Venezuela Condemns Bolivia Coup d’État

Government forces and grassroots movements are holding vigils across the country in support of Evo Morales.

By Paul Dobson
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Grassroots movements in Caracas hold an Anti-Imperialist Tribune at Llaguno Bridge in support of ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. (@PartidoPSUV / Twitter)
Grassroots movements in Caracas hold an Anti-Imperialist Tribune at Llaguno Bridge in support of ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. (@PartidoPSUV / Twitter)

Mérida, November 11, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities and grassroots movements have condemned the coup d’état in Bolivia on Sunday.

President Nicolas Maduro joined regional leaders in repudiating the ousting of his close ally Evo Morales, while calling for international solidarity. The governments of Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and the president-elect of Argentina all expressed similar positions on Sunday.

“We categorically condemn the coup d’état against our brother president. The social and political movements of the world declare ourselves mobilised to demand the preservation of the life of the indigenous Bolivian people, victims of racism,” Maduro wrote on Twitter.

Speaking at a Caracas press conference on Sunday, Maduro also warned that Morales’ life is endangered by the “brutal repression” from “fascist” coup-mongers, pointing the finger at the Organisation of American States (OAS) for instigating the coup.

Morales was forced to resign on Sunday after the armed forces requested that he step aside. He had called for new presidential elections hours before, despite having been declared the winner of the October 20 elections with 47 percent of the vote, and a 10 percent margin that removed the need for a second round. However, the right-wing opposition refused to recognise the results and subsequent violence left three dead.

The OAS, which Maduro has previously denounced as being the “US Ministry of Colonies,” had been invited to audit the results, with their preliminary report claiming “irregularities.” On Friday, however, the Washington DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) published a statistical analysis of the vote count which showed no signs of fraud or irregularities.

Opposition violence in Bolivia during the weekend saw groups torch a number of buildings, including Morales’ house, as well as attack trade unionists, destroy public property, and loot shops. Meanwhile, social movements opposed to the coup have announced mobilisations to the capital.

During Sunday’s violence, Venezuela’s La Paz embassy was also reported to have been “overrun” by hooded assailants carrying dynamite.

Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Venezuela’s ambassador to Bolivia, Crisbeylee Gonzalez, as saying that “They want to make a massacre out of us, we need everyone to denounce this.” The Venezuelan government is yet to comment on the reports.

In Caracas, and with national right-wing street protests scheduled for Saturday, November 16, Maduro warned Venezuela’s opposition leaders against “incorrect calculations” in applying the Bolivia strategy to Venezuela.

“If you overstep the mark, we will act with a firm hand and in strict accordance to the Constitution,” he said.

The opposition has previously led failed efforts to spur a military coup in April this year and oust the government through violent street protests in 2014 and 2017.

While opposition leader Juan Guaido is yet to comment on the coup, US President Donald Trump claimed it was "a significant moment for democracy" on Monday, linking it to Venezuela's opposition's agenda.

"These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail," he said.

Maduro’s condemnation of the coup in Bolivia was reiterated by an array of ministers and political leaders on Sunday and Monday, including the Foreign Ministry which described events in Bolivia as a “grotesque” and “sophisticated” operation carried out by “racist radicals, the private media, the US embassy, and the OAS.”

The head of the Armed Forces Vladimir Padrino Lopez also manifested his condemnation, reiterating the loyalty of the military to the Maduro government.

Solidarity vigils and concentrations were held in most major cities across Venezuela on Monday, with an ‘Anti-Imperialist Tribune’ organised at the symbolic Llaguno Bridge in Caracas, epicentre of the 2002 coup d’état.

The ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) has also convened a counter-demonstration this Saturday, promising to have “the people out on the streets.”

Left wing parties, including the Communist Party and the Homeland for All Party, were also quick to join the government in rejecting the coup and expressing their support for the elected Morales, with the former claiming that the coup was “orchestrated by imperialism.”

Likewise, grassroots movements expressed their support for the Bolivian progressive movement, including the Bolivar-Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ), the Platform of Campesino Struggle, and the International Solidarity Committee (COSI).

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