Evo Morales of Bolivia Accepts Asylum in Mexico

The former president, who faced weeks of protest, said he had been forced out in a “coup.” He leaves Bolivia in a power vacuum, with politicians scrambling to form a caretaker government.


Comments: 115

  1. Unfortunately this is a coup in the old style of the word. Mr. Morales tried to stay in power more than he should but not a lot of people could say that the country is worse than 14 years ago. In Santa Cruz de la Sierra there has been always a sentiment against altiplano people, specially since 10 years ago they had beginning to control the commerce of agricultural supplies and this has lessen the control of the white minority in the low lands of the country. Bolivia is a complex country and is one of those countries were indigenous people have began to displace the descendants of European origin, which were accustomed to treat "cholitos" as servants, with laws that didn't allowed indians to enroll in university unless they change their original (Quechua or Aymara) surnames to Spanish ones. I think that we will see more of this history in the coming years due to the fact that the only way where the former rulers of the country could come back to power is through a coup.

  2. They were ready for a comeback until a president tried illegally to run again for the 4th time even though it is specifically forbidden by the constitution and a referendum. At issue is not weather his policies are good or bad (some of them were quite good). At issue is rule of law and respect for democracy.

  3. @Camilo Blanco No offense but this is not Cuba. It is one more Latin American country that was too "socialist" for the U.S. and where we have underwritten a coup.

  4. @Truth Be Told not really, they were 10 points behind and nobody disputes that, they were disputing the 10% difference between the two candidates. Evo won and he won due to the fact that "cholitos" realized that in the end they want to rule their country according to their customs, as the descendants of the europeans did for nearly 500 years...

  5. US-backed coup. Shame on the world for pretending he "resigned"

  6. @paul Get your facts right! There was no coup. Your comments only reinforce misinformation about a complex issue and belittle the efforts of millions of peaceful protesters who rejected what had effectively become a dictatorship with no respect for fragile democratic institutions. Fraud, corruption and a lack of respect for the democratic rule tarnished the past 8 years of Evo's presidency.

  7. @paul what happened in Bolivia was not a coup. Evo Morales stepped down after the OEA stated Bolivia's elections on October 20 were rigged and after hundreds of people were injured and killed on Saturday because they were trying to get to La Paz to ask him to resign. he tried to stay in power for more than 13 years despite the referendums' vote in 2016 saying no to him running for a 4th term. No one should be allowed to stay in power for more than 2 terms, and no one should believe they are the above the law which was the case of Morales. People's vote should be respected and this is what Bolivians wanted, they wanted Morales to stepped down so they ca finally have real elections in the country.

  8. @Sharon So we're taking the opposition party's word that the election was rigged, despite the fact that they had everything to gain by claiming this? Morales agreed to let the OEA audit the results and was open to new elections (wow, what a tyrant!). But somehow, the police and military demanding an elected official and his government stand down is not a coup.

  9. I am living in Bogota. Many of my friends are Venezuelans who have escaped Maduro. All are hoping the same thing will occur in Caracas before too long.

  10. @Neil So you are hoping for more coups to protect the wealthy and American business interests? Hooray for democracy!

  11. @Ben Ben, the only 'wealthy' people left in Venezuela are Maduro, his cronies, and the Cubans that run the place. And what US interests? We don't need the oil and Maduro is no threat. Except for the human rights debacle there we could care less for the place.

  12. @Neil . I didn't know that Bogota is in Texas, which you indicate as your location. That being said, I agree that the illegal regime in Bolivia, Texas, should be overturned and democracy be restored immediately!

  13. The sad part is that it does not even matter who is in the White House: Hillary Clinton would have backed this coup as well just as she did in Honduras. It is the underlying material interests driving US foreign policy, which are largely decoupled from those whom we elect to office, which decide who is allowed to be president south of the Rio Grande and who is not. Equally unsurprising is the nearly complete silence in the US media about this. The NYT, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, etc. love talking about Russia interfering in our elections. Yet there are virtually no comments about either the coup in Brazil that brought Bolsonaro to power nor the even more blatant attempt in Bolivia right now. It turns out that standing up to Trump is easy, but standing up to the vested interests controlling our entire political and economic system is not. Fun fact: Sen. Sanders was the only Democratic presidential candidate calling for the release of Lula. This should tell us everything we need to know about the men and women currently running to get into the White House.

  14. @David Brazil is a democracy. Everything else is false propaganda. Bolivia was not a democracy under Morales, nor is Venezuela under Maduro.

  15. Jeez, it is one of the strange democracy when half of the Parliament is under the investigation for corruption.

  16. Bernie is a socialist. Socialists have willful ignorance when it comes to others of their political stripe. The Castros, Chavez/Maduro, Ortega et al have their dictatorial, clinging to power by any means, overlooked as long they are on the right team. It’s the Noam Chomsky principle.

  17. “A resignation prompted by violent protestors” is a pretty different framing than “after the military posted a video demanding he step down”. What ever your opinions are about Evo Morales, this was a coup.

  18. @Sam Law Whatever your opinions are about Evo Morales, his resign came the same day that OAS confirmed the fraud.

  19. @Ricardo Dorado Ah yes, the OAS. The OAS is famously a puppet of the CIA and Washington. Maybe read a little more on the history of democratic movements and revolution in Latin America.

  20. We have seen right wing mobs ransacking Evo Morales’ house, right wing leaders calling for extrajudicial arrests of Evo and prominent members of MAS being paraded in front of the cameras by masked gun men to give their “resignations”. I say call a spade a spade (or a coup a coup). It seems you support the coup, that is entirely another question than whether or not this was a coup.

  21. This article is remarkable only in the sense that the reaction of indigenous Bolivians, which make up around 48% of the population and isn't centered in the large cities described, is ignored. These people continue to be invisible in the eyes of the NYT. At this point there is no evidence implicating Morales in the so-called "irregularities", yet he has been forced to leave office in a civil coup which could only occur with the collusion of the various Bolivian security forces. Since we know the history of U.S. meddling in Latin American politics, there's no reason to not suspect the Trump administration has had a hand in promoting and assisting the ouster of Morales. We do know, however, that in 2018 the National Endowment for Democracy funneled almost $1 million to Bolivian political and 'civil' organizations in the opposition. This info is available on their agitated to change the government and likely represents only the tip of the iceberg, though it will be decades before the real story is declassified..

  22. Morales should have respected the two term limit.

  23. @J Albers Enough evidence has been presented to confirm "irregularities", OAS issued a clear report on Sunday morning to confirm them. You cannot say then, that 48% of the population supports Evo Morales, you definitely have to take out the percentage of the fraud. Do you really accept this kind of rights violation? Isn't the demonstration of a fraud enough to resign? Besides, Gen. Williams Kaliman, (a proclaimed supporter of Morales) "suggested" the president to resign to pacify the country, he did not demand it.

  24. Sorry. The real coup happened when Morales had his cronies on the Supreme Court overthrow the constitutional 2 term limit and he rigged the election. Funny how you ignore that very convenient 24 stop in vote counting. When reporting resumed he miraculously had won the election. Just like Marcos in 1986. The people can see who really wanted to usurp the democratic will of the country and they took to the streets as they did in Manila. It doesn’t matter if you are a right wing dictator or a left wing one, sooner or later the people want their say.

  25. "You never abandoned me and I will never abandon you." A chilling familiarity in those words to the words of Donald Trump as he speaks at his rallies. In, fact, almost verbatim. Rightist and leftist labels don't matter. Among all leaders are those who will ultimately disregard rule of law, who will pack courts with cronies who make any counterweight on their power impossible, who will seek to rule indefinitely. Americans who view what is now happening in Bolivia as foreign and to be shrugged off are blind to the possibility that an American version of this implosion of democracy may yet await us.

  26. The far left can be as dangerous as the far right.

  27. @Will. actually vastly more dangerous...to their onw people. See Stalin; Mao.

  28. @Will. Really? Because it seems to me that it's the far-right in Bolivia that are the dangerous ones. What with them assaulting government officials, burning indigenous flags, inciting violence against indigenous peoples and celebrating a military coup against elected officials. But because this coup is good for American business interests, it's apparently good for "democracy".

  29. The most shocking thing about this Bolivian situation is how closely it resembles the final few episodes of amazon prime’s jack ryan, season 2.

  30. I noticed that too.

  31. senor morales was the first indigenous president of a country in the western hemisphere. will he be the last?

  32. @young ed Probably not. Hopefully not. And he should recognize that legacy rests on his respecting the democratic process. Evo had his time in power. He did some good things for the people of Bolivia; holding onto power as a dictator will only erase all that good just as surely as the right would. I think the wise thing to do is to simply step down. Hand the reigns to a new generation of leftists who will follow that example of respecting democracy.

  33. @young ed Benito Juarez of Mexico was Zapotec from Oaxaca.

  34. This situation is so confusing to me. A president serving for more than 10 years is a nightmare especially if it's because he himself had the term limits turned over in a stacked court. And can an unstable country with this sort of leader really hold reliable elections? It seems unlikely. So, it seems like good riddance to Morales. But people I respect on social media are all calling this an orchestrated coup and touting Morales as some savior of the people. And the resulting violence and chaos is so tragic.

  35. @Brooklyn Dog Geek Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. That is about 14 years. Do you think that situation is a democratic nightmare. Come on.

  36. @Draper Merkel has announced she’s leaving office after the next elections. She’s also won every vote cleanly without any irregularities, and didn’t overturn a democratic referendum supporting term limits. Stop with your false equivalencies. It’s so typical of pro-authoritarians, pretending that democracy and autocracy really aren’t any different.

  37. Watch today’s Democracy Now on Youtube for clarity.

  38. Most of the people in Bolivia don't support Evo. Enough is enough. Thank you for leaving. We don't hate you, on the contrary we are grateful for your support to the Peace Process with Farc in Colombia. And we were sorry when you were not allowed to visit Hugo Chavez in Havana. Hasta la vista!

  39. @M Martínez Gracias gusano. The very real election results disagree with you. Not to mention Evo's record of reducing poverty dramatically. Don't hurt yourself burning Wiphala flags.

  40. @M Martínez well, he got 10% more votes than the second runner...so this definition is clearly meaning that the "whites" are not the ones who like him. If you really knew Bolivia you will understand the break between the white ex-ruling class and the cholitos and will not make this kind of unfortunate comments. As a colombian I urge you to not trying to wrap everything under the "socialismo del siglo XXI" label, specially since the political process in Bolivia is quite different

  41. @M Martínez The election results would beg to differ. But we wouldn't want to let democracy get in the way of promoting American business interests in South America.

  42. I wonder what part the U.S. is playing in all these crises. The criminal tRump "administration" does not want anyone but corporations to run the governments of South and Central America. They do not want equality or justice, there or here. They want to transfer all wealth from the underclasses to the already rich. WE are responsible for the lack of democracy in those places, because of our ignorant voting habits for personalities, not policies. And, if the election does not go well, WE will be missing our democracy as well. Money can buy anything. That's why we need to lay some serious regulation on wealth and those who will use it to take over governments, around the world, for profit. Mind your vote.

  43. Come on Evo, stop your abuse of power already. Enough. Step aside and let honest Bolivians decide how and whom ought to step up and right the nation's ship. You have made cocaine part of Bolivia's economy; this must stop. As contraband and corruption must, as well. You have being liiving in luxury while poverty of indigenous people you claimed to protect remains 'intact'. You never understood the urgent need to diversify the economy. And for that, to get rid of our dependency, we do need true education. Obstructing a new administration is just adding insult to injury.

  44. Evo is much like our Donald. He pretends to stand for the poor but in the end is only looking for power.

  45. Except for a while at least, Evo actually did something to help the poor, whereas with a Donald it was mostly empty vote garnering tropes and false promises. Before he messed things up, Morales actually accomplished something.

  46. @SusieQ Unlike Trump, people believed Morales would help the poor and Morales actually did something for poor people in Bolivia. Trump has only done things to serve himself or the wealthy. Anyone who actually believed Trump, who steals from his own charities and defrauds students (and everyone else), would do something for poor people willfully chose not to use rational thought.

  47. I wish the NYTimes were more responsible to report its news. From the first paragraphs ( and we know most people only read the first ones), it loos like Evo Morales is calling to a peaceful transition and they are using again the word "coup", there was no COUP in Bolivia, this was a pacific resistance until yesterday where after Morales resigned, his people invaded La Paz and as of right not (11/11/19 8 am PT) are still destroying it. Not only Morales's house was assaulted, several house of Morales' opposition were burned. Morales wants the world thinks this is COUP, so he can come back, and the irresponsible journalism is helping him.

  48. @Andre This is a coup. Military and police force morales to step down. Morales had the majority of votes. The OAS, the American legitimizer of right wing thugs, sides with the prioir right wing president, who came in second. Smells illegitimate, walks like a coup, it is a coup d etat.

  49. If it look like a coup, seems like a coup and have all the traits of a coup is a coup. The “whites” in Bolivia hate the indigenous Bolivians and were looking for an excuse to dethrone the indigenous president. Now is civil war in the horizon to restore the indigenous people’s dignity.

  50. The allegation of fraud in the Bolivian election is based on a lie that the early vote count - 2 hours after the polls closed - could not have changed to favor President Evo Morales. The early count did not include results from areas that would have expected to be much more supportive of Morales. The linked Center for Economic and Policy Research analysis of the election results provides both a timetable of the events and an analysis of the voting data. Not only did they not find evidence of fraud, they also ran "500 simulations that show that Morales’s first-round victory was not just possible, but probable, based on the results of the initial 83.85 percent of votes in the quick count." (See CEPR, What Happened in Bolivia’s 2019 Vote Count? at http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11?fbclid=IwAR3G2CzJhKJJU7JS-qJ1ePMf4U7njkYpGI7eQ6STA_YjZrQPgSQDUd11B4Q)

  51. @J Albers Then why was the count and result reporting halted midway when the early results didn't look good for Morales? Why did the OAS report rule the process to have been manipulated? The Morales regime seems to have discarded the "Democratic" component of Democratic Socialism.

  52. Morales’ current term as President runs through the rest of 2019, so whatever fraud has been alleged in the recent elections, he was the democratically elected president, and his removal is an unconstitutional coup. In addition, Morales responded to the claims of election fraud by calling for new elections with a new election commission. His party, MÁS, has a majority in both houses of the democratically elected legislature. The silence of the US government and the OAS is deafening. Meanwhile the opposition is claiming the presidency, while racist mobs sack and burn houses of Morales and his supporters, burn the indigenous peoples’ flag in the streets, and assault and threaten Morales’ supporters. This is fascism on the loose, and should be opposed by all.

  53. Not a coup. An uprising based on his strongman tactics. They weren’t calling on him to resign because he appeared in a blackface video years ago; it was because he clearly tampered with the elections - after having rigged the system to allow himself to run again. This is more like enforcement of legitimately established term limits.

  54. @Jeffery Hermanson If a president commit a crime in a manner of fraud, wouldn't he deserve to be impeached?

  55. @Jeffery Hermanson No one questions that Angela Merkel has been in power for 14 years? but the they question an indigenous brown skinned president for being in power for more then 3 terms, one that has advance Bolivia into the 21st at lighting speed, reduced inequality by 25%.

  56. "Morales Urges Resistance to Coup" There's your headline. Much simpler and more truthful.

  57. Except for the part where Morales stopped ballot counting … in an election he ran in after he packed the court so it threw out part of the constitution.

  58. So much for "Democratic" Socialism.

  59. The current state of affairs in Bolivia is the product of: years of discord and marginalization resulting in extreme political polarization; centuries of racial animus; constitutional abuse; and strong man/strong arm tactics. Sound familiar? A cautionary tale that could happen here.

  60. In New York City we had a mayor who changed the law so he could run for a third term. (no riots no coup) Now, this person is running for the presidency of the USA. Long time observers of international affairs understand and can read the tea leaves. Did not Mr J. Bolten comment recently that "the Monroe Doctrine" is still in forced by the US. Is it not ironic that the Right-wing (and some "progressives" [sic]) use Mr Soros as a devil incarnate, while the Left-wing, unaware of David Rockefella's "South American Project" are more concerned with they're image and that both Soros and Rockefeller (RIP), both promote "D"emocracy. When will democracy return to the United States of America?

  61. It was Morales himself who called on the OAS to conduct an audit of the votes. However, right after the election, opposition mobs set ballots and buildings on fire. These were places run by Bolivia's Electoral Council. Morales stated he had nothing to hide. The OAS commission, which from the start had a mission: to prove there was fraud, declared it had detected "irregularities", but nowhere did it say the word fraud. In addition, despite "irregularities" Mr. Morales received far more votes than his closest opponent, 10% more. What the opposition wanted was a second round, but Bolivian law, as in Argentina, states that if a candidate wins by 10% or more, no second round is needed. That is when violent opposition forces took to the streets, attacking mayors and other elected officials, as well as union members and their families, burning their houses etc. After the OAS report, Mr. Morales called for new, internationally supervised elections, but the army chief told him to resign and police, bribed by the opposition, allowed them to take over the presidential palace. President Morales term runs until January. His party controls both houses of Congress, the result of democratic elections. Now many of those are in hiding or being granted asylum in the Mexican embassy. It was a well-planned coup, meant to turn Bolivia into a compliant, vassal state, run by selfish, greedy people.

  62. @Julioantonio Mr Morales didn't call the OAS, nor the OAS has any relevance to Latin American countries. It is a well known facade of US intervention in the region. The presence of the OAS was made relevant by the media, because of the OAS and the media had a script and a purpose to fuel this coup.

  63. @Julioantonio All the more reason to send the OAS where it truly belongs: the dustbin of history. It's patently clear that the coup against Evo--the very first democratically elected indigenous leader in the Western Hemisphere--was an extremely well-coordinated initiative combining both local and outside reactionary forces, namely, not so secret U.S. counterintelligence agencies, Bolivian political right-wing organizations, and outright racist conservative personalities.

  64. Americans convinced that Morales effectively stole the right to more than two terms by packing the Supreme Court might want consider two related incidents closer to homes: -- should Al Gore have staged a coup against GWB, when the Republicans on the Supreme Court stopped the vote count on Bush's request (he argued that continuing the count would cause him irreparable harm, i.e., losing the election)? -- Michael Bloomberg did much the same, after voters overwhelming approved term limits. This is not an argument for an autocrat, even one one who accomplished as much good as Morales did. Just a little perspective, for Americans inclined to lecture other nations.

  65. Morales may have deserved to go, but let's see just how "temporary" the loss of democracy post-Morales turns out to be. Who's running the country behind the scenes now?

  66. While on one hand, Evo Morales overstayed his welcome and should have chosen a successor to run in the election, this also appears to be an attempt to install a right wing government, which the people of Bolivia probably don't want either. While I am glad that Evo is gone, I suspect that we will see a right wing government installed in his place.

  67. Civil war in the horizon. The indigenous will not take the coup sitting down.

  68. All legitimate governments must respect democratic norms and human rights. I say this as an American leftist of color, very supportive of Evo Morales. Instead of seeking an unconstitutional third term, Mr. Morales should have put his efforts into cultivating leadership and building a movement that could carry on his legacy. It is illogical for commenters here to compare political developments in Bolivia favorably to the 2000 US presidential race or to Bloomberg seeking an unconstitutional additional term. All of these parties were wrong: Morales, the US Supreme Court, and Bloomberg. The fact that the latter two were successful is irrelevant from an ethicopolitical standpoint. During a period of national and international crisis, where democracy is under siege and leftist solutions are desperately needed to address extreme inequality and other injustices, I would hope that leftist leaders would rise to the occasion and hold themselves to a higher standard.

  69. Well said. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  70. @ZA As another leftist of color, I respectfully disagree. It's becoming increasingly rare that the left actually manages to seize power. Those who do should be allowed to attempt to keep it, provided they have the masses on their side (which Morales did). I don't think we should consider secondary liberal institutions like term limits (many of which are anti-democratic) as sacrosanct.

  71. @ZA You who have absolutely no idea about the constitution of Bolivia, nor would have said any such thing about Angela Merkel. Mr Morales was just ousted by a US backed VIOLENT MILITARY COUP, nothing else. I haven't found a single english speaking media outlet telling you what is actually transpiring over here.

  72. The best post here is from the guy who says that this is an extremely complex situationin a complex country, pretty much all the people yelling “Hooray!” and, “It’s a coup!” have zero idea of what they’re talking about, and that the thing to do is find out what they’re talking about before they judge. I’d only add that sometimes, there’s not much to choose between the way that righties and some lefties impose their own political fantasies on the third world.

  73. There are no no good guys in mess in Bolivia. Underlying social tensions are from Spanish colonial rule with dispossession of indigenous population . Evo Morales by being the first President from indigenous background tried to overturn the rules by fair and foul means . Irrespective of criticism Morales played a role in land reforms and alleviating poverty in the country. Unfortunately he stayed too long in power and was target for resentment against incumbent. I am unaware of clean politician in Latin America untainted by money power and populism NEWS ITEM FROM 2004 Mentality of Bolivian elite can be discerned from news item in 2004"Unfortunately, people that don't know Bolivia very much think that we are all just Indian people...poor people and very short people and Indian people," local media quoted her as saying in English in Ecuador, where the Miss Universe contest will be held on Tuesday. "I am from the other side of the country...and we are tall and we are white people and we know English," Bolivian contestant in 2004

  74. This was clearly a well-orchestrated coup. The US has been working for years in Bolivia to undermine Morales and his political project, the success of which undermines the rightwing propaganda that socialism inevitably leads to what we've seen in Venezuela over the past few years. The question in the election results was not whether or not Morales won, but whether the margin was wide enough (10%) avoid a runoff election. A coup like this, involving the most hard right political factions, police, and the military, doesn't just happen spontaneously. On the contrary it just adds to the sequence of US-backed coups over the past 10 years, utilizing a diversity of tactics that have resulted in the rise of hard right, neoliberal and proto-fascist regimes in Honduras, Paraguay, Haiti, Brazil. As the balance of power shifts back towards the left across the continent in response to the glaring failures of neoliberal economic policies -- with Fernandez's trouncing of Macri in Argentina, a successful uprising against Moreno and the IMF in Ecuador, Lula's liberation in Brazil, continued mass uprising against Piñera in Chile -- the US is taking increasingly drastic measures to shore up its areas of influence. Delivering Bolivia, the most successful experiment in socialism on the continent, back into the hands of the oligarchy at the service of corporate interests is critical to this effort.

  75. I am very interested to see what information we can get in the coming days. Bolivia is such a unique and beautiful country and I have many friends there. I wish the best for the Bolivian people and truly hope democracy prevails

  76. The situation is very complicated, but a couple things stand out from the coverage: 1) The alleged illegality of Evo's running for a 4th term. The Bolivian Supreme Court overturned the term limits. It may have been unpopular, but his running for a 4th term was legal. Was the Supreme Court packed with his supporters? Yes. I wonder at all the Americans who think a coup is justified in this case, but not in the case of the 2000 US elections, when a politicized Supreme Court decided the election here. 2) The ransacking of Evo's home. If you watch the video on social media, the one thing that stands out to me is the modesty of Evo's home. In a country marked by a tradition of oligarchical leaders, Evo's home is more like a middle class American home than an oligarchic mansion. Anyone who remembers Bolivia's presidents before Evo (including Mesa, his main opponent in the last election) knows this has never been the case before. It highlights the relatively lesser corruption and pursuit of greater social equity under his rule. Will all of that be reversed now? Is the greater good served by fair elections in those elections result in the restoration of the old oligarchs? 3) The challenge of getting voices from Bolivia's countryside is probably a real one for the NYT's reporters right now, but I would like to hear from those voices, and not just from the city.

  77. @Luz Pacena Imagine President Trump appoints 3 more Supreme court judges. Imagine they rule that the constitutional amendment that limits Presidents to two terms was unconstitutional and they overturn it.Imagine Trump then holds an election that has many questionable outcomes. I don't want America interfering in Bolivia's internal politics. But despite the many positive aspects of Morales rule the temptation to make his movement about himself instead of his ideas was too strong. Instead of promoting a strong party with another leader of his party to run for office he went down the "only I can achieve progress so I have to stay in power tactic. This tactic of leaders for life has hampered and destroyed democratic based governments on the right and the left. Whatever form of electoral democracy one develops for ones country if it doesn't include the possibility of losing a election then it simply becomes a cult of personality

  78. @KJ Peters I remember FDR's threat of passing legislation that would allow him to pack the Supreme Court was an important factor in passing New Deal legislation in 1937. I think where most of us stand on court packing depends on whether it is being packed for positions that we support or oppose. Evo's unwillingness or inability to groom a successor clearly undermined his popularity. Was this sheer stubbornness and caudillismo on his part? Or were there also social and political factors which prevented the rise of other major leaders within the movement he led who might be seen as presidential material?

  79. @Luz Pacena I disagree with your understanding of US history. (1) The Supreme Court did not decide the presidential election of 2000. All it did was halt the recount of votes in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court, consisting of seven Democrats and no Republicans, had voted 4-3 to allow the recount to continue. One of the three dissenting judges opined that the manner in which they had decided the case made a review by the US Supreme Court almost certain. Also, journalists performed their own unofficial recount later and concluded that Bush had in fact won the vote in Florida. (2) FDR's threat to pack the Supreme Court in 1937 was highly contested by many and was a huge black eye to him thereafter. And one of his main pieces of legislation, the Social Security Act, had already become law (in 1935).

  80. If you don't know a lot about Bolivian politics, I'd suggest you be very careful about interpreting these events through your own political lens (or the NYT comments section). Sometimes Bolivian problems are about Bolivia, not a referendum on American power or Donald Trump or imperialism or the CIA. Maybe, just maybe, it's a Bolivian problem with a Bolivian solution. Evo was a fresh face in a country that desperately needed one. He brought forth the hopes and dreams of millions of marginalized Bolivians who had suffered centuries of exploitation and racism. Many found prosperity for the first time under his leadership. But Evo was also a racist, anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, divisive president who overstayed his office through deceit and manipulation. He's a propagandist who abused state media. Instead of healing the country, he sowed even more division. Many Bolivians are justifiable enraged that their democracy has been hijacked. If you care about democracy and human rights, don't shed tears for Evo. Save them for the whole country, right and left, indigenous and white who are all part of the fabric of the country and have to find some way to muddle forward and fix this mess. If you simplify this to "Evo good, right wing coup bad" you're just using Bolivia to serve your own political agenda. If you care about the region, I suggest you really take the time to get to know a messy, complicated situation. It's well worth some honest research.

  81. @James Thank you for this. I agree wholeheartedly. Bolivian politics is complicated, there are long-standing divisions between the lowlands and the altiplano, and Evo was anything but a saint and had become more autocratic and less popular the longer he remained in power.

  82. @James There is no evidence whatever that the election was unfair. The US Government coordinated a military coup to oust the President. What part of that do you find complicated?

  83. Would you mind explaining how Evo is racist? From my understanding, he was anything but. Would love to know more.

  84. Power doesn't always corrupt, but usually and eventually. Morales seems to have done a lot of good, for awhile. And now he doesn't want to give up power, and blames others for the chaos and discontent. Democracy is messy, but better than the alternative. Good luck to all Bolivians in this, right, left, and middle.

  85. @Jorge The military forced him out before the completion of his current term. That is not democracy.

  86. @Jorge That is totally the truth Thank you

  87. @Jorge This was a coup not democracy.

  88. So much of this needs to be viewed in a positive, encouraging light. A relatively peaceful transfer of power has just happened because of civic action done across regions and demographic groups. The nation hasn't been reduced to ruble. The well performing economy will brush this off. The military did not open fire. And let's be clear: this is a Bolivian issue, subject to the nuances of a very, very unique country. Anyone who views this from a lens that quickly regards this as a coup is just displaying an ignorance about the country. Evo has always been a complicated figure. He empowered an indigenous population that had been oppressed for nearly 500 years. A chronically underachieving nation did an astounding number of things very well, and his socialist programs provided a model for the common good that the world hadn't really ever seen. His VP provided an intellectual framework for implementing a brand of socialism that was incredibly successful. But he always bumped against the rail of authoritarianism, and I don't think it was ever fully clear that he ever fully respected the democratic system. The leaders of both Oruro and Santa Cruz want him out, an alliance that I've never seen in four decades. Indigenous and white Bolivians across income levels are in the streets. The military and police, whose leadership was handpicked by Evo years ago, put country over their own personal interests. Which is more than I can say for the powers that be in some first world nations.

  89. I agree with your insights. Too many people keep regurgitating the cliche of US behind the scenes but there this seems like something else. Morales accomplished a lot truth be told and I’m no knee jerk socialist. Still he overstayed his welcome. It seems the vast legions of people protesting the last few days were indicative of a “basta ya” attitude in the face of election irregularities. Morales was going the authoritarian route and he overplayed his hand. The military does have the power to protect the constitution and it seems that that warning weighed on Morales. So far no major violence. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  90. If you never visited Bolivia, please do! It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with many beautiful and friendly people. Although the media puts indigenous people as one large group, it isn't so? They speak many dialects and do not necessarily understand each other. It is remarkable that Mr Morales got them into one large group to support him a decade ago. He seemed to have done some good but not a lot. This is a country with huge amount of mineral resources and during my visit it appeared most of that wealth went to Chile. They is no doubt that multinational companies exploit that land with little benefit for ordinary Bolivians. I just hope at the end of this strife the beautiful people of Bolivia who treated me with such warmth have a peaceful and prosperous lives.

  91. It’s clearly a coup, but I’m not convinced the current U.S. Government is competent enough to have orchestrated it.

  92. Evo Morales committed FRAUD! The OAS report proves this statement. Therefore, the PEOPLE in Bolivia demanded him to resign by protesting on the streets PEACEFULLY, with Bolivian flags and signs. Evo followers came out to fight with home made weapons and dynamites, killing 3 people and injuring more than 400 people. The police and the army witnessed all this for days!!! Impartial but trying to calm things down. Later, they realized it was time to be with the citizens of Bolivia and joined them. They declared “mutiny” against Evo Morales. Morales had no other option than to resign. Last night Bolivia was without a President and without the police nor the army on the streets. Morales supporters went on the streets burning houses (the house of a journalist Mrs. Lema and the house of the President of the public University) burning the town’s public transportation and vandalizing everything on their path. The police and army couldn’t go out to defend the citizens because of the “mutiny” status. La Paz Bolivia didn’t sleep last night, afraid the violent protesters will come to their houses... Please don’t justify FRAUD and VANDALISM!

  93. This could be a preview of our elections in one year after trump and Republicans are caught in electoral fraud. Forget coup - trump will be evicted. Too bad for Evo and his new digs 20+ floors up at the recently completed palatial skyscraper (for La Paz anyways). He barely just moved in and being evicted so soon. For his loyal subjects it is always Morales over his country just like it is always trump over his country for the GOP. The rule of law, let alone the Constitution, doesn’t apply to these two selfish entitled men. Question. If trump refuses to leave, and as commander in chief, can he be forced to leave by force and subjected to a court martial? Obviously we have a civilian mob cult that will allow this man to corrupt our nation with impunity so our military may have to intervene just like any other banana republic. Why those who have defrauded the country twice - like trump in 2016 and again for 2020 - should be allowed to run is incomprehensible to me, let alone that an ill gotten win is not forfeiting. No doubt Russia would offer trump asylum, Russia’s friendship medal and prime seating at the May Day march celebrating Russia’s military might - would Mexico offer him asylum?

  94. Whatever you want to call what happened in Bolivia--a coup or the ouster of an undemocratic leader, it will lead to protests, riots, and killings after years of peace.

  95. Protesters & international observers SUSPECTED the election was rigged? THAT'S why Morales was forced out of office? What a different country & world we would have if protesters & international observers were allowed to review our elections & their "irregularities." In Bolivia the right-wing has just usurped power & is acting like the new gov't, even though they were not confirmed as such by the OAS. Keep in mind that this is EXACTLY WHAT THEY CLAIM MORALES DID that made him into a criminal. He's not some dictator who was overthrown & needs to run away somewhere. This asylum strategy is an attempt to paint him with the Pinochet /Maduro brush & discredit him in the eyes of the world & his people. It is also a veiled threat on his life. The homes & offices of his aides have all been destroyed & Morales & his family have been threatened. These acts of right-wing thugs & provocateurs portend the kind of gov't the Bolivian people will be getting. There will be no free elections in January. And the Trump/Bannon/Bolsinaro/Guidio right wing movement will chalk up another country in Latin America. And the US gets to mine the lucrative lithium crystals that belong to the Bolivian people. Morales improved the quality of life of the poor in the poorest country in Latin America. He introduced democracy. They may silence him & Lula, but others will rise in their place.

  96. Another South American leader, too left wing for the USA's corrupt corptocracy, gets destabilized then toppled. The USA, removing democracy wherever it pops up.

  97. The election fraud that this article refers to — as do some of the comments — never happened. The observers never made any such claims but the OAS (Organization of American States) made the claim repeatedly without releasing any evidence. But the social change affecting Bolivia is not confined to that country. There is an eerie feeling of déjà vu going on in South America with several countries, not so long ago shining examples of democracy, shifting to the far right — Brazil being the most flamboyant example. How does that happen? Morales helped millions of people out of poverty and I suspect these people are still grateful for his tenure as leader of the country. Unfortunately, the same people that are ruining the planet are likely taking control of South America once again.

  98. How do you know the irregularities in the voting did not happen?

  99. This is more complex than described. Indigenous people account for 60% of Bolivia's population, including the Andean and Aymaras. The indigenous population has been systematically suppressed and exploited by the decedents of the conquering Spaniards, who are concentrated in the capital and controlled power. This European descended population has never accepted indigenous power. Morales was the first native President. He had his faults, but those are expected after centuries of repression of his people. They are minor compared to what Jackson did to natives in the US. And he still on the $ 20 bill

  100. Remember Bolivia sits on top of a big part of the worlds lithium supply, needed for batteries in cell phones, electric cars, other electronic devices. Morales was going to nationalize their lithium industry right before this happened. What happened was that the rural votes simply came in last, like they tend to do in Bolivia. The US-supported right wing, product of years of US-backed destabilization efforts, simply rioted to reverse the outcome. It's a US-backed coup pure and simple, just like the one that removed Dilma in Brazil, Lugo in Paraguay, Zelaya in Honduras, and attempted coups in Nicaragua, Ecuador (which finally succeeded), and multiple times in Venezuela. Where have we seen this play out before? Some benevolent (U.S. endorsed) military general taking the reigns of power away from a left leaning Latin American leader who is despised by our global elites. 120 years of history shows us that this comes right out of our empire's playbook. This was an illegal military coup funded and orchestrated by the CIA. The military would never be this brazen unless they knew their coup would be legitimized by Washington. That's why Pinera can hold on forever and murder his people and while Morales "has to go" for the crime of winning an election. The US doesn't even pretend to support democracy anymore.

  101. I am in La Paz now and I can say that the situation is unstable and very nuanced. Supporters of Morales are just as passionate as his detractors and have paralyzed this city. What was two days ago a bustling city -albeit one wracked by ongoing protests- is now eerily quiet save for spasms of violence. Police have closed roads to the airport and other areas in anticipation of Morales supporters descending from the neighboring city of El Alto to the center of La Paz. They have seized at least one gas station and it is feared they will cut gas lines to areas of the city. I am barricaded In my hotel and the situation is tense.

  102. @James Brown. Hope you remain okay! Chaos seems to have indeed descended on many parts of Bolivia. Several larger cities thought to be pro-Morales had their drinking water cut off, so this might get ugly. If you can, get to the airport and leave. Very unpredictable how this will develop

  103. Lot of comments here on whether Evo Morales is good or bad and deserves another term. I personally have no idea. But the key question for me is: why should the U.S. have a hand in a violent confrontation over this matter? Yes, I understand that we should care about what happens in other countries but I don't understand what benefit we derive from forcing the politics of a sovereign country to this extent. If we had a good track record from this kind of interventionism I could be swayed, but considering Pinochet, the mess we created for decades in central America, backing of the Shaw of Iran which has put us where we are with them, etc. etc., it seems that all we do is create more chaos and violence. Let countries determine their own fate. Or at the very least, don't back coups.

  104. This is why Castro rejected the US and set up a dictatorship. The 1954 Guatemalan coup showed democracy is too vulnerable To CIA manipulation. It’s telling that Maduro is still in power and Morales isn’t. Maduro has durable control over the levers of power. Morales does not. If Bernie is elected, the first thing he should do is replace all the top brass at the CIA and the Pentagon with people he can trust or he will face the same fate as Morales, or worse.

  105. @Steve. I’m not sure America’s democrats stand for dictatorship-even Bernie Sanders-as you might like to believe. You’re right, though, about Maduro controlling the levers of power, so mabe your advice would be beneficial to those espousing the worst kinds of exploitative government that leave their countries destitute.

  106. ... Evo Morales has structured his 15 years in power with a political speech of support to Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro agenda. How come Evo Morales is not going for political asylum in Venezuela or Cuba?

  107. Why is "coup" in quotes? What else is it called when the military tells you to resign?

  108. A dictator in the making, who exceeded his presidential term limits and rigged his election, has been forced to step down by popular protests because, unlike other corrupt socialists such as Venezuela’s Maduro, Nicaragua’s Ortega, and Cuba’s Castro, he failed to buy the personal loyalty of his country’s military to squash the opposition. Simply put, the military refused to destroy Bolivia’s democracy. Good riddance!

  109. This is no simple story of pro- and antidemocratic forces. Morales did manipulate the election, that much is clear. However, one aspect strangely missing from this story are the reasons why all the former pro-Morales politicians who were legally in line to succeed him suddenly resigned. News reports now indicate that the families of several of them were kidnapped to force them to resign, others had their families and homes threatened and some also had their homes burned down. Not exactly the actions of " good guys", but rather with a coup-like taste to it. It appears that Bolivia will likely turn into a country run by an authoritarian "elected" government heavily backed by military and paramilitary force. Not good for most Bolivians.

  110. I smell intervention. How long would it take a caravan from Bolivia to reach Texas?

  111. I spent quite a bit of time in Central America and know that there are race and indigenous problems galore. The US should provide some financial assistance and technological aid to help stabilize a transition but not try to dictate. Bolivia was betrayed by Evo Morales, he stayed too long and apparently did little to fix the problems, if indeed, he did even understand the real problems, after all, he was not a brilliant trained diplomat. Good luck Bolivia.

  112. I read the title again, not only coup is between quotation marks, also says “ he leaves Bolivia in a vacuum, etc” , no Mr Krauss Bolivia is in a vacuum because he was forced to resign by the military.

  113. For those who read Spanish, it is interesting to see a screen-shot of a tweet that Evo Morales wrote on May 28, 2016, in which he said (translated): "Whoever escapes or flees is a confessed criminal, not someone being politically persecuted" (in reference to extradition attempts to bring back Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, another autocrat, but on the right wing). That tweet is trending very highly, and for very good reasons. I worked for a humanitarian NGO in Bolivia the entire decade of the nineties, when Evo Morales was a senator from the Chapare region of Cochabamba state. I met with him on numerous occasions regarding public works projects in his region, admired him for his charisma and pragmatism, but later became disillusioned when he refused to honor the people's vote on the referendum in which he was clearly shown that the Bolivians did not want him to run for a fourth term. No matter left or right, a President who forces his will against the popular vote is an autocrat. He did a lot of good, but he became inebriated with the same power and control that brought down the man about which he tweeted the message above. The irony! I

  114. I'd like to stop to take a moment to salute the brave men of the Bolivian Army. Instead of helping to install a new dictator to seize power for themselves, they did the right thing and stood up for democracy. Some people may say that all political matters should be resolved through dialogue only. However it is impossible to have a real dialogue with someone who wants to be a dictator if there is no threat of military force. Why should they agree to give up anything if they can just stay in power for life?

  115. another socialist dictator who inevitably shows the end product of socialist policies .