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A new coup may be being planned in Bolivia

MIRIAM AMANCAY COLQUE looks at the confontational tactics by the country's right wing frustrated at having lost the general election

FRESH fascist attacks in Bolivia endorsed by the national and international right-wing press, headed by the nefarious coup plotter Luis Fernando Camacho, intend to apply “the recipe of the empire” to overthrow the democratic government of Luis Arce, who was elected in October 2020 with more than 55 per cent of the vote.

The left-wing MAS-IPSP, made famous by former leader Evo Morales, defeated the coup plotters led by Jeanine Anez, Arturo Murillo Prijic, Fernando Lopez and the rest of the corrupt clique that in 2019 usurped power to massacre the people, loot the state coffers, embezzle strategic companies, increase the narcotraffic, reinstall rapacious neoliberalism and steal large areas of land.

But who is Luis Fernando Camacho? He is a far-right separatist who dreams of dividing Bolivia and an extremist who for many years led the paramilitary neonazis Crucenista Youth Union (UJC).

He is a rich, daddy’s boy, a creature of dictatorships, accused of tax evasion, corruption and incompetence as a governor, with connections to tax havens earning him a mention in the Panama Papers. His father, Jose Luis Camacho Parada, is a blood-soaked paramilitary who was notorious during the dictatorships of Banzer and Luis Garcia Meza.

Camacho is also the main author of the bloody 2019 coup. In an audio recording he revealed that his father “bribed the military and police” that later resulted in summary executions in the Senkata and Sacaba massacres.

His hatred towards indigenous people oozes from his very pores. On the last anniversary of Santa Cruz, Camacho refused to give the floor to then-president David Choquehuanca and denied the raising of the Wiphala flag, a national symbol recognised by our constitution.

Another xenophobic and recalcitrant racist Romulo Calvo did the same; he turned his back on elected authorities and councillor sisters who wear the “pollera” skirt when they were greeting to other local officials.

The irony is that, after more than two years, justice remains negligent by failing to prosecute Camacho, who had carte blanche to become governor.

In their supposedly “peaceful” forced blockade that started in October 22, the far-right “civic dictators” target and attack the dark-skinned people with racist, discriminatory insults: “Shitty collas, get out of here. Go back where you come from. Indians, savages, beasts ...”

They block the streets prohibiting the free transit to the humblest sectors that need to feed their families. With sticks and whips with nails in them they hit and kick women and men, causing serious injuries.

They block emergency services such as ambulances and as if they were police, they take on the task of requisitioning cell phones and other belongings while doing a quick business, charging a toll at each site, stripping the few coins that the working-class people have from them.

The “civic dictators” instruct the people twice a week to “go on foot or by bicycle from 6am to 11am to resupply food, prohibiting the use of vehicles.” What authority do these corrupt fascists have to subject the population to this?

Camacho and his far-right entourage act as owners and bosses of Santa Cruz. They have paramilitaries from the UCJ at their service  who have been known to intimidate, beat, injure, murder and rejoice at the pain and mourning of the families. That is the attitude of Camacho and his gang of thugs.

And while they subject the working people to a forced blockade and curfew, the Santa Cruz business oligarchy that finances all this has freedom to travel around and work without disruption.

However, the masses of people in the resistance have said: “If the poor people strike, the rich will learn what a true strike is.” At a great mass meeting of the people, in one of its resolutions, it was decided to encircle the city of Santa Cruz if the criminal civic blockade is not lifted.

The Santa Cruz elite yearns to return to the neoliberal and fascist republic of the past, but the Bolivian people have woken up, and as the true owners of their ancestral lands, will no longer accept those who believe themselves to be their masters.

In retribution, Camacho and his gang of thugs issued death threats against union leaders and their families.

On October 28 , the COB, the Bolivian workers trade union federation, condemned these threats, offered support to its leaders and called for a national mobilisation in defence of democracy and the process of change. The same day, in a sign of unity the MAS-IPSP, the COB and the Unity Pact met with President Arce to give him their unanimous support.

Some voices are calling for the government to nationalise the elite businesses and some exports which have been temporarily suspended to maintain internal markets.

The government has repeatedly invited Camacho and the civic groups to dialogue and they have refused to attend. They came to the last meeting only to launch their vile, offensive and discriminatory remarks against people who attended the mass meeting, then left the meeting abruptly, unable to even explain their proposal.

President Luis Arce convened a Plurinational Meeting for a Census with Consensus on Friday, October 28 in Cochabamba, with the attendance of governors, mayors, indigenous representatives, peasant leaders and rectors of public universities.

Camacho, with a clear cowardly and obstructionist attitude, said that he would not attend the meeting since “it is only a meeting of Masistas [MAS party supporters].”
 
Camacho and his gang do not understand dialogue — but they do understand bullying with their “guarimberos.” They are thirsty for blood and want to repeat the 2019 coup.

As a sign of intimidation and in typical mafiosi style, Camacho drew up a list of 30 people, labelling them “traitors to Santa Cruz.” He did the same on the eve of the 2019 coup.

This unpopular blockade called by the Santa Cruz elite has caused daily losses of $40 million, damaging economic revival and the poorest citizens. There are hundreds of oil tankers stuck in the Palmasola refinery, held there by hooded and armed paramilitaries of the UJC.

On October 28 the Ayoreo people were protesting against the blockade. Daniel Velasquez, a Camachista deputy governor, attacked them, but they defended themselves and Velasquez was defeated. Later on, blockade supporters burned and demolished the homes of Ayoreo women and in a “civic assembly” called for the expulsion of the Ayoreo people.

It’s a total injustice wanting to uproot the ancestral owners of these lands. Colonisation continues: we demand justice against so much racism and discrimination. The people of Santa Cruz have had enough of oppression and now they demand the removal of Camacho.

Camacho and his racist gang are a curse on our people. A coup plot is in sight. The right and ultra-right are reorganising with foreign support. The visit of former Anez’s minister and now mayor of La Paz, Ivan Arias, to Camacho and company, is no coincidence.

Their objective is to strike a blow, assault democracy again and open the doors to transnationals to plunder our resources, such as lithium. The US empire has its eyes firmly set on Central and South America, as the US general Laura Richardson of the Southern Command stated.

Faced with this anti-democratic onslaught, the people united, organised, will have to actively mobilise in the streets, neighbourhoods, countryside and cities to defend the people’s gains, the process of change, the democratic government of Luis Arce and Choquehuanca, and above all, our sovereignty — and firmly say to the conspirators, murderers, coup plotters, fascists and racists: we are millions and fascism shall not pass.

Miriam Amancay Colque is a longstanding Aymara activist and Bartolina Sisa Resistance spokesperson in Britain. Twitter: @BartolinaLives.

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