And from there we met Huanuni miners, as well as teachers and university students from Llallagua, professionals and women of struggle that coincide with the proposals of the International Socialist League.

We conducted interviews that we will be publishing: with mine worker Gabriel Vilcáez and Ronald Colque, Secretary of Conflicts of the Huanuni Mining Union. It took lives, repression and struggles to renationalize the mine in October 2006, under the administration of its workers. Today the coup leaders want to change their leadership, which would imply a conflict.

We also interviewed Mauro Álvarez, teacher and technician in the Trade Union Political Training Directorate of the XX Century University of Llallagua, a Marxist public institution directed by the Mine Workers Federation. There is a possibility of holding lectures and debates there. The ISL magazine had great acceptance, and we will send more to distribute, working towards a first meeting of those who sympathize with the ISL.

To move towards a new left that deepens the struggle until the coup government is overthrown. To prepare to resume protests and lead them to a government of the workers’ and peasants’ organizations. The only one capable of taking anti-capitalist measures in the interests of the people of Bolivia.

Francisco Torres

2. Law C.S. N ° 150/2019 – 2020
6. El Potosí, 12/11/2019