Former Bolivian Dictator Accuses the USA of a Lithium Coup D’etat

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Bolivian President Evo Morales meet in Caracas, Venezuela. Author Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR, source Wikimedia
Bolivian President Evo Morales in Caracas, Venezuela. Author Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR, source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric worrall

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who served an unconstitutional third term and fled the country at the start of his even more dubious fourth term as president, has accused the USA of trying to steal his nation’s vast deposits of Lithium, an essential component of our green electric vehicle future.

Morales claims US orchestrated ‘coup’ to tap Bolivia’s lithium

Morales’s remarks come weeks after protests forced him to resign, abandoning his bid for unconstitutional fourth term.

25 Dec 2019 07:28 GMT

Former Bolivia president Evo Morales has claimed he was forced from office by a US-backed coup aimed at gaining access to the South American country’s vast lithium resources.

“It was a national and international coup d’etat,” Morales told AFP in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, where he has been living in exile since claiming asylum. “Industrialised countries don’t want competition.”

Morales said Washington had not “forgiven” his country for choosing to seek lithium extraction partnerships with Russia and China rather than the US.

“That’s why I’m absolutely convinced it’s a coup against lithium,” he said.

“We as a state had begun industrialising lithium … As a small country of 10 million inhabitants, we were soon going to set the price of lithium.”

“They know we have the greatest lithium reserves in the world of 16,000 square kilometres (more than 6,100 square miles).”

Bolivia does have the largest confirmed lithium reserves in the world but they are widely thought to be of poor quality and the country lacks the infrastructure to exploit them profitably.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if there was significant foreign interference in Bolivia’s affairs. That Bolivian Lithium might be worth something someday.

But I think former President for life Evo Morales, who makes no secret of his taste for one of his nation’s other products, is rushing to judgement on who orchestrated his defeat.

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Joel O'Bryan
December 25, 2019 7:47 pm

Evo Morales is one of 3 Socialist who came to power during a rising phase of the Pink Tide in Latin America.

The other two were Chavez of Venezuela in 1998, and Lula da Silva of Brazil in 2003.
The Pink Tide’s fortunes seems to follow the US pattern as well. They resurged as Democrats became US President, and seem to decline under US Republican Presidents. The Pink Tide is now in retreat in South America as Brazil now has its own “Trump-like” president, Jair Bolsonaro. Now Morales is gone. And Venezuela’s follow-on to Chavez, Maduro is barely hanging on as Venezuela’e once-vibrant economy continues to shrivel. And Cuba is struggling right now to earn hard currency.

The US Left Leaning Think Tank’s and the Leftist writers at those outlets do not like the term “Pink Tide.” They try to dismiss it as “not a useful analytical tool”. Why they really don’t like “Pink Tide” term is because it accurately describes ideological ebbs and flows in Latin America under changing US policy.

Look no further than how Obama cozied up to the Cuban Castro Regime and opened diplomatic relations with Cuba only to have Trump shut that down as much as he could.
The picture of Obama standing with Raul Castro with a backdrop of Che Guevara — that couldn’t have been more clear depiction of how suck-ass Pink-o was Obama’s ideology to allow himself to be photgraphed in Havana with a murderous Leftist revolutionary as its backdrop.

The Cubans under the Castro Regime, with copious support from Russia and China, have actively worked to undermine any US and Western interests in Latin America for 60 years. And Obama tried to cozy up to that.

So it is no surprise now that Cuba’s economy is also now in deep decline with Venezuela’s oil economy under socialism in deep decline, and Bolivia’s Morales is now out. And Bolsonaro of Brazil is still popular with the Leftist world media now has it’s knives out for him, just like they do Trump.

The Pink Tide of Latin America does indeed ebb and rise. Right now it ebbs.

Can anyone imagine how the Socialist-Marxists of Latin America would love to have Comrade Bernie Sanders running US foreign policy? What disaster of epic proportions that would be.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 26, 2019 11:36 am

This might (does) explain why the Greens and Dems give China a loving pass on everything they do.

December 25, 2019 9:00 pm

It is is much more probable that it is China fiddling with Bolivian politics in order to gain an even stronger foothold on their lithium resource. In any case, Morales is the author of his own misfortune, turning himself into a self styled Chavez/Castro Marxist. He openly declared war on capitalism and had nationalized Bolivia’s gas fields and oil industry, and he signed into law a land reform bill that called for the seizure of unproductive lands from absentee owners and their redistribution to the poor. Just like Venezuela. He was the first fully indigenous President of Bolivia and I think the world had high hopes for him in 2006 when he was elected, but he did the country far more damage than he did good. He certainly didn’t get any help from America in his hour of need, but I doubt that the USA was behind his ouster. He did it to himself, and China is undoubtably in there like a dirty shirt bribing corrupt officials and future politicians to go their way.

Reply to  Earthling2
December 25, 2019 11:26 pm

Butch: “You get a lot more for your money in Bolivia. I checked.”
Sundance: “What could they have here that you could possibly want to buy?”

December 25, 2019 9:07 pm

This is clearly ridiculous, as Bolivia is an also-ran in Lithium reserves. According to this- Chile number 1, Australia number 2.

Reply to  Tony
December 25, 2019 11:02 pm

Yes you have to have the structure and ability to extract and export it rather than having lots of it in the ground and users will go with the flow in that regard-

Not thinking of investing all your surplus value in a battery gigafactory in your old stomping ground are you Moraless? Another true man of the left wot left in a hurry and having left will leave the other leftists to do more of the same with his Casa Grande del Pueblo legacy no doubt. One mustn’t hog all the Utopia particularly if the workers are getting a bit restless and picky with the one true light and the way.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Tony
December 25, 2019 11:24 pm

This an odd list. Bolivia is not even mentioned and that makes no sense at all. It suggests to me that they have lumped Chile and Bolivia together and that what is listed is the Altiplano region as a whole, which is where the deposits are and straddles the two countries.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 7:09 am

I doubt that Li was the real reason. This is all part of the global chess board politics. USA has a history of interference, coercion and assassination against left wing govts. in S. Am. which they seem to regards as their “backyard” than hence imply some right to interfere and produce regime change as required.

The title of this article is typical of that attitude, pretending an elected leader was a dictator. I’m not close to Bolivian politics but I think anyone approaching a 4th term needs close examination. Even the almighty Thatcher was well past her sell by date by that stage.

Morales’s remarks come weeks after protests forced him to resign,

No, loss of the support of the military forced him to resign.

… who makes no secret of his taste for one of his nation’s other products

That kind of snide remark underlines the lack of honesty in the rest of the criticism of Morales. He was not a coke sniffing junky because he supported the traditional use of coca leaves.

His display at the UN was supposed to point out the difference between chewing a leaf and snorting a line. Clearly that went over the heads of some.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Greg
December 26, 2019 10:07 am

“USA has a history of interference, coercion and assassination against left wing govts. in S. Am. which they seem to regards as their “backyard” ”

You ever look at a map.

Sadly the US has not been sufficiently proactive in ridding the hemisphere of “left wing governments” (a/k/a communist dictatorships). We continue to fool around on the other side of the planet while allowing Castro, Maduro, and Ortega to terrorize their citizens.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 26, 2019 10:28 am

Just remember the other 9-11.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 27, 2019 2:33 pm

Such hypocrisy! The land of “the free” won’t tolerate freedom of choice. Maduro, among others, was elected freely by voters, as confirmed by neutral observers. Perhaps you miss the slave-owning days?

Reply to  Greg
December 27, 2019 2:31 pm

Thanks for pointing out the biased and juvenile attitude of the author of this disgraceful article. Is Anthony Watts on board with articles like this that cheapen the WAWT brand?

December 25, 2019 10:15 pm

I’m not in much doubt that there are a few players, national and corporate, involved in the coup and in the lead-up to it. What should worry us most is the bizarre obscuring of Bolivia’s lithium reserves across so many news and informational sites. Just how centralized and controlled have all the media become? (They call it “Statista” for a reason, I guess.) A thing that should also worry us is what the coup means for our “energy future”. Despite little oversights by the likes of Statista, there’s a lot of easily scooped lithium in that Salar de Uyuni!

The Fabians who have brought us the rolling climate panic are not above other deceptions and manipulations. It’s time for some healthy despair. The plunderers and agenda-drivers who flipped the world’s car fleet a short decade ago (remember how green it was to cash in the American clunker and buy compact diesels in Europe?) are getting ready to flip again. When you invent money, you have to park it somewhere beside the stock market and real estate. How about EVs? Nobody would dare call it nasty names like sub-prime when it’s for the planet. That would be like shooting Bambi!

Yep. Time for some healthy despair and some healthy contempt. It’s not about defending China or chavism. It’s about recognizing the pervasive statism and collectivism that’s grabbed a hold on the West, boosted round the clock by slave media. Call it globalism, call it Fabianism, or call it Fred. But start seeing it and smelling it before it’s too late.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  mosomoso
December 25, 2019 10:42 pm

Awful lot of “isms” going on there.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 25, 2019 11:09 pm

With catastrophism to bind them all. Anoint with Jizya and ye shall be spared infidel.

Marc L.
Reply to  observa
December 27, 2019 10:05 am

The “jizya” was a 3% income tax applied centuries ago in some muslim countries which conferred exemption from military service.

The kind of usury taxation regime applied across the current neoliberal world order to third world countries by the likes of the IMF and World Bank are scales of magnitude higher.

“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins provides a great insight into the culture and mechanics of modern economic colonialism in Latin America and other parts of the third world,

This is not to condone bad economic policies by leftist Latin American governments, but the real story is more complicated that what was presented in this article. As well Morales is not a dictator, he was re-elected president with a popular mandate that is far wider than that of Macron, B. Johnson or Trudeau. Morales having received 47.08% of the popular vote vs. 36.51% for Mesa, in an election with a 88% participation rate.

Reply to  Marc L.
December 27, 2019 12:21 pm

Macron is an usurper. He came from nowhere, with overwhelming support, something never seen. His election is essentially an intellectuals-media-justice coup. The level of lawlessness is unprecedented. He is protected by the intellectual junta (although he may lose some of that protection if he drift to the right, at least in words, to appease the majority center-right of the country).

Edward Hanley
December 25, 2019 10:41 pm

This guy has proven himself a bad actor. That aside, I would be perfectly happy to see Bolivia develop its lithium reserves and, as he says, “set the price of lithium.” That is the essence of capitalism. As a geologist I have worked in Bolivia and love the Bolivian people. I would love to see their economy uplifted by fair development of their natural resources.

Reply to  Edward Hanley
December 26, 2019 3:27 am

well Ive seen for some years th companies announcing their investments in the lithium salt lakes..
but the govt would have been seeling the land or licences so the dude bitching sure saw the money(and prob took most of it himself anyway_)
nice try but no banana!

Reply to  Edward Hanley
December 26, 2019 3:34 am

Bolivia’s Lithium Reserve has one glaring problem. No one wants to invest in a major industry in a Nation known for nationalizing anything of value.

It’s a problem MOST Marxist countries have.

Marc L.
Reply to  Schitzree
December 27, 2019 10:14 am

Norway nationalized its oil industry, which resulted in a national fund worth over $1 trillion, or $200,000 per citizen. The Norwegian government has become the largest stock owner in Europe.

The Norwegian model is a good one for resource-rich countries like Canada, where unfortunately the government scuttles the national energy potential through self-imposed CO2 malarkey.

December 25, 2019 11:05 pm

What despicable propaganda supporting the right wing coup against a clear majority of Bolivians.

He was no dictator and easily won all elections. There were no massacres like now or like in Chile and Ecuador.

His fourth term was made possible by a decision of the Bolivian supreme court. That is exactly the way democratic systems work.

The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup

Time to question your sources after 1 million killed in post 9/11 wars and counting, and so many lies. Now the OPCW scandal appears to be even bigger than Iraq wmd, because this is now insitutionalized with not 1 MSM outlet reporting. Like watch Pompeo boast about lying, cheating and stealing.

Marc L.
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2019 4:34 pm

This is a very narrow cultural perspective, the US is very unique in terms of its constitution and continuity, there is a whole lot of cultural and institutional inertia that you don’t find in most other countries, even established democracies. France for instance has had 5 iterations of republics and at least a dozen major constitutional changes in the last two centuries, including the redefining of presidential term length and limits as recently as 19 years ago, when the term of the presidency was lowered from 7 years to 5.

Reply to  MS25
December 27, 2019 11:44 am

You are absolutely «right on target»!…

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 25, 2019 11:11 pm

Trump takes the US out of Paris because he knows it’s a crock. But he believes in a Lithium future? Come on, pull the other one. Elon Musk, that’s another matter. But he ain’t the potus.

What’s the common denominator of South-American leftwing dictators? They always end up playing the ‘the yanks have done it’ card. Look it up in ‘The guide to the perfect latin american idiot’.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 12:57 am

Yep the deposed or about to be deposed dictators always pull it and the leftist politicians, press, and Hollywood morons will always bloviate, amplify, and try to justify their claim. Happens every time! That is, as long as there is a Republican in the WH. If there were a democrat in the WH right now there would be crickets from all of them.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 1:12 am

On December 1, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a classified finding that gave CIA director William J. Casey authorization to “Support and conduct… paramilitary operations against… Nicaragua (the government).”

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  davidb
December 26, 2019 1:37 am

Didn’t help, did it? Ortega is still the president. The prowess of the CIA in deposing dictators is rather overestimated. Ask Fidel Castro.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 6:26 am

Sometimes you have to wonder which side the CIA is on. Then, you look at its recent past leadership and you realize it’s been run by idiots that combine dishonesty with their incompetence.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 27, 2019 11:42 am

Is the CIA good at ANYTHING?

Pat Frank
Reply to  davidb
December 26, 2019 7:02 am

Reagan’s actions followed requests for military aid from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama. The Ortegas were sending armed military groups into all three countries in an effort to destabilize them.

Costa Rica and Panama, especially, had no defense. The goal was eventual conquest and incorporation into a greater Nicaragua. So, they appealed to the US for help.

The Contras were a reasonable response to their request. But the Democratic-controlled Congress denied funding. Hence the Iran/Contra scandal, in which Reagan violated the Constitution to fund a program from which Congress denied funding.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 2:03 am

Correct. The US did not sanction Cuba and Venezuela, the UK did not seize Venezueala’s gold and Bolton did not back Guaido in the attempted coup and his memo pad to “send 5,000 troops to Columbia” was a fake. The Monroe doctrine does not exist. It is all a conspiracy.

Reply to  Vincent
December 26, 2019 5:09 am

Cuba and Venezuela were sanctioned because they are the two most repressive narco-states in the entire hemisphere, and that was done quite publicly with universal support.

the UK did not seize Venezuela’s gold; the Russians seized Venezuela’s gold, and they sent cargo planes to a Caracas and a unit of Special Forces there to do it. All Bolton did was get fired, and you should support Trump, then, for being the one who shot down all of his ideas.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Vincent
December 26, 2019 5:12 am

And when did those 5000 troops march into Caracas? What did I miss? Text book straw man.

Jay Willis
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 26, 2019 4:30 am

Ed, there is no contradiction between Paris being a crock and a lithium future. There will be many electric cars, they have good features that people like. As for those left wing idiots always blaming the USA… well I suggest you do a tiny little bit of research into operation condor. It’s not a secret!

Reply to  Jay Willis
December 26, 2019 6:31 am

In Colorado, EVs can work much of the time, especially if you can afford them, along with their needed ICE backup. For the money, ICE vehicles are the most affordable and dependable here.

That doesn’t stop our governor from borrowing California’s regulations and trying to force them onto the citizens of Colorado. Of course, he likes to insert things into places they shouldn’t be.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 26, 2019 7:02 am

Lithium won’t provide the order of magnitude power density increase needed to make EVs more practical than ICEVs, anyway. Refinements of the current technology won’t surmount the physical limitations. A quantum leap in technology will be required that greatly reduces the toxic wastes produced by the present process while storing 10 times the power.

Then again, there’s Nicola Tesla’s vision of wireless transmission to the vehicles, where Lithium isn’t needed.

December 26, 2019 1:28 am

Well we knew that they were after the lithium. It is their worldwide policy to steal the world’s resources,

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Phillip Walker
December 26, 2019 1:43 am

I’d reserve that one for the Chinese.

Reply to  Phillip Walker
December 26, 2019 9:28 am

It’s amazing how paranoid your average leftists is.

Barry Sheridan
December 26, 2019 1:46 am

Bolivia is pumping ground water to exploit its lithium reserves, this is having the effect of reducing the available water for agriculture. As there is not that much water in Bolivia there needs to be sensible debate to find a better way of mining the lithium. It is much more likely a western firm will help in this regard than one from China. Regrettably Chinese firms are reckless in how they exploit natural resource, especially in Africa, however they will pay bigger bribes to get the rights, I wonder if this is Mr Morales issue.

Jay Willis
Reply to  Barry Sheridan
December 26, 2019 4:40 am

Barry, yes those reckless Chinese, quite unlike our most careful and honourable activities of our poor misunderstood oil companies…

“The Anglo-Dutch giant’s operations have been the source of conflict since the 1950s, when it drilled the former British colony’s first commercial well. That ushered in an era of spills that have ravaged fishing and farming communities—exacerbating corruption and anger among tribes in the delta, a region the size of Ireland that’s home to some 30 million people.”

Source: Bloomburg

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 26, 2019 10:00 am

Really, Bloomburg is your source? If they said the sun rose in the East, I’d still double check. Lots of wild-eyed opinions being sold as facts in that rag.

December 26, 2019 4:43 am

so if IBM’s battery turns out to be the real deal are we undercutting bolivia’s resources in an attempt to keep them poor?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  billtoo
December 26, 2019 10:04 am

That’s a mighty big “if” there brother. I’ve seen lots of battery claims made over the last 5 decades, and most were either worthless or just incremental improvements. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. So let’s talk about this in a year or two and see if anything comes of this new battery tech.

Curious George
December 26, 2019 7:46 am

Of course Comrade Morales did nothing wrong. It is always bad capitalists, who want to steal nation’s resources after manipulating election results. He ran a referendum to allow him a fourth term – and lost, so he changed the constitution and developed a very modern vote counting machinery.

Pop Piasa
December 26, 2019 8:04 am

Evo Morales.
Same dude that gave the pope a figure of Jesus hanging from a hammer & sickle.
Evo Devo.
Evil Morals.

Steve Skinner
December 26, 2019 8:34 am

No mention of the child labor that perform the mining operations?

December 26, 2019 10:56 am

Who would think the US could have any hand at destabilization, right Eric?

December 26, 2019 12:27 pm

When I read comments about the «left leaning “dictators» in South America I immdediately thinkof a number of interesting examples… The truch is that any one in South America who dares to challenge the diktats of the USA leadership is immadiately labeled a dictator… But then one remembers the other 9/11 (when the democratically eleded Salvador Allende was deposed and murdered by the military led byt the «democratic» dictator Pinochet… One could also mention the exploits of Major-Ganeral Smedley Butler (of the US Marine Corps) who was honest enough to admit that he had been the instrument of corporate interests in the repression of the «Banana Republics» … Read his booklet «War is a Racket».

December 26, 2019 1:02 pm

“We as a state had begun industrialising lithium … As a small country of 10 million inhabitants, we were soon going to set the price of lithium.”

He means socialize lithium. He was trying to have the country take the lithium.

December 26, 2019 5:34 pm

I’ve lost faith – at least make the connection, on Anthony’s great blog, to climate.
This report is misrepresenting EVO – THE MAN – ONLY A GOOD MAN comes into office and reduces his wage by 57%, reduces poverty, takes control of their hydrocarbon resources – so Bolivians living in abject poverty can be given a higher standard of living etc.etc. – check him out and listen to the man himself and the excellent journalist who interviewed him. FROM THE HORSES MOUTH;
Watch: Glenn Greenwald’s Exclusive Interview With Evo Morales in Mexico City

December 27, 2019 12:13 am

“… We as a state had begun industrialising lithium … As a small country of 10 million inhabitants, we were soon going to set the price of lithium. …”

Bolivia is not even a significant producer. The biggest producer is Australia, three times bigger than the next, which is Chile. The third biggest producer is China, ~7 times smaller than Australian production. Bolivia had no chance of “setting the price” of Li – not this century.

December 27, 2019 3:42 am

“Some day” are the operative words. When the lithium pundits spruiked the crazy growth we were going to see year-on-year, Western Australian entrepreneurs jumped into top gear and opened a handful of spodumene mines to feed the potential demand. The demand did not eventuate at the expected levels and a couple of the mines are now (as of this year) on care and maintenance (Wodgina and Bald Hill).

Knocking over Bolivia’s Government for lithium might work well as a plot in a Jack Ryan novel, but hardly realistic in the real world. If they had Venezuela’s oil reserves the story might have some legs, but lithium … it’s common, so yeah… not so much. Even if they had the most economic reserves, the likely product, lithium carbonate, is simply not worth that much, and with the likely move to 811 battery chemistry, spodumene hard rock mining (which is plentiful) is just as competitive a production route.

John Kelly
December 27, 2019 10:45 am

A good topic Eric, thank you, and very relevant for this blog given Bolivia’s immense lithium “resources.” Note I use the word “resources” and not “reserves,” as there is a crucial difference. The difference is that a “resource” is an estimate of the total amount of contained metal, in this case lithium. Whereas a “reserve” takes the resource and applies technical, social, economic and other factors to it to produce an estimate of what can be extracted and processed economically. In Bolivia’s case it has had a “resource” of 21Mt of lithium estimated by an accredited international company for the Uyuni Salar. BUT the “reserve” at Uyuni is a big fat ZERO. Why? Because currently there is no economic way of extracting the Uyuni lithium. Why? Because the magnesium to lithium ratio in Uyuni is off the chart and there is no current proven economic technology to deal with the magnesium problem. This is despite claims to the contrary by YLB, the state lithium company of Bolivia. Such a claim being made to me personally last year by the 2IC of YLB. Because lithium and magnesium are diagonally opposite each other on the Periodic Table of elements, they react alike chemically. So, in the final pond of a typical salar processing plant where there is only supposed to be lithium and a few impurities, in the Uyuni case there is also bucketloads of magnesium, 21-25 times the amount of lithium. Would the USA be interested in a lithium project where the lithium can’t be extracted economically? I doubt it.

I have to laugh at some of the idiotic, pathetic leftist comments, particularly by MS25. But there were a few others.

So let’s knock the bullshit leftist arguments on the head that appear here and in a multitude of left-wing journals around the world over the past few months.

No 1. Morales did not lose government in a coup. He was toppled by a popular uprising of the people across Bolivia who wanted a democratic country. On the Sunday that he resigned, 10th November, he had been given the OAS interim report on the result of the 20th October election that essentially said Morales’ party MAS-IPSP committed widespread electoral fraud. This was later confirmed in the final report by the OAS which concluded, amongst many issues of fraud, that the tally sheets of 37% of the “mesas,” or tables where individual voters were registered to vote in each polling station, were tampered with. 37%! Bolivians knew something was up on the Sunday night of the election with numerous reports of instances of ballot boxes being stolen from the polling stations and stored in buildings belonging to MAS-IPSP supporters. On this night one of the eventual heroes of this popular uprising, Marco Antonio Pumari, the President of the Potosi Civic Committee, found dozens of ballot boxes hidden in the house of the nephew (I think) of the then-Mining Minister in the city of Potosi. So, as the OAS observed, the chain of custody of many ballots was destroyed.

On Morales’ fateful Sunday, 21 days after the election, Minister after Minister resigned, other MAS-IPSP officials like Governors and Mayors also resigned. Morales lost the confidence of two of his main political support groups; in Bolivia called “social movements.” These were the FSTMB and the COB. The FSTMB is the miners’ union, and whilst relatively small in number, it was a crucial philosophical supporter of the socialist government having itself being born in 1944 under the banner of “Trotskyism” in Bolivia, the then most popular form of communism that plagued the country. The COB is the representative body of Bolivian workers, and represents a huge body of Bolivian workers, maybe 2 million, including the FSTMB (Bolivia only has 11.5M people). The loss of support of the COB, with its crazed leftist leader, Juan Carlos Huarachi, was a mortal blow for Morales. The Country’s other major mining group, FENCOMIN, much larger than the FSTMB, had gutlessly sat on the fence, neither supporting nor condemning Morales. Starting on the day before, the main group of national police, began to withdraw support from the Government, Department by Department. And indeed, the head of Bolivia’s military did tap Morales on the shoulder and say “the military no longer supports you either.” But that’s all he said after most of the other social movements had already withdrawn their support.

No 2. 21 days of protests. Ironically, there were 21 days of massive protests against Morales from the election to the day of his resignation. Huge crowds of people gathered in the major cities to hear civic leaders calling for Morales to resign. Among them Pumari and his counterpart in the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, Luis Fernando Camacho, who together with Waldo Albarracín Sánchez, the Rector of UMSA, the largest university in La Paz, addressed anti-Morales rallies across the country. For mine, these three are the heroes of Bolivia’s people’s revolution for democracy of 2019. Sadly for the Rector, his house was burnt to the ground by MAS-IPSP supporters in retaliation for his opposition to Morales, just one act of violence amongst hundreds by Morales supporters. There were 2 rallies held in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest, where conservatively 500,000 people attended. Crowd estimates for the first rally were actually 1,000,000. The second of these rallies was on the night of 10th November. Throughout the 21 days, students from UMSA and other universities and high schools in La Paz constantly attacked the police guarding Plaza Murillo, the location of the seat of Government in La Paz and hence theoretically guarding Morales. Many thousands each night.

No 3. Now why is 21 days ironic? Bolivia has a recent social movement called “21F.” 21F stands for the 21st of February 2016 because on that day a referendum was held in Bolivia to decide whether Morales could stand for an unprecedented 4th term as President. The Bolivian Constitution, a constitution that Morales himself ushered in in 2009, set the maximum term limit as 2 terms. The Supreme Court found a BS reason to allow Morales to run for his third term and then found another BS reason to allow him to run for his fourth term, despite Morales losing the 21F referendum by 3.5%. Now why did the Supreme Court find in Morales favour despite what the constitution said? Because every member of the Supreme Court was a member of MAS-IPSP and was individually appointed by the Morales Government. Every high and middle ranking public official in Bolivia, and even the cleaning ladies in the government offices, were all members of MAS-IPSP, otherwise they didn’t get a job. Morales lost this referendum despite the probable identical fraud that took place in 2019 happening in 2016. Morales’ 2014 victory is now being called into question with allegations of probable fraud. By 2014 Morales was beginning to act as a dictator and by 2019 he was a dictator. The people of Bolivia knew that and wanted him gone before Bolivia became another Venezuela. In another turn of irony, one of Morales’ closest longtime advisers was a bloke named Filimon Escobar, who I’m told on very good authority was a lovely and very genuine man. The late-Filimon was a former leader of the FSTMB and COB. In an interview a few years before Morales became President in 2006, Filimon is reputed to have said something like “Evo has a great leftist philosophy but I fear if he ever becomes President then he will be a dictator.” Very prophetic words. And Filimon knew dictators as he fought against many in the 1970s and 1980s when Bolivia was ruled by one military dictator after another.

No 4. That the Interim President, Jeanine Añez, is illegal. President Añez took her position in accordance with Morales’ own constitution which lists a pecking order of who is in line to be President if Morales ever steps down or is incapacitated. She was 5th and last in line as the Second Vice President of the Senate. So what happened to Nos 2, 3 and 4? Well No 2 was the Vice President, and former convicted terrorist, Alvaro Garcia Linera who escaped with Morales on 11th November to flee to Mexico. Now I wonder why they choose Mexico and not the more obvious choices of Cuba or Venezuela? More on that below. Nos 3 and 4 were the President and first Vice President of the Senate, who both resigned thinking that their resignations would cause political chaos. How stupid were they? Then the MAS-IPSP senators and congressmen tried to boycott parliament thinking they needed to vote to approve Añez’s appointment as Interim President and if a quorum was not present then such a vote could not take place. Again, how stupid were they? Just shows that socialists are just plain dumb. In the aftermath of the change in power the former President of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra Arriaza, who is a cute 30yo, has come under significant scrutiny and it appears that she is actually a Chilean citizen and was hence illegally elected as a Senator in the first place. Did Morales know? Of course he probably did, but he couldn’t care less as long as she supported him. I think, only think, that Salvatierra’s father was a confident of Morales. How else would a 30yo become the No 3 politician in the country? The day after President Añez assumed her role she was confirmed by the Supreme Court as the legitimate Interim President. Remember that the members of this Supreme Court were all Morales appointees but even these people saw the writing on the wall and couldn’t avoid stating that legal precedent was in favour of Añez being the Interim President. Probably the first legitimate decision made by the Supreme Court in 14 years.

No 5. Now why did Morales and a few of his flunkies flee to Mexico for political asylum? While about 20 others are holed up in the Mexican Embassy in La Paz? And why does Morales desperately want to return to Bolivia? One word – COCAINE. In recent months I’ve read the first paragraphs of a lot of rubbish “academic” papers on Bolivia’s production of the coca leaf and how Morales was reducing coca crop acreage to prevent Bolivia from increasing its cocaine production. Clearly these so-called academic papers were written by morons or leftists, or both. They are so similar to so many so-called academic papers on climate change. Maybe another reason why Eric wrote his post here on Bolivia in the first place. Morales, Bolivia’s first so-called “indigenous” President, who couldn’t speak a single word of Aymara or Quechua, despite being born in a village in the Department of Oruro, where most people speak either Aymara or Quechua as well as Spanish, came to power as the head of the coca growers association in the region of Chapare in the Department of Cochabamba, where Quechua is very common. This is a role he kept for his entire Presidency, for obvious reasons. There are two varieties of coca leaf grown in Bolivia. The variety grown in Chapare is to make cocaine and the variety grown in the Yungas region is to chew and use in religious ceremonies. The Chapare variety produces large, tough leaves, so they aren’t chewing material. The Yungas variety are small, soft leaves; ideal for chewing. Why did Morales promote the construction of a road through the TIPNIS national park near Chapare in about 2009 despite widespread criticism? To open up the TIPNIS area for coca growing to produce more cocaine. What started the very recent widespread fires in Bolivia’s Amazon forest area known as the “Chiquitana?” Recent legislation by Morales to open up the zone for agriculture. What sort of agriculture? Coca production of course. Who started the fires? MAS-IPSP supporters from the Andes who were granted land in the area and who knew absolutely zero about fires in the Amazon. Why did Bolsonaro in Brazil cop such a hiding in the international press over the fires in the Brazilian Amazon that took place at the same time as those in Chiquitana? Because Bolsonaro is from the right. There was almost total international media silence about the fires in the Chiquitana. Why? Because Morales is a darling of the left. In a few of the ludicrous “academic” papers on coca that I skimmed though there was the same photo of a woman dressed in typical Quechua dress sitting on a blanket “drying” her crop of Chapare coca leaves “for domestic sale.” What absolute crap. The coca leaves for chewing are never dried. Once they dry out people throw them out because they break up into little pieces in your mouth and make it impossible to masticate into the ball of leaves that then fit inside one cheek in your mouth. How stupid are these so-called “academics” to fall for the leftist BS of Morales that all Bolivia’s coca production, bar a small amount, is used for “cultural” and “religious” purposes. Sound familiar climate change academics? If you’re a user of Google Earth look up “Chimore International Airport, Bolivia.” There’s an almost new 3.5km long runway there along with a couple of terminal buildings. Who built Chimore? The Morales Government of course. What is Chimore’s main purpose? To take flights from Peru containing 40% of Peru’s annual raw cocaine production and then export the Peruvian cocaine plus Bolivia’s cocaine by plane to Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela; hence its an “international” airport. And where is Chimore? In Chapare of course. And why did the Morales Government build the large Bulo Bulo urea plant in Chapare? Because urea can be used in the manufacture of cocaine. There were plenty of better locations for this plant logistically, but Chimore was chosen. And now to close the circle. Why did they flee to Mexico? Cocaine of course. Morales was El Chapo Guzman’s partner in the Sinaloa Cartel. Everything Morales did in his nearly 14 years of power and before was about cocaine, either directly or indirectly. And its why the new President of Mexico, AMLO, accepted Morales for political asylum without a moment’s hesitation.

No 6. That the USA was behind the “Coup” because it was slighted when none of its companies were given a look-in for the contracts for Uyuni and 2 other salars. Two contracts have so far been awarded to a German company and a Chinese consortium. In a move that was never explained, Morales revoked the German contract a week or 2 before the election. We all know that the USA has had a focus on rare earths and to a lesser extent a bunch of minerals it sees as “critical” for its industry, of which lithium is one. The focus on rare earths is because the USA has zero rare earth mines or production and has to rely on China, which produces ~80% of all rare earths and Australia which produces the rest. So, China has held the USA spellbound and to ransom on rare earths until the recent agreement with Australia to supply the USA. Is the USA in the same position with lithium? No is the short answer. One of the world’s biggest lithium companies is called Albemarle, which is listed on the NYSE and is a US company. Albemarle owns the Silver Peak lithium brine mine in Nevada. This is the US’s longest operating and only primary lithium mine. Albemarle also owns a lithium brine mine on the Salar de Atacama in Chile, which has been in production since 1984 and is amongst the world’s largest lithium producers. I don’t think Albemarle was amongst the ~12 companies that vied for Uyuni, but I could be wrong on this point. So, does the USA have a lithium supply shortage like rare earths. Absolutely not! So there was no reason for the USA to even consider a lithium-coup in Bolivia. In the unlikely event that the Silver Peak and Salar de Atacama mines can’t fulfil the USA’s lithium demand then the USA need only call on Australia to help with lithium supply as it is now doing with rare earth’s supply, given that Australia is the world’s No 1 supplier of lithium in the form of the hardrock mineral spodumene. So the USA-lithium coup theory is complete BS.

The people of Bolivia knew a lot of the cocaine story, but not all. They were just fed up with Morales’ abuse of power and of the constitution and of his incredible corruption. Almost on a daily basis since President Añez assumed power there is a new story on the corruption of Morales and his MAS-IPSP supporters. People knew on the Sunday night of the election that democracy had won the election and that MAS-IPSP and its supporters were cheating like hell to overturn the genuine election result. Morales wasn’t just content with his ill-gotten gains from selling cocaine to the world; he wanted total power and he wanted immense wealth. He’s a typical socialist politician – corrupt, rich and powerful. It’s not hard to think of a few more politicians that match this description. He is now living in Argentina courtesy of the new left-wing scum who was recently elected President of Argentina. And he’s living just 40kms from the Bolivian border and desperately wants to return to Bolivia; to return to the Presidency and power and money and control and to return to his beloved Chapare; not to return to Bolivia. But he has only one seemingly minor obstacle in his road – President Jeanine Añez, a woman, Bolivia’s first female President, ably assisted by her tough-as-nails Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo. But if Murillo is as tough-as-nail then Añez is even tougher. If Morales puts even a foot on Bolivian soil he will go to gaol for life, which is what he deserves.

So leftists; please feel free to pick apart my tale. I’ve probably made some errors and I know I’ve left out a lot, particularly the MAS-IPSP violence in the aftermath of the election; killings, rape, looting and sniper attacks on brave miners. But Morales is just criminal scum; not the darling of the left that so many around the world think he is.

Mike McHenry
December 27, 2019 7:13 pm

This has nothing to do with US interference in SA. America’s involvement is ancient news.This is cesspool latin America business as usual. It’s incredible corrupt and crime ridden. The governments there are totally corrupt and inept stupid. Stop blaming the USA for your stupidity. SA wake up and start working

Mike McHenry
December 27, 2019 7:42 pm

Simon Bolivar liberated much of Latin America 200 years ago why is it a poor cesspool and the USA is such a success? I think the USA is a result of English culture and Latin America Portuguese and Spanish. Portugal and Spain didn’t become democracies until the 1970’s Salazar and Franco. Hence Latin America is the result of anti democratic cultures

Johann Wundersamer
January 7, 2020 4:28 am

““They know we have the greatest lithium reserves in the world of 16,000 square kilometres (more than 6,100 square miles).”

Bolivia does have the largest confirmed lithium reserves in the world but they are widely thought to be of poor quality and the country lacks the infrastructure to exploit them profitably.”

To compete with international markets Morales not only needs “large[ ] confirmed lithium reserves [ ] worldwide.”

Just for cheap shedding his stuff he has to show up with at least a handful experienced lithium miners, lithium refiners, lithium quality control labs, on and on ad.inf. …

Johann Wundersamer
January 7, 2020 4:40 am

““They know we have the greatest lithium reserves in the world of 16,000 square kilometres (more than 6,100 square miles).”

Bolivia does have the largest confirmed lithium reserves in the world but they are widely thought to be of poor quality and the country lacks the infrastructure to exploit them profitably.”

To compete with international markets Morales not only needs “large[ ] confirmed lithium reserves [ ] worldwide.”

Just for cheap shedding his stuff he has to show up with at least a handful experienced lithium miners, lithium refiners, lithium quality control labs, on and on ad.inf. …

– experienced lithium explorers, detectors, lithium salesmen, sales managers, shippers, brokers, warehouses, arrgh –

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