SHAUN KING: The U.S. Tried to End Bolivian Democracy. It Failed
The North Star is a network of Black and Latinx journalists and creators that provide daily news stories and podcasts with action steps that help you get involved. We speak truth to power without fear because our stories, our voices and our lives matter. Please consider becoming a member and enjoy exclusive benefits of our ad-free platform for as little as $5 a month.
America has been overthrowing democracies in other countries, while in the same breath calling itself the greatest democracy in the world, for decades.
There are hundreds of political reasons why, but the overarching objective is the maintenance of global power. The United States is one of the most influential countries in the history of the world. It maintains this influence by ensuring only foreign leaders who are willing to comply with the U.S. government are elected.
But that’s not always who is chosen by the people.
When countries who have struggled through periods of dictatorship and totalitarianism finally establish a representative democracy, they often choose transformative leaders who are a spokesperson for the broader population. They are not puppets of any foreign power, which the American government views as a major threat. So they back what tend to be extremely violent coups detrimental to budding democracies, and effectively sending these countries spiraling into poverty and dictatorship once more.
To put this into context, it would be as if Joe Biden won the upcoming presidential election, but because some foreign power, let’s say Russia, prefers the accessibility Trump gives them, it backs a coup in the U.S. This foreign power would send operatives to radicalize Trump supporters, arm them all with guns and give them a plan to forcefully remove Biden from office. These radicalized Trump supporters would then reinstate Trump as “president,” when really he is the definition of a dictator.
This is what the United States has done to countries across the globe.
It’s what we did in Bolivia.
Last November, the United States Military backed a coup in Bolivia to keep the incumbent president, Evo Morales of the Movement Towards Socialism (or MAS) party from serving his fourth term. He was forced to flee the country for fear of being assassinated. Right wing conservative Jeanine Anez was installed in his place, who then sanctioned the murders of multiple indigenous peoples who were also Morales supporters.
But the people of Bolivia rejected the coup with resounding success.
On Oct. 18, the Movement Towards Socialism party (MTS) won the democratically decided election by a landslide not only in the presidency but the congress as well.
On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun unpacks this historic victory and what it means for the future of democracies across the world.