Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down

A leftist who had served longer than any other current head of state in Latin America, Mr. Morales lost his grip on power amid violent protests set off by a disputed election.


Comments: 245

  1. Bolivia seems more democratic than we do with respect to curbing an out of control executive.

  2. @John Graybeard What? A military coup (sanctioned by the US) is now "democratic"?

  3. @Brian The Bolivian constitution, enacted under Morales in 2009, sets term limits for the president. In 2016, there was a national referendum on whether to remove the term limits, because Morales didn't want to leave power. The majority of the Bolivian voters voted to keep the term limits. Morales ignored the constitution and the vote of the people, and had his friendly Supreme Court find that the term limits violated his human rights. That right there should tell you that Morales doesn't believe in democracy, since he refused to respect the will of the voters. In the recent election, it is clear that there was fraud on the part of Morales and the electoral commission. Morales doesn't have clean hands, and I applaud his departure. This wasn't a military coup, it was just the military telling him the situation had become untenable and he needed to go. How is that any different than the Republican Party convincing Nixon that he needed to go?

  4. @Janet "It was clear" that there was fraud based upon the OAS report. The OAS supports US interests in Latin America. Morales declared new elections *but was forced to resign* by the military and police. The opposition are now exacting vengeance and violence across the country upon his resignation, and arresting members of his party in retaliation. So please tell me what part of all that is about respecting the will of the people? It was a coup.

  5. The military should act in the United States.

  6. No thanks, I don't want a general to take over and implement martial law. Impeachment or losing the 2020 election will do just fine to remove Trump.

  7. Another successful coup, Can't wait for another right-wing nutjob a la Bolsonaro but at least Lula is free (for now).

  8. This is a coup, plain and simple, and will result in untold violence, especially against Indigenous peoples in Bolivia. Morales was democratically reelected, and the only question was whether he won by a margin wide enough to prevent a runoff. He was comanded by the military to step down, and now members of his party are resigning en masse facing violence against themselves and their families. And the NYT's credulous coverage of the OAS report played a part in paving the way for this. Disgusting, sickening, saddening.

  9. @Brian My son has lived in Bolivia for 6 years. Morales ignored a nation wide referendum in 2016 asking to change the constitution's 2 term limit. He lost that referendum, but his hand picked supreme court absurdly agreed that the constitution's term limits violated HIS human rights. So he ran again and narrowly won a 3rd 6 year term. In the election last month, there were massive "irregularities" as stated by various independent observers. The military did not force him to leave as in a coup. They and police stated they would not move against peaceful protesters. Despite widespread reports of lots of violence, in fact there has been relatively little violence considering the intensity of the situation. Few people have died (at last count, 3) The military and police decisions to not crush protestors changed the dynamics, bringing more protestors onto the streets. Then today the military asked him to resign and he has agreed to after nearly 18 years in power. This is a rare victory for people trying to ensure fair elections and reduce the trend toward corrupt dictatorships.

  10. @Brian Vote fraud by Morales and the refusal of local policemen to support him as an election-stealing dictator is not a coup. It's bravery. Three cheers to the good citizens of Bolivia, including the honest cops and military who forced a would-be dictator to resign!

  11. @Brian Morales was outspoken against US foreign policy. Bolivia's ambassador to the UN gave a (now historic) rebuttal of the the US invasion of Iraq, the failure to find WMDs in that country and resulting instability which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Secondly, Bolivia, like many of its Latin American neighbours, is well-endowed with natural resources. It has 60% of the world's lithium. With climate change taking its toll, there is greater demand for lithium-ion batteries. Already, in China, most public buses are electrically run and that country imports increasing amounts of lithium from Bolivia. Needless to say, this represents a threat to the US shale oil sector. Already, Trump has gotten India to agree to increased shale imports (despite climate change) and wants China to commit to something similar as part of a trade war resolution (whether he succeeds is another thing). This is why Trump is trying to force these countries to stop buying oil from Iran. Trump is also desperate to foment regime change in Venezuela which experienced a US-backed coup attempt as recently as 2002 (Hugo Chavez survived). Venezuela has some of the largest proven reserves of oil in the world. Thankfully, Russia has deployed strategic bombers there. The threat of a larger escalation with Russia has forced the Trump administration to dial down its rhetoric against Venezuela (it already has an economic embargo in place which denies Venezuelans medicine and food).

  12. I'm a progressive, and firmly believe no president should try to go for a third or fourth term. That only paths the way to dictatorship, no matter how much good he/she did for a country. No wonder why Maduro is calling this a coup.

  13. @MC So the solution is military intervention and massive right wing violence? If so, your progressivism stops at the border.

  14. @Brian The solution is to abide by the constitution of the country as written and not try to bypass it. Morales should've just left office and then run again four years later. That would've been the right thing to do. We on the left can't claim that the rules only apply to our opponents. We have to abide by them, too, especially when we had a hand in making them, as Morales did with that 2009 constitution.

  15. @MC Rosevelt's third term paved the way to dictatorship?

  16. Followed by extreme right wing president who will ensure the continuation of the conservative cartel that has ravaged the free world.

  17. The Presidencial election in Bolivia was not clear cut and many feared manipulations to some extent. Evo Morales showed high values in preferring to step down and intent to calm down the widespread protests not insisting in power for power. Another chapter is thus opened in Bolivia and it should be impregnated with honesty at all level. This is a lesson to be learned and considered in many other countries including of course Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile...

  18. @José Ramón Herrera ... Well, I suppose even power-consumed dictators can do a "reality check" at some point. I'm not sure about "high values." The alternative would not have been pretty for Morales. I take your point Mr. Herrera about "other countries" and the "lesson to be learned." Could it be a lesson for the likes of Bloomberg and Trump? -- both of whom think nothing of the value of term limits. Trump speaks of impeachment being "so bad for our country"... But, what about corruption and treason? How's that working for us here in the U.S.? What's happening is it's hitting a wall (i.e., The Constitution). The answer to impeachment, assuming the case be made (the evidence is already in, of course), is resignation (Morales gets it!). Nixon got it too. Resignation is preferable to prosecution and forcible removal - and then - possibly prison. Trump: Take note!

  19. @José Ramón Herrera He showed no values. He only stepped down when there was no other option.

  20. @Ross correct, he did not have democratic values since he ignored the will of the people in a referendum that he organized to amend the Constitution so he can extend his term, but lost. He then illegally used his "human rights" to continue which was an interpretation by submissive judges who were there with votes of only 3-5% against the millions, more than 51% of the people that wanted him out but he didn't respect.

  21. When the military general of a Latin American country tell you to move on, there is only on choice - Morales made the right one. Now Venezuela also need to do the same.

  22. Kudos to the people of Bolivia for wanting their leaders to support their aspirations for democracy. Removing Morales was only the first step. Now they need to continue protesting until a suitable leader is put in place.

  23. @Oskian Kouzouian In a way, you (and other commentators) are right - Morales did not respect term limits and it's good he's bowing out. However, given foreign (US) interference in Latin American elections, and the very real prospect of a return to robber-baron style capitalism , the probability of finding a "suitable” leader who will, in turn, respect term limits, is low.

  24. It's a good thing that Mr. Morales stepped down, rather than trying to hang onto power indefinitely through violence, like Maduro is doing in Venezuela. Pretty clear that being dictator for life was his intent, with his manipulations of the term limits law and this last election. It's good for Bolivia that he failed. But it's still very uncertain what happens next. Bolivia is still a relatively poor country, and climate change is still making matters worse. And the next guy to seize power in this current vacuum is very likely to try to be dictator for life too. So I hope it turns out well, but at least the spectre of civil war, or Mr. Morales killing thousands of civilians to stay in power, is gone for now.

  25. @Dan Stackhouse Dan, I don't know if you know this but the US has a very elaborate history of interfering in many a Latin American country. The country which has suffered the most interference is Venezuela (9 instances), the most recent being in 2002 when a CIA-backed coup d'etat was attempted. It involved getting members of the army to rebel against Hugo Chavez, who survived the coup. Afterwards, even the US government was forced to acknowledge its role in all of it but it is scarcely reported in the Western media. Some of the antics used by certain Latin American leaders are clearly objectionable, but let us not ignore the US tendency of impinging on the sovereignty of many a country, toppling independent-minded leaders and replacing them with elements subservient to it. I believe people like Maduro and Evo Morale arose as a consequence of particular foreign policies of the US, in part. Also, if the US cares so much about Venezuelans, why did it impose an embargo on that country, which deprives its Venezuelans access to food and medicines? Maduro may not have done the best job in handling the economy but how is the US embargo helping Venezuelans? Is the intention only to rile the masses and foment regime change (as always). It is no coincidence that Venezuela has some of the largest proven oil reserves while Bolivia has the largest reserves of lithium, a commodity whose importance is increasing with the advent of lithium-ion batteries.

  26. @Dan Stackhouse This has nothing, nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with climate change.

  27. Dear Jack, I'm well aware of the U.S.'s constant involvement in supporting or sabotaging Central and South American governments. That has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Morales changed the law to stay in power, and then manipulated the last election. And that it's good that he stepped down rather than fight to stay in power. As for Maduro, I don't think the U.S. sanctions are particularly helpful, but if there were no sanctions, he would still be a ruthless dictator. Democracy is going to be hard to establish and maintain no matter which way the U.S. goes, interference or not.

  28. The Foro de Sao Paulo plan exposed... all the communists, directed by cubans are trying to invade all south and central American countries.. now they are crying foul..

  29. I wonder which county this self-proclaimed lefist and man of the people will flee to with much of Bolivia's money? Perhaps he will join that other left wing thief Rafael Correa in Belgium and live like a king.

  30. I am much more worry what happens to Bolivia now. If Honduras is a preview, nothing good. I guess we should expect the another caravan this time made of Bolivians.

  31. Maybe, on its face, the US has something to learn from Bolivia. IDK

  32. Evo Morales has committed a huge electoral fraud, according to a report from OAS and mostly all the independent media. In almost every populist leftist and socialist government in South America, high officials end up being millionaires. The Castro brothers in Cuba are wealthier than the British Royal Family. Maduro, in Venezuela, is immensely rich and has all his money overseas. The Kirchners, in Argentina, have been criminally processed in dozens of cases related to corruption, for thousands of millions of dollars hidden in banks all over the world, and all of these accusations have been proven. One of the largest corruption systems in the world began under Lula´s and Dilma Roussef´s administration in Brasil. Rafael Correa and his vice president Jorge Glas, have been condemned for corruption in Ecuador. This is not a coup. The Bolivian Army and the Police are trying to establish back some order in Bolivia and preserve lives.

  33. This is the textbook definition of a coup.

  34. @Alejo G. Garano Roussef did not make a penny on the corruption of her underlings. She was completely absolved and free from any incriminating actions during Lava Jato.

  35. Well, we can only hope that Bolivian opposition is honest and honorable, although I am suspicious. I remember the coup in Honduras when the opposition disposed (with support of the great American Democrat Hillary Clinton) Zelaya, because he was about to become a dictator by running non-binding referendum to allow the President stay in power more than one term. Of course, when opposition came to power, it did change the rules and the next President Hernandez ran and won the second term despite being unpopular. I suspect the Bolivian opposition is somewhat similar. I'll be glad to be mistaken

  36. Do you harbor the same feelings about José Daniel Ortega? Amnesty International and the IACHR of the Organization of American States stated that Ortega has engaged in a violent oppression campaign against protesters. The problem is politicians who remain in office too long. (Also see Venezuela's President)

  37. I was worried, because Trump hadn’t attempted a coup in Latin America for almost 6 months. Thought he might be sick. Though we know Trump’s health is in good enough shape to help incite right wing coups in Latin America it’s still sad, because a coup will not bring democracy but rather deep painful exploitation. I cannot think of any successful Latin American coups in the past 100 years that helped any common people.

  38. Disgraceful coverage by the NYT... And then you wonder why we don't trust the US Intelligence services and the state department on Trump's impeachment. Nice work CIA, I am sure Bolivians won't prosper, and then you will throw a hissy fit when Americans get fed up the migration this causes.

  39. When the end of a cultish regime comes, it can happen pretty fast. Are you ready, Mr. Trump?

  40. @Cary . Yes. Trump will step down in January 2025.

  41. Hopefully it does not come down to a military ouster with Trump, a far-fetched idea a few years ago. However, with norms and institutions under assault these days, and the refusal of Republicans to abide and defend the Constitution (and not a single man), it is more likely than most people would like to think.

  42. Evo has more grace and class than Trump.

  43. I think we have a word for when the army ousts an elected leader, but I can't remember what it is. Can someone help me out?

  44. @Marianne Right....and what is the word for elections where not all the votes are counted and some are counted twice ??

  45. @Marianne When an election has clearly been stolen by a wannabe strongman and the citizens mass demonstrations are the catalyst that force him to resign, the word is "liberation".

  46. An American Election.

  47. An important fact left out of this article is that the "opposition" burnt down the houses of the governor of Oruro province and of Evo Morales's sister yesterday. It is still unreported whether people were still inside, and if anybody was burned to death. A photo in this story shows a crowd of the "protestors." Amazingly, in a country where a full 20% of the population are indigenous, and another 68% are mestizo, the great majority of the crowd are white European descendants. Before the congratulations go out for this extremely violent coup, we need to get the whole truth of what has happened in Bolivia.

  48. @Another Worker The indigenous population, as defined by DNA, is actually much higher. Many people who claim european ancestry have none as the country has been isolated with relatively little immigration as compared to neighboring Chile and Argentina.There is the indigenous, cholo (mestizo) and white classes based mostly on economic class and culture. In the family I lived with as an exchange student, the grandmother was listed as indigenous, but after moving to the city her son was mestizo and his children became white. If you ask how can this be, people get very upset. So social tensions are indeed at an extreme.

  49. @Another Worker please, don't spread lies, the governor wasn't in the house, and while condemnable, it was a reaction to people learning that he was the one who armed and paid the milicia that ambushed the student buses that were traveling to protest in La Paz, they kidnapped 14 people, the men were stripped down. And doused in Gasoline the women were stripped down, manhandled and some of them raped.... So yeah, I think he kinda had it coming.

  50. I'm glad Bolivians don't take their democracy for granted.

  51. @Will No, we take it from them.

  52. Why don't we do the same and drove this crook out? And as for Blumberg, he did the same as Morales "first bending the country’s laws to stand for a fourth election" when he was mayor--stole a third term. If we elect hm president he may try to serve for life.

  53. We should all salute Evo! So easy to lie and cheat - he has the class to capitulate.

  54. "Disgraceful coverage by the New York Times." President Morales was removed by an American supported military coup, simple as that. The problem however is that a president who worked successfully for the people most in need in Bolivia, as well as leading the country to fine growth, could not be tolerated by the wealthiest in Bolivia and by this extreme conservative American President and by powerful extreme conservative Senate Republicans.

  55. “As he was campaigning this year, Mr. Morales told the Brazilian journalist Silvia Colombo that he believed his country needed him at the helm — perhaps as much as he needed to remain in power.” It’s such a tragedy that these leaders who have come up from the lower classes, who often start with the noblest of ideals, wind up clutching power until they’re killed or overthrown. I admired Morales for years, but when he tried to remove term limits via the courts after failing to so in the election, he gave up his image as a courageous reformer and champion of the people. I guess that power, once tasted, is a dish it’s impossible for most to give up. Reminds me a bit of “America’s Mayor”, who didn’t want to leave office after 9/11 because no one else was up to the task.

  56. Or Bloomberg, who changed the rules for a third term.

  57. @Judith Nelson I think you're confusing Bloomberg with Rudy.

  58. If only our so called potus has the grace and dignity to step down from an ill gotten win.

  59. @Oliver There was nothing graceful or dignified about the way he stepped down. He only did it when he lost the support of the police and army.

  60. This is a Right-Wing Coup supported by the CIA.

  61. And this is 1958. I like Ike

  62. 1 leftist down. About a dozen more Marxist tyrants to go.

  63. @Cjmesq0 Name the 12+ Marxist tyrants please.

  64. Putin Xi Trump... Amd the beat goes in.

  65. The people of Bolivia went to the streets and expressed their feelings. The President has bent to their will, as he was wont to do throughout his mandate. I think he has always been for the poor and oppressed. He felt he could do more for them than anyone else. He erred in trying to hold on to power; human err. But he is a good man and I hope he will be allowed to play a part in Bolivia's future. The fact that he was swept away so easily shows he didn't command a paramilitary force, as Chavez did. Nor did he cultivate a gang of bureaucrats beholden to him or have the police or military under his thumb. If he does have millions stashed in foreign banks then I was deceived by him. Should the new power base allow it, I think he will stay with his people in Bolivia. The nation certainly needs all its genuine patriots now.

  66. @Chasethebear ...lots of corruption under Evo made Bolivia the most corrupt country of the region with the exception of Venezuela.

  67. @Mag Thank you, I just read the Wikipedia article on corruption in Bolivia. I had read only the headline news out of Bolivia and that has seemed pretty favorable to Morales. But the situation there seems really bad. One wonders why Bolivians continued to vote Evo back into office. It appears he has made some efforts to combat corruption. But perhaps no single person (unless he somehow has tremendous political capital) can do much, when corruption becomes an accepted part of life. That is the case with Brazil, where I live. Change requires a shift in the minds of the mass of people but, with things as they are, how can that ever start?

  68. Leftist dictatorships, as opposed to right wing dictatorships, usually end up with a coup d'état...…….

  69. Morales ran for an illegal and unconstitutional fourth term. And when the vote didn't go his way, his handpicked electoral commission seems to have rigged the election in his favor. It was time for him to go. The people of Bolivia deserve better.

  70. @Isaac Sloan All correct points, yet, they may get much worse. That's the saddest part of all this.

  71. @Isaac Sloan what do you mean by “deserve better”? When Morales was in office the country saw precipitous decreases in inequality, rises in productivity and GDP, upgrades in infrastructure, and overall wider participation in civic society by indigenous folks - a group that had been politically marginalized for decades. Will the new government continue these improvements, or will they just revert power to the white, capitalist class? (I’m sure we all know the answer to that)

  72. @Vin Things might have improved but Morales decided his needs overrode the constitution.

  73. During Morales' three terms in office, Bolivia has seen many improvements in infrastructure, education, social safety nets, and standard of living. He has also worked to lift the indigenous population out of positions of servitude so that they too can enjoy the gifts the country has to offer. However, he had no right to run for a fourth term. He manipulated the supreme court to modify the constitution, even after he promised to respect the vote of the people (who voted "no"). He showed his true colors - a power mad, lying, narco who refused to step aside at the end of his time in office - much like his friends Chavez, Castro, and Maduro. I suspect his resignation speech will do nothing to calm the situation in Bolivia. Instead, it will likely inflame tempers and solve nothing. He had a chance to bow out honorably and resolve the very crisis he created. He chose instead to continue the lie. Goodbye Hermano Evo.

  74. Did you also back a military coup against Mike Bloomberg when he changed the rules on teem-limits as mayor?

  75. @Subir Grewal Your comment has no bearing on this situation. Nice try.

  76. @Ross This is the problem between ‘democracies’ with term limits and ‘authoritarian’ without. Term limits can bring a long transformational process to an abrupt halt, whereas without them a benevolent leader can become a malevolent dictator. As you say, Morales righted an awful lot of wrongs and lifted people out of abject poverty. What his successor will do is anybody’s guess. Btw, Angela Merkel has been on the job for more, than 8 years, by popular will. So was FDR.

  77. "President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who came to power more than a decade ago as part of a leftist wave sweeping Latin America, resigned on Sunday after unrelenting protests by an infuriated population..."I know Trump has brought out the latent SDS-protester in all of us but the New York Times is not misreporting and the CIA has not forced a president in a backwater developing country to *resign* (not overthrown). The comments here about a US backed military coup are ridiculous

  78. @TJ: A backwater? Bolivia has something like $2000000000 in lithium deposits. Get real. This is transparently a coup. And the transparently fascist "opposition" has been violently attacking Morales supporters and indigenous people alike. Your smug declaration that there's no foul play here is despicable.

  79. If only the "extremely stable genius" self-anointed "Chosen One", possessed about 10% the intelligence og Mr. Moreles , he would also resign. Incompetence can only get you so far. In your immediate case it has carried you far beyond your wildest fantasies, time to quit while you're still not set for criminal prosecution.

  80. @njn_Eagle_Scout You have no idea what you're talking about. First of all, it's spelled Morales, and second of all, he only resigned when all was lost - including the support of the police and army.

  81. Pay attention, Trump.

  82. You know full well he's incapable of that. No attention span at all.

  83. As proud Americans, we should be glad the Bolivian nation could go back to enjoying the benefits of presidential-term-limit, that we probably invented, President Morales adopted, but, when it was time for him to leave, abolished.

  84. jee, didn't Bloomberg do exactly the same, and look at all these democrats cheering for him as potential the President candidate

  85. So odd that all this unrest and the ensuing coup happened just after Morales signaled that he planned to nationalize the country’s lithium industry. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

  86. @Vin Yes it is. This has been building for awhile.

  87. How will the the Trump trolls frame this? A "leftist" screaming "coup". But congrats, citizens of Bolivia. May this become the norm in Hong Kong, Iraq, Indonesia, and anywhere citizens are rising up for democracy and right to choose their nation's paths.

  88. What is about protests in Chile?

  89. You can't be truly "leftist" if you're authoritarian. Power to the people. Everywhere!

  90. @Murray Bolesta you can't be truly "leftist" and support CIA backed coups in South America.

  91. Evo called for a new election as agreed with the OAS. He was then deposed by the army, plus police and civilian commandos. His collaborators are being hunted down, not allowed to reach foreign embassies. Oil, gas, lithium up for grabs. Indigenous bolivians back in their place. Welcome to the 21st century. Congrats to the NYT for successfully confusing the badly informed US public.

  92. I never understood why people don't get that socialists and Marxists are only interested in their own power and status, using populist policies and rhetoric as a tool to gain power, when those policies always lead to disaster for the very people who vote for them.

  93. maybe, because their policies benefit to masses, while free market benefits to few individual

  94. You mean like the Republican Party and their supporters in America? They may not be socialists, but they pretty much do everything you just described!

  95. If legitimate elections are held with enough time for new candidates to introduce themselves to the electorate, then this is a good news. If this goes the way of Egypt or other examples perhaps Zimbabwe - military pretending they are on the side of the populous and then simply collide with the rich and powerful to suppress democracy, then this will turn out to be a sad day. But Morales was a fool toy try to hold on to power, no one should do that.

  96. Morales's decision to step down is sensible and necessary for the long-term healing of the country. As I watched the news unfold, I felt more and more concerned each day that Bolivia was about to plunge into a Syria-style civil war. Syria has devolved into a prolonged state of catastrophe. Against the wishes of the people, Bashar al-Assad has been unrelenting in his efforts to maintain power, his a cavalier attitude toward war crimes and the human displacement and death toll. Morales's resignation is civilized and humane by comparison, and will enable the country to get on with the business of progress.

  97. @Nita He only resigned because he lost the support of the police and army. The will of the people meant nothing to him.

  98. Can we get the OAS to monitor our 2020 elections?

  99. Is it a prelude to our 2020?

  100. That's right…god forbid a "leftist" or worse, a "socialist" has power in ANY country in South America. Can't have that, now, can we…so far we've been successful in overthrowing, assassinating, and keeping those pesky "commie-types" from office - the exception, of course, was Castro, who far outlived most of the nut cases running US foreign policy. But Morales will be vindicated: the violent protests and trouble in the streets, as well as sanctions and the IMF withdrawing financial aid, will be proved to be the underhanded techniques that we have been exercising on South America for many decades.

  101. @Gerald Wadsworth I don’t live near Latin America and largely support self determination, as you do. But hard socialism is synonymous with, and inseparable from, poorly functioning bread lines, which lead to mass deaths in the breadlines. Once people experience it both ways, they know. Imagination is not required to see this.

  102. Apparently, Bolivia proves you wrong. After all, improvement after Morales is undeniable. And the capitalists had hundreds of years of opportunity to improve the Latin America, and somehow they never manage to do so.

  103. @yulia Bolivia, and Bolivians, are hugely capitalist.

  104. Sounds familiar.

  105. This is the telling paragraph: "His first term also coincided with a commodities boom that allowed him and other leftist leaders in Latin America to lift millions out of poverty through subsidies and political patronage. One of the poorest nations in the world, Bolivia used proceeds from natural gas exports to turbocharge its economy." Why do the elites want him out? Can it be because he wants to deprive them of commodities profits - and give some of those very same profits to the poorer citizens? Naaaah… It's gotta be about socialism…and the evils inherent therein.

  106. Another military coup. Morales was, needless to say, no liberal. The recent elections were fishy. None of this justifies a military coup, and Western liberals supporting this should be ashamed. (Western illiberals and Trumpists are completely shameless so asking them to ashamed is pointless.)

  107. @jaco No he is not. Bolivia is incredibly capitalist.

  108. It must have gone through a few minds in the US that a president could unlawfully extend his term or refuse to step down when pressured to do so. That the current president will respect results of an election or limits on his term remains an uncertainty for many.

  109. @blgreenie One of the many benefits to owning property in Bolivia and traveling there frequently is that I don't have to hear silly blather about US politics like the above comment. It has a wonderful clarifying and cleansing effect.

  110. Just another country controlled by Right wing people with guns.

  111. @Jeff It's nearly impossible to get a gun there, unless you're part of the (left wing) government.

  112. Good riddance. The ex-coca grower amateur politician who is contributing to the devastation of the Amazon. His ‘slash-and-burn’ policies aiding big agri-business, while at the same time stabbing his indigenous supporters in the back contributed to his demise. He's lucky he wasn't ridden out on a rail.

  113. The situations in Latin America continue to deteriorate. I think it's right for Morales to step down due to how he has been trying to change the Constitution to stay in power, but it doesn't sound like things will be stable with his departure. Let alone what we've seen in Venezuela, or Brazil recently in South America. There are issues in Ecuador as well, and sadly there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. I hope things improve in Bolivia since the continent doesn't need another unstable nation.

  114. Here's the next one, but on the right. Put November 21 on your calendar. Colombia will have what is close to a general strike. President Ivan Duque's approval rating is in the toilet. So much of Colombia is first world and they deservie a first world preident. Adios, Ivan.

  115. It is telling that in none of the many pictures of the protests in Bolivia do I see the Wiphala, the flag of the Andean indigenous peoples which was adopted as a co-equal flag to the traditional Bolivia National flag in the 2009 Constitution of Bolivia in the years after Evo, and Aymara indigenous leader, was first elected president. Yet those protesting only carry the traditional Bolivian flag favored by non-indigenous Bolivians. Why are the Andean indigenous people of Bolivia, which comprise over half of the population, apparently not participating in the street protests and violence? Will a new regime return to the repression, violence, and economic exclusion of indigenous peoples endemic to Bolivia's previous recent elected regimes? Evo Morales overplayed his hand politically. Like Chavez in Venezuela, he failed to groom and launch capable new leaders in his movement for change, relying primarily on himself to be the movement's messenger. But there is no question that, by dramatically renegotiating international hydrocarbon extraction contracts, Evo Morales, to the acclaim of the IMF, successfully redirected the lion's share of national wealth to significantly reduce poverty - especially among Bolivia's previously excluded indigenous majorities - instead of to a small but powerful national and international elites, who I suspect are likely the main players behind the violent mobilization to push Morales off Bolivia's national stage.

  116. I lived in Bolivia as an exchange student during the times of the military dictatorships and constant instability. The indigenous people were incredibly impoverished, beaten down and treated like dirt even though they formed the majority of the population. The social interactions I saw between the europeanized city dwellers and the servile indigenous people were comparable to the treatment of lower cast people in India or Black Americans before the civil rights movement. The concept of an indigenous president was unthinkable. Evo Morales rose from this oppressed class of people to bring stability like Bolivia had never seen before and lifted up the indigenous population. I can understand why the indigenous people still support him even though he was becoming a dictator. Likewise, given how terrible all the previous presidents of Bolivia were, why Evo wanted to hold on to power. Thank God he resigned. I just hope he will now try to save his reforms by supporting the change in leadership and not try to further inflame social tensions.

  117. It's now time for US citizens to get rid of their wannabe, criminal dictator and his craven flock of republican protectors. If Bolivians can do it, why not the people of the USA?

  118. Wow a dictator overthrown

  119. @Riley Hamilton Not a dictator.

  120. This article is pathetic and shameful in its framing. This was a CIA back right wing coup that will benefit oil and gas interests that wish to pillage Bolivia's natural gas reserves. This is a severe blow to democracy in the Americas.

  121. Maybe not the CIA. Maybe yes to oil and gas, but more likely lithium. Less than a week ago, Morales broke off a long-pending agreement with a German company to develop Bolivia's lithium reserves, valued at over $1.8 trillion. Let's see over the next weeks or months who ends up with that contract.

  122. The world is already overflowing with too much oil. You're basing an argument of of data from the 1970s.

  123. @Leslie It is much more complicated than this simplistic tale you tell. Maybe when Boris and Natasha were fighting Rocky and Bullwinkle in the 1960s, but today the intricacies of Bolivian social tensions are very local, very deeply intertwined with ethnicity, class, identity, and geography. Evo never nationalized the oil industry, he just got a much better deal for his country. Big Oil was quite content with the arrangement.

  124. widespread violence, military siding against a president, who then suddenly resigns? if only there was a word for that scenario, would be especially great if it was a short word to fit in a headline

  125. I was there when he won and was very impressed with what he did with the country. He preached hard core socialism but governend very pragmatically, effectively being a pretty moderate social democrat. He was inclusive. He never preached hate. The Aymara and Quechua people were vindicated. I really think he was a good man. Unfortunately, he could not do a Mandela and leave on a high note. The election was a sham and Bolivians are no fools. Term limits are good things, both for civil society and the people that run it. I wish Bolivia well. It is a beautiful country with wonderful people.

  126. Yes, I always think it’s tragic when these guys who should walk away as heroes start believing their own press are turn into the people they despised.

  127. I am not so sure. The US didn't have term limits and it was hardly a tragedy. Term limits makes leaders ruthless. Why should they worry about people of country of they can not be re-elected anyway?

  128. The policies of the left always lead to the impoverishment of a nation. And the arrogance of the left, their conviction that only they can take care of a countries poor deplorables, is what leads them to drive that impoverished nation to truly desperate conditions ala Venezuela. Morales saw the writing on the wall and wants to save his skin—there are plenty of Latin American countries that will protect him from his just desserts.

  129. This argument is an over generalization and relies on a western conception of prosperity. If you examine most left-oriented nations, then you will see exponential gains in life expectancy, literacy, and industrialization; furthermore, the failure of leftist nations in the third-world is deeply intertwined with western intervention.

  130. Very much is the true , after all capitalists did everything possible to pave the way for Hugo's victory and popularity. Why is that? Is it because the capitalists do not care about people?

  131. Morales is a thug, and he ruled as a criminal boss. Of course he benefited many, always at the expense of many more. The extra-legal butchery of his opponents, such as Eduardo Rozsa and his associates remains un-investigated and covered up. In fact, he was praised for that sordid act by Leftists. Good riddance: Bolivia deserves better.

  132. Will see how better will this "better"

  133. it never fails to amaze me how blithe and thick americans are. ask bechtel how it all went down. or look it up yourselves.

  134. @borg We do, however, know when it is appropriate to use capital letters.

  135. @Ross yes, ross. but you know little more than that.

  136. @borg i meant to say little else. but since you are in tucson, perhaps you know far more. perhaps you were even involved in bechtel's slippery negotiations? why bother.

  137. I love how predictable this stuff is. 1. Nothing to see here. 2. Election stops. 3. Nothing to see here. 4. Protestors are rebels. 5. Okay okay, a new election. And I, the person who cooked the last one, will run. 6. I resign but I did nothing wrong. 7. Rinse and repeat.

  138. Our CIA: Toppled Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Overthrew Goulart in Brazil in 1964. Ousted Allende in Chile in 1973. Used the Contras to wage war in Nicaragua from 1979-1990. Has been destabilizing Venezuela since 2002. And now has come for Evo Morales in Bolivia. As per the usual.

  139. @Quentin Evo did this to himself.

  140. @Quentin Don't forget the butcher's bill that accompanied said meddling.

  141. I wished Maduro would come to his senses and leave much like Morales.

  142. @BWCA Morales did not come to his senses. He realized all was lost when the police mutinied and he lost the support of the army. The will of the people never meant anything.

  143. To be fair, he still have much more support than opposition.

  144. @yulia Not true.

  145. Morales stepping down was the right thing to do for the country and for democracy. Now if we could convince (or force) Donald Trump to do the same, the world would be a much better place.

  146. This is a coup and the Times's coverage is as despicable as it is predictable. Unlike two of the past three presidents of the United States, Evo Morales won the popular vote in October by a wide margin. What was in dispute was whether he won it by a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff. This is a question that could have been resolved by an audit if the US-backed right-wing opposition hadn't instead opted to attack offices of the Elections Commission and burn the ballots in their possession. As for term-limits, its hardly unheard of for such laws in other countries, even when affirmed by referendum, to be overturned in the courts. In fact, the US Supreme Court made a nearly identical determination to the Bolivian Constitutional Court's with respect to state laws intended to impose term limits on their Representatives to Congress in the 1995 case of U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton. Whatever your thoughts on Morales, he had a far more legitimate mandate than the police and military officials who have just overthrown him. The scenes of right wing gangs physically attacking and ransacking the homes of leading figures in Morales's party strongly suggest the real danger of a blood bath. The role of the Times in fomenting these events has not been minor. They should remind us that our "newspaper of record" is really a mouthpiece for the superrich who have grown fat exploiting poor countries like Bolivia by keeping their governments compliant.

  147. I hope you have the same analysis when Trump reelects himself for a 3rd period full of voting irregularities

  148. I am sorry but however that changes the Constitution for his own advantage deserves a "coup" or more.. He changed it to stay in power so US, China, whoever you think made him stepped down, well I thank it for that.

  149. @Christopher There is no doubt that Bolivia improved a lot with Evo, but he should have stepped down in 2016. Yes, the audit didn't find evidence of fraud or manipulation, but Evo kept trying to bend the rules to stay in power, a dangerous slippery slope got a democracy. That said, Carlos Mesa does not have a legitimate claim to power without another election.

  150. Evo Morales did some good, but like many good men gone bad or stupid he didn't know when to leave with his reputation in tact. Glad he has stepped down. He should have done it sooner. His ego, fears and pettiness made him stay on longer than he should have. Why can't Latin men learn how to transition from power peacefully. Why is violence and machismo all they know and exhibit most of the time? I despise machismo.

  151. Maybe, because they have bad experience with the right - wing politicians grabbed the power and never let it go.

  152. @yulia You are right. The machismo on the Right is far worse.

  153. Evo Morales did some good, but like many good men gone bad or stupid he didn't know when to leave with his reputation in tact. Glad he has stepped down. He should have done it sooner. His ego, fears and pettiness made him stay on longer than he should have. Why can't Latin men learn how to transition from power peacefully. I despise machismo. It kills.

  154. Let's see who will come, maybe then we can understand better why he was not so eager to step down

  155. @ExhaustedFightingForJusticeEveryDay I agree with you (especially about the Latin men part)! But the future may be worse, as yulia indicates.

  156. It's interesting and provocative to read this correspondent's dispatches from South America as he's inclined to classify every single progressive leader in the region as a "leftist." And of course, so do most of the accompanying comments to these articles. It's obvious to us too, that sixty years later William Lederer's predictions in "A Nation of Sheep," are not only still true but widely prevalent today as well. When we'll this country ever learn "to live and let live" as regards other independent nations of the world? Get real you say, when geopolitics and realpolitik are the guiding light of powerful countries such as the U.S. Perhaps. But look again: the winds of change are blowing with new impetus throughout Latin America and the other regions of the world.

  157. Evo made the right choice in stepping down and avoiding violence. He drastically improved the country (visited last year), but his time was up for the sake of democracy. Let's hope that the good he did isn't undone. Let's hope that Quechua and Aymara people's in Bolivia are respected and aren't stripped of their rights and treated as 2nd class citizens (as they were for centuries before he was elected).

  158. @Be honest and kind Truth in every word! Couldn't have said it better.

  159. Nothing lasts forever. Shades of Michael Bloomberg’s thinking that yet another illegal term in office is their right.

  160. He is a good man. A champion of the indigenous people of Bolivia. I fear that a rightist coup will take over.

  161. A great leader who overstayed his welcome. Thank you Evo and good bye.

  162. Bolivia won today...with Evo's (reluctant) resignation from a job, the presidency, he felt was his in perpetuity. He, along with 'Alvarito' (his Vice), made it clear that the Sun might not shine the next day if they were ousted, hence, indispensable and irreplaceable. Trouble is, Evo was living a life of luxury while poverty remained the main violence in Bolivia; and he knew that. He also knew and seemed to support, the cocaine narcotrafficking...by looking the other way. And the economy seemed acceptable (though with a clear loss in it's, till now, main 'capital' for export, gas and oil, plus some minerals), in spite of his incompetence and corruption. Bolivia needs urgently a way to get out of it's dependency, by a better public education, and updated infrastructure, and diversifying it's economy, something not feasible or likely under the MAS misrule. The current crisis is not over, by any means; but, at least there is a renewed hope that patriotism shall win, restore democracy, and offer real freedom from want, and allow justice daylight again. If this comes to pass, peace in Bolivian society may be alive again...and justly celebrated; the will of the people in action. Last though not least, it must be said: Evo broke the segregation of the Bolivian Elite towards the indigenous folks by removing their invisibility from politics and a more dignified public life, integrating them more than any previous president. But he became self-serving, a no no for his folks.

  163. I’m glad he left...and your post is why I wonder if I should be.

  164. We will see how much Bolivia wins. I don't think Brazil won by having Bolsonaro in power.

  165. Looks like a classic CIA operation! But America never undermines another country's internal operations. O then there's Chile! Monroe doctrine gone wild!

  166. @Buck Tex Nosferatu Really? Is there even such a thing as ‘a classic CIA operation?’

  167. @EGD Yes, don't you watch Netflix?

  168. Perhaps President Morales will inspire trump to do likewise and resign!

  169. @Kathryn Ryder Not everything is about Trump, or even the USA.

  170. Finally. There has been periodic bits of outrage - like when he rewrote the constitution (2009) to extend his power - and then stacked the Supreme Court full of his supporters - to rubber stamp it. Several people died back then when protestors tried to seize government buildings in an act of desperation. I also thought he would be forced out in 2016, when his ex-girflriend was arrested on corruption charges (and BTW, she wasn't acting alone). Hopefully now, Bolivia will not descend into the chaos that is Venezuela with it's "democratically" elected president- and they can re-establish their constitution to pre 2009.

  171. Hopefully, Bolivia will do better than Honduras that was 'saved' from the dictator.

  172. Mayor Bloomberg got a third term in New York CIty by changing the law as well. What is it with people who want to rule forever?

  173. I suspect what we have here is an ugly situation on both sides being portrayed in an extremely one- sided way by the Western press. Including the NYT. Do people really believe that “ the population ” all oppose Morales? This is the language of propaganda. Obviously the country is split and the military is stepping in. I never heard of a situation where the military was “ dragged in”. How exactly do civilians force the military to intervene? None of this is meant to imply that Morales is innocent. But it is obvious when a story is written to portray one side as pure good and the other as pure evil. This happens far too often in the media. And as it happens, you can find opposing views online. Though I wonder how much longer that will be allowed to continue. After all, both Trump and his “ Resistance” opponents are united on this one.

  174. ... and now, ex-president Evo Morales of Bolivia leaves the president's chair after 15 years long in power. This is the result of having a communist in power: when they looe an election, the far left says it is a coup-de-etat... and find a way to remain in power. Evo Morales is decades long friends with Hugo Chaves, Fidel Castro and Lula. Bernie Sanders and New York mayor DeBlasio support Lula of Brazil, Lula who was just released from criminal federal jail where he was doing time for corruption, money laundering, other stuff.Sanders and DeBlasio should explain to the people of the United States, may in national network TVs, that they support the likes of Hugo Chaves, Lula and Fidel Castro. Thanks to DeBlasio's influence, Lula received last year some prize " Man of the Year." The inmate Lula doing hard criminal time in federal jail in Curitiba, yes, Lula is DeBlasio's New York some sort of 'Man of the Year." Please, google.

  175. @A Voz do Brasil Evo is not nor was he ever a communist.

  176. Didn't Bloomberg run the third term as a mayor even although the term limits allowed only two term? Was he a communist?

  177. Meanwhile the Brazilian effort behind the coup... leaders from the evangelical right and supporters of Bolsonaro’s insane government, with Steve Bannon backed ideology already spreading their web of fake news... leave NYC out of this!

  178. This is a right wing coup by Bolivia's oligarchy backed by the United States. Don't let western media fool you, this coup has been in the making since Evo won fairly and squarely his first election over a decade ago. Shame on the United States. Dismantle the CIA. And stop this madness.

  179. @Orestes You have no idea what you're talking about. Evo did this to himself.

  180. @Orestes Yes, when Evo was first elected, many people were excited and hopeful - however, since then- Bolivians have died protesting him - like when he rewrote the Bolivian constitution which gave him unprecedented and unparalleled power (2009). He learned from Chaves and went about destroying democracy the way all dictators do when they gain power through elections - you rewrite the laws, and make sure only your supporters are in any and all branches of government. I believe a commentator from Bolivia who wrote that in his bid for power, Morales has compromised and destroyed all branches of government.

  181. That is what we were told about Zelaya of Honduras. Although the opposition that came after all seems like had no problem with bending rules to their likening. Should we remember Bloomberg, who also was not very kin to play by the rules? I guess it is only bad for socialists, when billionaires bent the rules is just fine.

  182. I pray that this military coup will be put down by the Bolivian people. It’s increasingly obvious that, for a socialist society to succeed against counterrevolutionary provocateurs, the right-wing military establishment must be totally subjugated and then replaced entirely. Morales’ main mistake was continuing to let the military serve as a hotbed of fascism and foreign influence. I wish he would’ve stuck out longer, but I don’t blame him for avoiding being tortured to death at the hands of the military or the CIA.

  183. @Benjamin Sevart right, because socialist dictators do all they can to help the situation. You know, ruling with an iron fist and trying to run the country with absolute power. They are no supporters of freedom.

  184. @Tim The iron fist of elections.

  185. @Benjamin Sevart Exactly - Venezuela and Cuba are two great examples of success against counter-revolutionary provocateurs. You can't get toilet paper or aspirin but that's a small price to pay for living in a socialist paradise.... Sanders paradise.

  186. We saw Evo Morales rise to prominence when we lived in Cochabamba and he was organizing the coca growers in the lowlands to the east. In that same year, 1997, an Aymaran woman was running to head up the education department and Jaimie Paz was running for president. Indigenous people were beginning to assume some powers. Some years later, we were pleased to see Morales win the Presidency. In the early years of his administration the invective and anger of the mostly white wealthy landowners in the east around Santa Cruz threatened to bring down the government. Gains made by indigenous groups and lower income people have been substantial under Morales, as have overall gains in economic well-being, as a recent article in national news source outlined--that from a man who had aligned himself with leftist South American leaders, but did not follow their examples. It is testament to Mr. Morales that he has stepped aside, and that he has helped foster a fierce sense of democracy and has had opposition even from indigenous people who have benefitted by his policies. I am puzzled at all the hatred and anger in some of these comments; Morales has been a much better leader than many have given him credit for. And it is a jaw dropping anomaly that a poor indigenous man became President of a Latin American country, and left it in better shape than when he assumed the presidency.

  187. @Jack He was a great leader. He was also at the very least an enabler of major narcotics producers (which brought hard currency into the country). See the Chapare airport. Unfortunately, he refused to step down when his time was up, and instead illegally modified the constitution to allow him to try to remain in power indefinitely. He then during elections stopped vote counting when it became obvious he would not win the necessary 40% with a 10% lead over #2. These two defining acts overshadow all the good he did.

  188. @Noel I would have to agree. But if he indeed steps down, indeed folds his cards, his misdeeds pale in comparison to so many others. Now, I am not following it all that closely, and it may be the fact that the military and the police do not back him that he is not taking that step towards an absolute dictatorship. Yet, if the military and police do not back him then perhaps that means that he never cultivated them for that purpose, and is not that another consideration in his favor?

  189. @Jack no

  190. I was with my neighbors when the resignation announcement came. People (including me) came to tears of joy. Celebrations erupted throughout my city. 2 million of us. It is impossible to carry out a constitutional transition because Morales packed all three branches of government during his prolonged term. He left no viable political exit, because all three branches lost legitimacy along with him. I don't know what will happen tomorrow, the only sure thing is we have a long road to reconstruct the rule of law and the institutions of my country. So help Us God.

  191. @Alejandro Pelaez God has nothing to do with it. The school of thought from which Morales comes tried to free the shackles of the Indigenous, who were enslaved by godmen. You are celebrating the beginning of the end of hard-won freedom for millions.

  192. There has been social reform, for certain, but that came in Morales' first two terms. What followed was widespread corruption, abuse of power, human rights violations, power grab of the institutions, unchecked spending, and a general deterioration of the rule of law. Believe me, I lived it. Morales did not need to hold on to power illegaly to secure his legacy. He commanded a very powerful political party which could have well been a healthy opposition. It's called democracy and alternancy of power. Instead, he gave a bad name to his Movimiento Al Socialismo, which is now associated with all the misdeeds described above, and crumbling as a house of cards. Evo Morales was not a statesman, he was a populist who sowed division between east and west, city and country, indegenous and white. His greatest achievement was an unintended one, he managed to unite us all behind one goal: to oust him.

  193. @Alejandro Pelaez I cried like I hadn't cried since .... Well Friday actually, when the police decided to stand with the people and mutinied to protect us against tyranny

  194. I lived in Sucre in 2010. I think its wrong for Evo to go for an unconstitutional fourth term. But as a white guy sympathetic to Indigenous people, I was struck by the racial enmity from local whites to Señor Morales. My Spanish teacher was Indigenous and she explained to me the animus between Indigenous people who wear jeans and Indigenous Indigenous people; those who wear traditional clothes and have an Indigenous lifestyle who are different to westernised Indigenous people. There had been physical conflicts between the two groups; the worst bigots against the Indigenous Indigenous she said were some westernised Indigenous people. The contempt some of the whites had for Morales was in my non-expert opinion was palpably racially based. Just an observation from an Australian with a lot (30 years) of experience living and working with Australian Indigenous people.

  195. @Bob Guthrie You have none of that sort of racism in Australia?

  196. @Bob Guthrie Never mind him going for a fourth term, he wasn't winning the election. Apparently the indigenous indigenous don't constitute a majority. It's a shame that indigenous people are divided that way. Did Morales try to heal the rift? Or did he try to exploit it?

  197. Coup d'état

  198. It's the Night of the Long Knives in Bolivia right now. Morales will flee if able.

  199. Left and right are meaningless terms in the midst and from the context and in the perspective of human avarice and hubris. When told that he was an indispensable man, Charles De Gaulle noted that ' Cemeteries are full of indispensable men'. China's 1st Emperor Xin Shi Huangdi spent his entire reign having his agents searching worldwide for the secret of immortality. They came up with quicksilver aka mecury. He took a mercury 'pill' a day and died at 50 years old. Ending not only him bur his dynasty.

  200. Absolutely horrifying. A democratically elected leader forced to step down in the face of unspeakably brutal right wing terrorist violence. My heart goes out to the Bolivian people, who no doubt will see many dark days ahead as a result of this coup.

  201. God I wish Trump would do the same. I wish Bush Jr would have done the same.

  202. In Bolivia, Evo’s stepping down is the right thing to do for democracy since his election was fixed. But because Bush and Trump were elected legally, what you are suggesting is the non-democratic ideology of the world.

  203. @Kurt Not everything in this world is about Trump.

  204. @Kurt Not everything is about Trump.

  205. Without understanding what he had been doing, Morales was inching towards Chavez-style autocracy. But Bolivians did not want another Venezuela, good for them. The NYT is right, however, in that he did a ton of good for the country. In the first two terms, he was the right man in the right place. But he was no politician - what he practiced was identity politics 101... as a tribal leader he might have been successful 200 years ago, but he was clueless about consensus building with those whose interests did not coincide with his. When I was in Santa Cruz & Tarija I saw first hand the loathing locals had for him. He made it easy for them. A skillful politician, and one who loved his country rather than his tribe would try to find a common language, and perhaps take a step back or two. Not Evo.

  206. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries, not only in Latin America, but in the world, saw a light of hope in this leader. One of Morales' sincere policies was aimed toward lifting those chronically marginalized and whose rights were never of any interest from any past governments. And this is true for the large indigenous Bolivian people that make up two thirds of the total population of the country. Evo Morales brought the poverty index from 63% to 35%, and during his governance the GDP rose to 4% the largest index growth n Latin America, according to Word Bank figures. His 170% Health budget was a monumental accomplishment. We define "democracy" in Latin America as the system that entitles one class, mostly the elite and its followers, to maintain submission over those less privileged and with less means to fight for their own rights. The future of indigenous Bolivians is now dim, since they have not only lost their main protector, but now they will be disenfranchised once again for having supported a government that was headed by one of their own.

  207. @Hugo Yes, it's a shame he couldn't just be president forever. Oh, wait, that's what he tried to do.

  208. @Hugo How's about we define democracy as fair and unrigged elections? He was clearly trying to rig this one and he had previously ignored the results of a referendum in which the voters refused to approve his decision to stand for another term. Why don't you tell us all about the great social and economic accomplishments of Lenin and Stalin? Since indigenous people are a clear majority in Bolivia why didn't Morales win.? Try actually thinking for a change, why don't you?

  209. "Since indigenous people are a clear majority in Bolivia why didn't Morales win.?" He did win. That's why people like you had to overturn the election results by pretending it was rigged.

  210. George Washington was on the right track when he refused to serve more than two terms. Evo Morales would have been a hero if he had done the same.

  211. It's a shame, so many leaders like Morales come to power with great intentions and the opportunity to create real change, but they become power hungry and eventually become the thing that they were originally fighting against.

  212. How is it possible, in the biggest and most influential news media, to not even mention the CEPR report? It completely demolishes the OAS' concerns about the election. It also asserts there were in fact no irregularities with the voting results. How do you not mention that OAS has yet to give any evidence for its "concerns" about the voting results, even though they've dominated the media narrative? And sparked the demonstrations?

  213. Many of my Bolivian friends weeped when they heard the news. But not out of joy. Mr. Morales was a force for good in Bolivia and brought beautiful change to those who had nothing, thanks to the neoliberalism imposed for so many decades by external forces. Mr. Morales spun it around. It was amazing to watch all these years. He had a constitutional right to alter the judiciary, the way President Trump is now in the USA. Funny that now, people say it is "packing" and "rigging" the other democratic branches of government. Mr. Morales had the duty and right. And Bolivia was doing tremendously well as a result. The right-wing wave sweeping over South America has eyed Mr. Morales with suspicion. And here we are today. My Bolivian friends say that while the OAS was correct in finding that the vote was undermined by Mr. Morales's allies, the truth is, he would've won a fourth term in the run-off (although at a smaller margin than previous elections). A shame he didn't believe it. Those in the UK who now say referendums bring nothing but chaos can perhaps feel for Mr. Morales when he went to the Supreme Court for permission to run again, contrary to the referendum results. It was not some Xi Jinping-inspired takeover. Please mind that Mr. Morales and his Movement for Socialism was a movement for good. I know, just a biased socialist coming in to support Mr. Morales. But seriously, do not discount this perspective. I hope the Movement can field a winning candidate next round.

  214. I find it curious, that this article makes no mention of the CIA; although looking through the comments, readers in Bolivia do mention the CIA. But even more curious, is that the word Trump does not appear in the article - is it possible, that US involvement can't be mentioned becasue that would be seen as something good occurring during the Trump administration? Or did Trump fire the entire CIA? One way or the other, there seems to be an information gap.

  215. If the CIA does anything positive it’s despite of Trump not because of him.

  216. @Trento Cloz Yes, I agree - stealing is his only job skill. The lying isn't a skill, it's just a life style. My real interest, was whether he keep out of the CIA's way or not. I suspect he did, because doing otherwise, would have gotten his big money corporate contributors angry at him. You can't steal the campaign contribution you did not collect. Overall, while I have always despised Trump (even before he got into politics), I've make a big effort not to hate him - the hatred makes you irrational and less effective.

  217. It's telling, and terrifying, to see so many comments from American leftists defending Mr. Morales and crying "CIA!" now that he had been forced out of power. No doubt they are unsympathetic when Donald Trump and the populist right undermines our institutions or blames their failures of governance on the "deep state" and American intelligence agencies. Imagine if Trump was impeached, lost the 2020 election, or was ineligible to run in 2024 but did so anyway. Imagine he refused to move out of the White House, - what would we do? We could only hope that our security services and military who take an oath to the Constitution would follow it, and boot him out. In the end, Mr. Morales was a lawbreaker. He ignore term limits (twice), even after an election failed to have them removed. Outside observers and the company Mr. Morales himself asked to certify the results of the election have declared it was overrun with rampant fraud. I voted for the Democratic party of Obama and Clinton, because it was a left leaning party that was also liberal. Liberals - real liberals - care about democratic institutions. Is that still true? The horseshoe seems to bend further and further every day, with neither right wing populists nor leftist willing to concede that democratic institutions and liberal ideas might be more important than getting the policy they want in the moment.

  218. The true anti-democracy forces have taken control of Bolivia today. This is a coup that has been going on for days, as elected mayors and others were dragged out of their homes, tortured and their houses burned and the police did nothing to prevent this. So those violent forces felt free to intimidate and do as they pleased, even burning President Morales' sister home, threatening congressmen's families etc. Just today, after Morales announced he was resigning, his house ransacked and burned and police did nothing. Several members of Congress had to seek refuge in the Mexican embassy etc. Today, Venezuela's embassy was attacked the diplomats had to flee. The police and military chiefs were obviously bribed. The opposition not interested in new elections or following the constitution. Just today, an opposition party member named herself the new president. No, the opposition did not win. Morales got more votes than his nearest rival and it was a three candidate race. Morales always kept an independent foreign policy, denouncing the US for breaking International Law in Syria, Venezuela, Libya etc. This could not be tolerated and he needed to be deposed, one way or another. Bolivia had to become a vassal country again. Then the OAS entered the picture and the coup took off.

  219. Third world countries are always in a crisis. It is because of their corrupt character. Nothing and no one can change that.

  220. That maybe be a result of powerful enemies always influencing those “third world “ countries foreign policy into submission and exploitation? The kindness of the CIA and right wingers from this “first world” country, which is now controlled by Putin, another angel, is behind the ultra right movements all over South America. Don’t fool yourself. The white elites dominate the game of politics and corporate power everywhere.

  221. Remarkable how many people cling to power and ultimately have to be forced out, destroying whatever legacy they might have had, instead of serving two terms and retiring with dignity.

  222. Morales had quite a few commendable achievements: the poorest of Bolivia felt he represented their interests, which he did, and he was pretty balanced in his policies. But power went to his head, and he was willing to use electoral fraud to prolong his presidency, and violence to supress dissent. This was totally unacceptable and the people of Bolivia were justifiably furious and opposed his reelectoral shenanigans. Inotherwords, one more Latin American dictator. What should be of concern to the US is that its neighbor, Mexico, has offered 'asylum' to this would-be dictator, in line with its moral support of the illegitimate Venezuelan government. One more worrying signal coming from a country where large swaths of its territory are no longer under government control, and whose president has also expressed disdain for the institutions of democracy and the electoral process. Gradually but surely the turmoil and disorder of Latin America get closer to the US border.

  223. Why is it that so many leaders who start well cannot seem to come to terms with the moment their time is up? Even Putin was what Russia needed after the Yeltsin years of graft. Power is obviously very seductive. At least Morales went early.

  224. I fear that when Trump is elected out of office next November, he will declare the election illegitimate and claim victory. If that happens, he must be arrested and removed forcibly from office.

  225. Funny, Bloomberg manipulated NYC to change its Constitution and give him 3rd term. Now he is running for Pres. I wonder if that is his Achilles.

  226. I wonder how many silly left-wingers will be denouncing this popular uprising against a would-be dictator. "The Constitutional Court, which is packed with his loyalists, held that term limits constricted human rights, giving Mr. Morales the right to run for office indefinitely." Term limits are designed to prevent a leader from entrenching himself in power. This court decision is ludicrous. I hope the Bolivian people can re-establish a constitutional democracy.

  227. Have you heard of Lawfare ? The new arm of the United States of America to combat democratically elected governments?

  228. @RBR Go on, please.

  229. Latin America is being systematically destabilised. I think the NYT needs to examine the influence of the US state actors in Venezuela and Bolivia. No mention of it in this otherwise sound article.

  230. Trump could possibly get away with murder while a dedicated indigenous leader is ousted because he cares more about his countrymen than obeying big oil and gas frackers.

  231. Veo never heard the words: " U got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them.". He run a good government for the first two terms and then got greedy. Ignoring a referendum against reelections and attempting to rig the latest one became his undoing. He should have done what Putin did: place a stooge between terms, and in between snare in kompromat his asset Donald Trump.

  232. Evo Morales was emblematic of what happens when well-meaning socialists are voted into power. They quickly realize that actual public opinion is far less aligned with their ideals than they thought. They quickly understand that the reason they won an election was not because the public was voting for socialism, but instead because it had voted against the previous regime. And then comes the realization that to prevent themselves from suffering the same fate, they must neutralize the voting power of the electorate. They convince themselves that the only way to protect the power of the people is to take that power from them. It's a good lesson for America.

  233. Nice story. Now tell me what percent of the vote Mesa, his closest rival got (hint, it was around 30 percent). So who, exactly, didn't have the "voting power"?

  234. According to the Economist, which is no left wing publication, the Bolivian economy grew an average of 5% a year during the years in which Evo Morales was in power. This was was much better than most Latin American countries, which lately has had an average growth of less than 1% per year. During his administration the percentage of people earning less than $2 a day dropped from over 60% to only 6%. There were also gains in education and women now make up a majority of the legislature. Unlike many counntries Evo Morales was fiscally responsible: the deficit in the most recent year was only 8% of the GDP. Did he recently impose austerity measures to court foreign investment? Part of his success was driven by his nationalization of the natiural gas industry in 2006, but clearly he made some powerful foreign enemies when he did this. Despite this legacy of remarkable economic and social achievement, this former labor leader appears to have suffered from an inability to delegate authority. Surely, he could have found someone with similar views to take his place when faced with constitutional term limits. On balance, he is stepping down from power leaving the country in much better shape than when he started. Further proof of this is the insistence of many former supporters that the constitution be respected. But it is uncertain that Bolivia will do as well in the future.

  235. Mr. Morales came into power as a result of a coup against democraticaly elected President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who was running his second term. Morales has been ousted when he was trying to force a fourth unconstitutional presidencial term. When he came into power, fourteen years ago, he used organized violent rioters under the command of Venezuelan and Cuban strategists, to provoke the fall of Lozada’s government. Now he complains because the people improvised all kind of pacific demonstrations against him and the electoral fraud. The violence seen during the last demonstrations started when the government sent his own trained violent rioters to fight protesters, destroy, wound and even kill. Four people on the opposition side were recently killed by Evo Morale’s forces. Left wing people all over the world were pleased with Morales just because he had indigenous features — isn’t this a form of racism, too?— and believed that he represented the poor population. How wrong they were. He manipulated those concepts in order to win International support and spread even more racism and hate among Bolivians. This is not a coup d’etat. This is a country tired of a corrupt and immoral dictator who destroyed all forms of democracy, freedom of speech and dignity. May God be with us in the reconstruction of our country.

  236. @Myrtha Fernandez Pray very hard. How long will it take until the right wingers exploit the natural resources. Hint..their sponsoring countries are most likely scheming as I write this.

  237. This is a coup, no doubt tied to our CIA, a return to our disastrous and bloody pattern of interference in South America. Morales has already agreed to another election but the armed forces turned on him. The misled can dance in the streets today but they will come to regret it as social advances and people begin to disappear.

  238. There is a verifiable recording about a plot cooked at the USA Embassy at La Paz. Unfortunately having China and Russia doing business with Bolivia, it didn’t go well with United States of America. Another unfortunate fact is that some Bolivians believe they are white and fought against President Evo Morales that is indigenous Bolivian. What a pity, to continue destroying democracies in Latin America.

  239. What happened in Bolivia is a preview of America in 2020: a coalition of wealthy right-wingers using unsubstantiated claims of voting irregularities to overturn the results of an election. This article does a poor job of describing the events surrounding the vote count. With 83 percent of the votes counted in a preliminary "quick count", Morales was up by almost 8 points, but he needed to be up 10 to avoid a runoff. At that point the quick count was stopped so that an official count could be made. People insisted that the quick count should continue. At 95 percent of the vote counted, Morales was up by more than 10. What happened? Well, Morales' support was strongest among the rural poor whose votes were the last to come in. At that point, the right-wing opposition declared that there must have been voting irregularities because of a 2 point jump and took to the streets, disrupting the election without ever providing, or having, any proof that there was a problem. Now the people of Bolivia will never know the outcome of their election, but it seems likely Morales would have won outright. If this doesn't worry you for the United States, check out what the Republicans are trying to pull in Kentucky. It's in this newspaper today, and that article does a much better job of explaining how fake allegations of fraud are being used to disrupt democracy than this one does. But it's the same tactics. And probably the same people behind it, too.

  240. The comments in support of Morales help me better understand Trump's supporters. If you truly believe that your leader is working for your benefit, you will do anything to support him. You will ignore your leader's subversion of democracy. You are willing to suppress the rights of others if they disagree with you. You will believe that having him, and only him, as your leader is more important than respecting the will of the people or the rule of law. This is what the U.S. will look like a year from now if Trump loses. Only worse, because Trump will never go quietly or voluntarily.

  241. This is a Coup d'Etat call it by what it is

  242. One socialist down, three (Maduro, Sanders and Warren) to go.

  243. “These populist leaders who try to hold on to power at all cost end up undermining their legacy, and people remember them as dictators or would-be dictators.” Sounds like someone we know very well who uses lies, intimidation, and wit violence from well-armed supporters.

  244. The article is already outdated Evo announced his resignation - true. But there is an obscure Bolivian law that says if he does not sign the resignation letter, then after 48 hours, he may return to power. Last night, armed supporters of Evo were terrorizing the barrios of at least Santa Cruz and La Paz. Last night was the apex of violence in the barrios where ordinary people live. My daughter, who is a single mother in Santa Cruz, fled to the hopeful sanctuary of an aunt's home in a different part of Santa Cruz. A niece called her aunt in panic: a mob was burning neighboring houses, she did not answer her phones for hours before she turned up safe in the early morning hours. This is not over yet. The announcement of Evo's resignation seems to be designed to remove the fervor of the opposition, then to return after they have disbanded. The police have re-established a modicum of calm, let's hope it stays that way.

  245. Morales ruined what would have on the whole been a very constructive legacy. Which is sad. Look at what Bolivian governance looked like before his election before throwing too many stones. The really hard question is, what comes next? Is the military content to restore democratic rules then step back? The track record for that in the third world ain't great. But we'll see. Meantime, American commentators ought to focus on fixing their own politics-that's a pretty full plate.