The Pronk Pops Show 1361, November 18, 2019, Story 1: Bolivia Victim of A Military Coup? After 14 Years in Power President Evo Morales Resigns and Flees To Mexico — Videos — Story 2: Democrat Trump Madness Should End Thursday After Attempted Second Coup Fails To Gain American People’s Support — No Evidence President Trump Did Anything Improper — No Crime — No Real Witnesses — Feelings, Hearsay, Opinions — Not Evidence — Big Lie Media — Videos — Story 3: Protests in Hong Kong –Videos

Posted on November 26, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Blogroll, Bolivia, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Business, College, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, House of Representatives, Second Amendment, Senate, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1311 August 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1308 August 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

See the source image

See the source image

Image: Burning police vehicleSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Bolivia Victim of A Military Coup? Morales Resigns and Flees To Mexico — Videos —

What Is A Coup d’État And How Common Are They?

Turkey’s failed military coup, explained

The Heat: Bolivia crisis Pt 1

Tracing the key events in Bolivia’s political crisis

Bolivia’s Mesa denies coup d’etat took place

Mexico: Government says Bolivia experienced a ‘coup’

Is Bolivia’s Evo Morales the victim of a coup? | UpFront (Feature)

News Wrap: Bolivia’s ousted Morales goes into exile in Mexico

Evo Morales resigns: Is Bolivia facing a coup d’etat?

Police join protesters as Bolivia’s president calls it ‘coup attempt’

Evo Morales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

Evo Morales
Morales looking to the side

Morales in 2017
President of Bolivia
In office
January 22, 2006 – November 10, 2019[a]
Vice President Álvaro García Linera
Preceded by Eduardo Rodríguez
Succeeded by Jeanine Áñez (interim)
President pro tempore of CELAC
In role
January 14, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Preceded by Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Succeeded by Position vacant
President pro tempore of UNASUR
In role
April 17, 2018 – April 16, 2019
Preceded by Mauricio Macri
Succeeded by Position vacant
Leader of the Movement for Socialism
Assumed office
January 1, 1998
Preceded by Party established
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
for Cochabamba
In office
August 6, 1997 – January 24, 2002
Personal details
Born
Juan Evo Morales Ayma

October 26, 1959 (age 60)
Isallavi, Bolivia

Political party Movement for Socialism
Children 2
Parents Dionisio Morales Choque
María Ayma Mamani
Residence Mexico City
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Bolivia Bolivia
Branch/service Logo del Ejército de Bolivia..jpg Bolivian Army
Years of service 1977–1978
Unit Fourth Ingavi Cavalry Regiment

Juan Evo Morales Ayma (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeβo moˈɾales]; born October 26, 1959) is a Bolivian politician and former cocalero activist who served as the President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Widely regarded as the country’s first president to come from the indigenous population,[b] his administration focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. A socialist, he is the head of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Morales undertook a basic education before mandatory military service, in 1978 moving to Chapare Province. Growing coca and becoming a trade unionist, he rose to prominence in the campesino (“rural laborers”) union. In that capacity, he campaigned against U.S. and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as part of the War on Drugs, denouncing these as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture. His involvement in anti-government direct action protests resulted in multiple arrests. Morales entered electoral politics in 1995, became the leader of the MAS, and was elected to Congress in 1997. Coupled with populist rhetoric, his campaign focused on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform, and the redistribution of gas wealth. He gained increased visibility through the Cochabamba Water Protests and gas conflict. In 2002, he was expelled from Congress for encouraging anti-government protesters, although he came second in that year’s presidential election.

Once elected in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbon industry to bolster social spending and emphasized projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, racism, and sexism. Vocally criticizing neoliberalism and reducing Bolivia’s dependence on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, his administration oversaw strong economic growth while following a policy termed “Evonomics” which sought to move from a liberal economic approach to a mixed economy. Scaling back U.S. influence in the country, he built relationships with leftist governments in the Latin American pink tide and signed Bolivia into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Attempting to moderate the left-indigenous activist community, his administration also opposed the right-wing autonomist demands of Bolivia’s eastern provinces. Winning a recall referendum in 2008, he instituted a new constitution that established Bolivia as a plurinational state and was re-elected in 2009. His second term witnessed the continuation of leftist policies and Bolivia’s joining of the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; he was again reelected in the 2014 general election. Following the disputed 2019 general election and the ensuing unrestMorales agreed to military calls for his resignation. He was then granted political asylum in Mexico.

Morales has been praised for unprecedented economic growth, significantly reducing poverty and illiteracy in Bolivia and has been internationally decorated with various awards. His supporters have lauded him as a champion of indigenous rights, that were enshrined in the constitution, anti-imperialism, and environmentalism. Alternately, a number of leftist, indigenous, and environmentalist critics have accused him of failing to live up to many of his espoused values, and opponents have accused him of being excessively radical and authoritarian and have claimed that his defence of coca contributes to illegal cocaine production.

Early life and activism

Childhood, education, and military service: 1959–78

Aymara in traditional dress (left); Poopó Lake was the dominant geographical feature around Morales’s home village of Isallawi (right).[9]

Morales was born in the small rural village of Isallawi in Orinoca Canton, part of western Bolivia’s Oruro Department, on October 26, 1959 to a family from the indigenous Aymara people.[10][11] One of seven children born to Dionisio Morales Choque and his wife María Ayma Mamani,[12] only he and two siblings, Esther and Hugo, survived past childhood.[13] His mother almost died from a postpartum haemorrhage following his birth.[9] In keeping with Aymara custom, his father buried the placenta produced after his birth in a place specially chosen for the occasion.[9] His childhood home was a traditional adobe house,[14] and he grew up speaking the Aymara language, although later commentators would remark that by the time he had become president he was no longer an entirely fluent speaker.[15]

Morales’s family were farmers; from an early age, he helped them to plant and harvest crops and guard their herd of llamas and sheep, taking a homemade soccer ball to amuse himself.[16] As a toddler, he briefly attended Orinoca’s preparatory school, and at five began schooling at the single-room primary school in Isallawi.[17] Aged 6, he spent six months in northern Argentina with his sister and father. There, Dionisio harvested sugar cane while Evo sold ice cream and briefly attended a Spanish-language school.[18] As a child, he regularly traveled on foot to Arani province in Cochabamba with his father and their llamas, a journey lasting up to two weeks, in order to exchange salt and potatoes for maize and coca. [19] A big fan of soccer, at age 13 he organised a community soccer team with himself as team captain. Within two years, he was elected training coach for the whole region, and thus gained early experience in leadership.[20]

After finishing primary education, Morales attended the Agrarian Humanistic Technical Institute of Orinoca (ITAHO), completing all but the final year.[21] His parents then sent him to study for a degree in Oruro; although he did poorly academically, he finished all of his courses and exams by 1977, earning money on the side as a brick-maker, day labourer, baker and a trumpet player for the Royal Imperial Band. The latter position allowed him to travel across Bolivia.[22] At the end of his higher education he failed to collect his degree certificate.[21] Although interested in studying journalism, he did not pursue it as a profession.[23] Morales served his mandatory military service in the Bolivian army from 1977 to 1978. Initially signed up at the Centre for Instruction of Special Troops (CITE) in Cochabamba, he was sent into the Fourth Ingavi Cavalry Regiment and stationed at the army headquarters in the Bolivian capital La Paz.[24] These two years were one of Bolivia’s politically most unstable periods, with five presidents and two military coups, led by General Juan Pereda and General David Padilla respectively; under the latter’s regime, Morales was stationed as a guard at the Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace).[25]

Early cocalero activism: 1978–83

Following his military service, Morales returned to his family, who had escaped the agricultural devastation of 1980’s El Niño storm cycle by relocating to the Tropics of Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands.[26] Setting up home in the town of Villa 14 de Septiembre, El Chapare, using a loan from Morales’s maternal uncle, the family cleared a plot of land in the forest to grow rice, oranges, grapefruit, papaya, bananas and later on coca.[27] It was here that Morales learned to speak Quechua, the indigenous local language.[28] The arrival of the Morales family was a part of a much wider migration to the region; in 1981 El Chapare’s population was 40,000 but by 1988 it had risen to 215,000. Many Bolivians hoped to set up farms where they could earn a living growing coca, which was experiencing a steady rise in price and which could be cultivated up to four times a year; a traditional medicinal and ritual substance in Andean culture, it was also sold abroad as the key ingredient in cocaine.[29] Morales joined the local soccer team, before founding his own team, New Horizon, which proved victorious at the August 2 Central Tournament.[29] The El Chapare region remained special to Morales for many years to come; during his presidency he often talked of it in speeches and regularly visited.[30]

Morales policy was “Coca Yes, Cocaine No”. A Bolivian man holding a coca leaf, (left); Coca tea, traditional infusion of Andean culture (right).

In El Chapare, Morales joined a trade union of cocaleros (coca growers), being appointed local Secretary of Sports. Organizing soccer tournaments, among union members he earned the nickname of “the young ball player” because of his tendency to organize matches during meeting recesses.[29] Influenced in joining the union by wider events, in 1980 the far-right General Luis García Meza had seized power in a military coup, banning other political parties and declaring himself president; for Morales, a “foundational event in his relationship with politics” occurred in 1981, when a campesino (coca grower) was accused of cocaine trafficking by soldiers, beaten up, and burned to death.[31] In 1982 the leftist Hernán Siles Zuazo and the Democratic and Popular Union (Unidad Democrática y Popular – UDP) took power in representative democratic elections, before implementing neoliberal capitalist reforms and privatizing much of the state sector with US support; hyperinflation came under control, but unemployment rose to 25%.[32] Becoming increasingly active in the union, from 1982 to 1983, Morales served as the General Secretary of his local San Francisco syndicate.[33] However, in 1983, Morales’s father Dionisio died, and although he missed the funeral he temporarily retreated from his union work to organize his father’s affairs.[34]

Fighting their War on Drugs, the U.S. government hoped to stem the cocaine trade by preventing the production of coca; they pressured the Bolivian government to eradicate it, sending troops to Bolivia to aid the operation.[35] Bolivian troops would burn coca crops and in many cases beat up coca growers who challenged them.[36] Angered by this, Morales returned to cocalero campaigning; like many of his comrades, he refused the US$2,500 compensation offered by the government for each acre of coca he eradicated. Deeply embedded in Bolivian culture, the campesinos had an ancestral relationship with coca and did not want to lose their most profitable means of subsistence. For them, it was an issue of national sovereignty, with the U.S. viewed as imperalists; activists regularly proclaimed “Long live coca! Death to the Yankees!” (“Causachun coca! Wañuchun yanquis!“).[33]

General Secretary of the Cocalero Union: 1984–94

The Wiphala, flag of the Aymara.

From 1984 to 1985 Morales served as Secretary of Records for the movement,[33] and in 1985 he became General Secretary of the August Second Headquarters.[33] From 1984 to 1991 the sindicatos embarked on a series of protests against the forced eradication of coca by occupying local government offices, setting up roadblocks, going on hunger strike, and organizing mass marches and demonstrations.[37] Morales was personally involved in this direct activism and in 1984 was present at a roadblock where 3 campesinos were killed.[38] In 1988, Morales was elected to the position of Executive Secretary of the Federation of the Tropics.[33] In 1989 he spoke at a one-year commemoratory event of the Villa Tunari massacre in which 11 coca farmers had been killed by agents of the Rural Area Mobile Patrol Unit (Unidad Móvil Policial para Áreas Rurales – UMOPAR).[38] The following day, UMOPAR agents beat Morales up, leaving him in the mountains to die, but he was rescued by other union members.[39] To combat this violence, Morales concluded that an armed cocalero militia could launch a guerrilla war against the government, but he was soon persuaded on an electoral path to change instead.[40] In 1992, he made various international trips to champion the cocalero cause, speaking at a conference in Cuba,[41] and also traveling to Canada, during which he learned of his mother’s death.[42]

In his speeches, Morales presented the coca leaf as a symbol of Andean culture that was under threat from the imperialist oppression of the U.S. In his view, the U.S. should deal with their domestic cocaine abuse problems without interfering in Bolivia, arguing that they had no right trying to eliminate coca, a legitimate product with many uses which played a rich role in Andean culture.[43] In a speech on this issue, Morales told reporters “I am not a drug trafficker. I am a coca grower. I cultivate coca leaf, which is a natural product. I do not refine (it into) cocaine, and neither cocaine nor drugs have ever been part of the Andean culture.”[6] On another, he asserted that “We produce our coca, we bring it to the main markets, we sell it and that’s where our responsibility ends.”[44]

Morales presented the coca growers as victims of a wealthy, urban social elite who had bowed to U.S. pressure by implementing neoliberal economic reforms.[43] He argued that these reforms were to the detriment of Bolivia’s majority, and thus the country’s representative democratic system of governance failed to reflect the true democratic will of the majority.[43] This situation was exacerbated following the 1993 general election when the centrist Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario – MNR) won the election and Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada became President. He adopted a policy of “shock therapy“, implementing economic liberalization and widescale privatization of state-owned assets.[45] Sánchez also agreed with the U.S. DEA to relaunch its offensive against the Bolivian coca growers, committing Bolivia to eradicating 12,500 acres (5,100 ha) of coca by March 1994 in exchange for $20 million worth of US aid, something Morales claimed would be opposed by the cocalero movement.[46]

In August 1994 Morales was arrested; reporters present at the scene witnessed him being beaten and accosted with racial slurs by civil agents. Accused of sedition, in jail he began a dry hunger strike to protest his arrest.[47] The following day, 3000 campesinos began a 360-mile (580 km) march from Villa Tunari to La Paz. Morales would be freed on September 7, and soon joined the march, which arrived at its destination on September 19, where they covered the city with political graffiti.[48] He was again arrested in April 1995 during a sting operation that rounded up those at a meeting of the Andean Council of Coca Producers that he was chairing on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Accusing the group of plotting a coup with the aid of Colombia’s FARC and Peru’s Shining Path, a number of his comrades were tortured, although no evidence of a coup was brought forth and he was freed within a week.[49] He proceeded to Argentina to attend a seminar on liberation struggles.[50]

Political rise

The ASP, IPSP, and MAS: 1995–99

Members of the sindicato social movement first suggested a move into the political arena in 1986. This was controversial, with many fearing that politicians would co-opt the movement for personal gain.[51] Morales began supporting the formation of a political wing in 1989, although a consensus in favor of its formation only emerged in 1993.[52] On March 27, 1995, at the 7th Congress of the Unique Confederation of Rural Laborers of Bolivia (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia – CSUTCB), a “political instrument” (a term employed over “political party”) was formed, named the Assembly for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Asamblea por la Sobernía de los Pueblos – ASP).[53] At the ASP’s 1st Congress, the CSUTCB participated alongside three other Bolivian unions, representing miners, peasants and indigenous peoples.[52] In 1996, Morales was appointed chairman of the Committee of the Six Federations of the Tropics of Cochabamba, a position that he retained until 2006.[54]

Bolivia’s National Electoral Court (Corte Nacional Electoral – CNE) refused to recognize the ASP, citing minor procedural infringements.[52] The coca activists circumvented this problem by running under the banner of the United Left (IU), a coalition of leftist parties headed by the Communist Party of Bolivia (Partido Comunista Boliviano – PCB).[55] They won landslide victories in those areas which were local strongholds of the movement, producing 11 mayors and 49 municipal councilors.[52] Morales was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the National Congress as a representative for El Chapare, having secured 70.1% of the local vote.[54] In the national elections of 1997, the IU/ASP gained four seats in Congress, obtaining 3.7% of the national vote, with this rising to 17.5% in the department of Cochabamba.[56] The election resulted in the establishment of a coalition government led by the right-wing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN), with Hugo Banzer as President; Morales lambasted him as “the worst politician in Bolivian history”.[57]

MAS-IPSP partisans celebrate the 16th anniversary of the IPSP party’s founding in SacabaCochabamba.

Rising electoral success was accompanied by factional in-fighting, with a leadership contest emerging in the ASP between the incumbent Alejo Véliz and Morales, who had the electoral backing of the social movement’s bases.[56] The conflict led to a schism, with Morales and his supporters splitting to form their own party, the Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos – IPSP).[58] The movement’s bases defected en masse to the IPSP, leaving the ASP to crumble and Véliz to join the centre-right New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana – NFR), for which Morales denounced him as a traitor to the cocalero cause.[59] Continuing his activism, in 1998 Morales led another cocalero march from El Chapare to la Paz,[60] and came under increasing criticism from the government, who repeatedly accused him of being involved in the cocaine trade and mocked him for how he spoke and his lack of education.[61]

Morales came to an agreement with David Añez Pedraza, the leader of a defunct yet still registered party named the Movement for Socialism (MAS); under this agreement, Morales and the Six Federaciónes could take over the party name, with Pendraza stipulating the condition that they must maintain its own acronym, name and colors. Thus the defunct right wing MAS became the flourishing left wing vehicle for the coca activist movement known as the Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples.[62] The MAS would come to be described as “an indigenous-based political party that calls for the nationalization of industry, legalization of the coca leaf … and fairer distribution of national resources.”[63] The party lacked the finance available to the mainstream parties, and so relied largely on the work of volunteers in order to operate.[64] It was not structured like other political parties, instead operating as the political wing of the social movement, with all tiers in the movement involved in decision making; this form of organisation would continue until 2004.[65] In the December 1999 municipal elections, the MAS secured 79 municipal council seats and 10 mayoral positions, gaining 3.27% of the national vote, although 70% of the vote in Cochabamba.[62]

Cochabamba protests: 2000–02

In 2000, the Tunari Waters corporation doubled the price at which they sold water to Bolivian consumers, resulting in a backlash from leftist activist groups, including the cocaleros. Activists clashed with police and armed forces, in what was dubbed “the Water War“, resulting in 6 dead and 175 wounded. Responding to the violence, the government removed the contract from Tunari and placed the utility under cooperative control.[66] In ensuing years further violent protests broke out over a range of issues, resulting in more deaths both among activists and law enforcement. Much of this unrest was connected with the widespread opposition to economic liberalization across Bolivian society, with a common perception that it only benefited a small minority.[67]

In the Andean High Plateau, a cocalero group launched a guerrilla uprising under the leadership of Felipe Quispe; an ethnic separatist, he and Morales disliked each other, with Quispe considering Morales to be a traitor and an opportunist for his willingness to cooperate with White Bolivians.[68] Morales had not taken a leading role in these protests, but did use them to get across his message that the MAS was not a single-issue party, and that rather than simply fighting for the rights of the cocalero it was arguing for structural change to the political system and a redefinition of citizenship in Bolivia.[69]

Evo Morales (right) with French labor union leader José Bové in 2002

In August 2001, Banzer resigned due to terminal illness, and Jorge Quiroga took over as President.[70] Under U.S. pressure, Quiroga sought to have Morales expelled from Congress. To do so, he claimed that Morales’s inflammatory language had caused the deaths of two police officers in Sacaba near Cochabamba, however was unable to provide any evidence of Morales’s culpability. 140 deputies voted for Morales’s expulsion, which came about in 2002. Morales asserted that it “was a trial against Aymara and Quechas”, [71] while MAS activists interpreted it as evidence of the pseudo-democratic credentials of the political class.[72]

The MAS gained increasing popularity as a protest party, relying largely on widespread dissatisfaction with the existing mainstream political parties among Bolivians living in rural and poor urban areas.[73] Morales recognized this, and much of his discourse focused on differentiating the MAS from the traditional political class.[74] Their campaign was successful, and in the 2002 presidential election the MAS gained 20.94% of the national vote, becoming Bolivia’s second largest party, being only 1.5% behind the victorious MNR, whose candidate, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, became President.[75] They won 8 seats in the Senate and 27 in the Chamber of Deputies.[76] Now the leader of the political opposition, Morales focused on criticising government policies rather than outlining alternatives. He had several unconstructive meetings with Lozada, but met with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez for the first time.[77]

Bolivia’s U.S. embassy had become publicly highly critical of Morales; just prior to the election, the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha issued a statement declaring that U.S. aid to Bolivia would be cut if MAS won the election. However, exit polls revealed that Rocha’s comments had served to increase support for Morales.[78] Following the election, the U.S. embassy maintained this critical stance, characterising Morales as a criminal and encouraging Bolivia’s traditional parties to sign a broad agreement to oppose the MAS; Morales himself began alleging that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was plotting to assassinate him.[79]

Rise to power: 2003–05[edit]

Graffiti roughly translating into “Gas is not for sale, dammit!”, with an indigenous woman in the foreground.

In 2003, the Bolivian gas conflict broke out as activists – including coca growers – protested against the privatization of the country’s natural gas supply and its sale to U.S. companies below the market value. Activists blocked off the road into La Paz, resulting in clashes with police. 80 were killed and 411 injured, among them officers, activists, and civilians, including children.[80] Morales did not take an active role in the conflict, instead traveling to Libya and Switzerland, there describing the uprising as a “peaceful revolution in progress.”[81] The government accused Morales and the MAS of using the protests to overthrow Bolivia’s parliamentary democracy with the aid of organised crime, FARC, and the far-left governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Libya.[82]

Morales led calls for President Sánchez de Lozada to step down over the death toll, gaining widespread support from the MAS, other activist groups, and the middle classes; with pressure building, Sánchez resigned and fled to MiamiFlorida.[83] He was replaced by Carlos Mesa, who tried to strike a balance between U.S. and cocalero demands, but whom Morales mistrusted.[84] In November, Morales spent 24 hours with Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana,[85] and then met Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner.[86] In the 2004 municipal election, the MAS became the country’s largest national party, with 28.6% of all councilors in Bolivia. However, they had failed to win the mayoralty in any big cities, reflecting their inability to gain widespread support among the urban middle-classes.[87] In Bolivia’s wealthy Santa Cruz region, a strong movement for autonomy had developed under the leadership of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee (Comite Pro Santa Cruz). Favorable to neoliberal economics and strongly critical of the cocaleros, they considered armed insurrection to secede from Bolivia should MAS take power.[88]

In March 2005, Mesa resigned, citing the pressure of Morales and the cocalero road blocks and riots.[89] Amid fears of civil war,[90] Eduardo Rodríguez became President of a transitional government, preparing Bolivia for a general election in December 2005.[91] Hiring the Peruvian Walter Chávez as its campaign manager, the MAS electoral campaign was based on Salvador Allende‘s successful campaign in the 1970 Chilean presidential election.[92] Measures were implemented to institutionalize the party structure, giving it greater independence from the social movement; this was done to allow Morales and other MAS leaders to respond quickly to new developments without the lengthy process of consulting the bases, and to present a more moderate image away from the bases’ radicalism.[93] Although he had initially hoped for a female running mate, Morales eventually chose Marxist intellectual Álvaro García Linera as his Vice Presidential candidate,[94] with some Bolivian press speculating as to a romantic relationship between the two.[95] MAS’ primary opponent was Jorge Quiroga and his center-right Social and Democratic Power, whose campaign was centered in Santa Cruz and which advocated continued neo-liberal reform; Quiroga accused Morales of promoting the legalization of cocaine and being a puppet for Venezuela.[96]

With a turnout of 84.5%, the election saw Morales gain 53.7% of the vote, while Quiroga came second with 28.6%; Morales’s was the first victory with an absolute majority in Bolivia for 40 years.[97] Given that he was the sixth self-described leftist president to be elected in Latin America since 1998, his victory was identified as part of the broader regional pink tide.[98] Becoming president elect, Morales was widely described as Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, at a time when around 62% of the population identified as indigenous; political analysts therefore drew comparisons with the election of Nelson Mandela to the South African Presidency in 1994.[99] This resulted in widespread excitement among the approximately 40 million indigenous people in the Americas, particularly those of Bolivia.[100] However, his election caused concern among the country’s wealthy and landowning classes, who feared state expropriation and nationalisation of their property, as well as far-right groups, who claimed it would spark a race war.[100] He traveled to Cuba to spend time with Castro, before going to Venezuela, and then on tour to Europe, China, and South Africa; significantly, he avoided the U.S.[101] In January 2006, Morales attended an indigenous spiritual ceremony at Tiwanaku where he was crowned Apu Mallku (Supreme Leader) of the Aymara, receiving gifts from indigenous peoples across Latin America. He thanked the goddess Pachamama for his victory and proclaimed that “With the unity of the people, we’re going to end the colonial state and the neo-liberal model.”[102]

Presidency

First presidential term: 2006–09

Evo Morales in 2006

In the world there are large and small countries, rich countries and poor countries, but we are equal in one thing, which is our right to dignity and sovereignty.

— Evo Morales, Inaugural Speech, 22 January 2006.[103]

Morales’s inauguration took place on January 22 in La Paz. It was attended by various heads of state, including Argentina’s Kirchner, Venezuela’s Chávez, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, and Chile’s Ricardo Lagos.[104] Morales wore an Andeanized suit designed by fashion designer Beatriz Canedo Patiño,[105] and gave a speech that included a minute silence in memory of cocaleros and indigenous activists killed in the struggle.[104] He condemned Bolivia’s former “colonial” regimes, likening them to South Africa under apartheid and stating that the MAS’ election would lead to a “refoundation” of the country, a term that the MAS consistently used over “revolution”.[106] Morales repeated these views in his convocation of the Constituent Assembly.[107]

In taking office, Morales emphasized nationalism, anti-imperialism, and anti-neoliberalism, although did not initially refer to his administration as socialist.[108] In what was widely termed a populist act, he immediately reduced both his own presidential wage and that of his ministers by 57% to $1,875 a month, also urging members of Congress to do the same.[109][110][111] Morales gathered together a largely inexperienced cabinet made up of indigenous activists and leftist intellectuals,[112] although over the first three years of government there was a rapid turnover in the cabinet as Morales replaced many of the indigenous members with trained middle-class leftist politicians.[113] By 2012 only 3 of the 20 cabinet members identified as indigenous.[114]

Economic program

At Morales’s election, Bolivia was South America’s poorest nation.[115] Morales’s government did not initiate fundamental change to Bolivia’s economic structure,[116] and in their National Development Plan (PDN) for 2006–10, adhered largely to the country’s previous liberal economic model.[117] Bolivia’s economy was based largely on the extraction of natural resources, with the nation having South America’s second largest reserves of natural gas.[118] As per his election pledge, Morales took increasing state control of this hydrocarbon industry with Supreme Decree 2870; previously, corporations paid 18% of their profits to the state, but Morales symbolically reversed this, so that 82% of profits went to the state and 18% to the companies. The oil companies threatened to take the case to the international courts or cease operating in Bolivia, but ultimately relented. Thus, where Bolivia had received $173 million from hydrocarbon extraction in 2002, by 2006 they received $1.3 billion.[119] Although not technically a form of nationalization, Morales and his government referred to it as such, resulting in criticism from sectors of the Bolivian left.[120] In June 2006, Morales announced his desire to nationalize mining, electricity, telephones, and railroads, and in February 2007 nationalized the Vinto metallurgy plant, refusing to compensate Glencore, which the government asserted had obtained the contract illegally.[121] Although the FSTMB miners’ federation called for the government to nationalise the mines, the government did not do so, instead stating that any transnational corporations operating in Bolivia legally would not be expropriated.[122]

Under Morales, Bolivia experienced unprecedented economic strength, resulting in the increase in value of its currency, the boliviano.[123] His first year in office ended with no fiscal deficit; the first time this had happened in Bolivia for 30 years,[124] while during the global financial crisis of 2007–08 it maintained some of the world’s highest levels of economic growth.[125] Such economic strength led to a nationwide boom in construction,[123] and allowed the state to build up strong financial reserves.[123] Although the levels of social spending were increased, they remained relatively conservative, with a major priority being placed on constructing paved roads, as well as community spaces such as soccer fields and union buildings.[126] In particular, the government focused on rural infrastructure improvement, to bring roads, running water, and electricity to areas that lacked them.[127]

The government’s stated intention was to reduce Bolivia’s most acute poverty levels from 35% to 27% of the population, and moderate poverty levels from 58.9% to 49% over five years.[128] The welfare state was expanded, as characterized by the introduction of non-contributory old-age pensions and payments to mothers provided their babies are taken for health checks and that their children attend school. Hundreds of free tractors were also handed out. The prices of gas and many foodstuffs were controlled, and local food producers were made to sell in the local market rather than export. A new state-owned body was also set up to distribute food at subsidized prices. All these measures helped to curb inflation, while the economy grew (partly because of rising public spending), accompanied by stronger public finances which brought economic stability.[129]

During Morales’s first term, Bolivia broke free of the domination of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) which had characterised previous regimes by refusing their financial aid and connected regulations.[clarification needed][130] In May 2007, it became the world’s first country to withdraw from the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, with Morales asserting that the institution had consistently favored multinational corporations in its judgments; Bolivia’s lead was followed by other Latin American nations.[131] Despite being encouraged to do so by the U.S., Bolivia refused to join the Free Trade Area of the Americas, deeming it a form of U.S. imperialism.[132]

A major dilemma faced by Morales’s administration was between the desire to expand extractive industries in order to fund social programs and provide employment, and to protect the country’s environment from the pollution caused by those industries.[133] Although his government professed an environmentalist ethos, expanding environmental monitoring and becoming a leader in the voluntary Forest Stewardship Council, Bolivia continued to witness rapid deforestation for agriculture and illegal logging.[134] Economists on both the left and right expressed concern over the government’s lack of economic diversification.[125] Many Bolivians opined that Morales’s government had failed to bring about sufficient job creation.[116]

ALBA and international appearances

Morales with regional allies, at the Fórum Social Mundial for Latin America: President of Paraguay Lugo, President of Brasil Lula, President of Equador Correa and President of Venezuela Chavez.

Morales’s administration sought strong links with the far-left governments of Cuba and Venezuela.[135] In April 2005 Morales traveled to Havana for knee surgery, there meeting with the two nations’ presidents, Castro and Chávez.[136] In April 2006, Bolivia agreed to join Cuba and Venezuela in founding the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), with Morales attending ALBA’s conference in May, at which they initiated with a Peoples’ Trade Agreement (PTA).[137] Meanwhile, his administration became “the least US-friendly government in Bolivian history”.[138] In September Morales visited the U.S. for the first time to attend the UN General Assembly, where he gave a speech condemning U.S. President George W. Bush as a terrorist for launching the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War, and called for the UN Headquarters to be moved out of the country. In the U.S., he met with former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and with Native American groups.[139] Relations were further strained between the two nations when in December Morales issued a Supreme Decree requiring all U.S. citizens visiting Bolivia to have a visa.[140] His government also refused to grant legal immunity to U.S. soldiers in Bolivia; hence the U.S. cut back their military support to the country by 96%.[132]

In December 2006, he attended the first South-South conference in Abuja, Nigeria, there meeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose government had recently awarded Morales the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.[141] Morales proceeded straight to Havana for a conference celebrating Castro’s life, where he gave a speech arguing for stronger links between Latin America and the Middle East to combat U.S. imperialism.[142] Under his administration, diplomatic relations were established with Iran, with Morales praising Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a revolutionary comrade.[143] In April 2007 he attended the first South American Energy Summit in Venezuela, arguing with many allies over the issue of biofuel, which he opposed.[144] He had a particularly fierce argument with Brazilian President Lula over Morales’s desire to bring Bolivia’s refineries – which were largely owned by Brazil’s Petrobrás – under state control. In May, Bolivia purchased the refineries and transferred them to the Bolivian State Petroleum Company (YPFB).[145]

Social reform

Morales with Brazilian President Lula

Morales’s government sought to encourage a model of development based upon the premise of vivir bien, or “living well”.[115] This entailed seeking social harmony, consensus, the elimination of discrimination, and wealth redistribution; in doing so, it was rooted in communal rather than individual values and owed more to indigenous Andean forms of social organization than Western ones.[115]

Upon Morales’s election, Bolivia’s illiteracy rate was at 16%, the highest in South America.[146] Attempting to rectify this with the aid of far left allies, Bolivia launched a literacy campaign with Cuban assistance, while Venezuela invited 5000 Bolivian high school graduates to study in Venezuela for free.[147] By 2009, UNESCO declared Bolivia free from illiteracy,[148] although the World Bank claimed that it had only declined by 5%.[149] Cuba also aided Bolivia in the development of its medical care, opening ophthalmological centres in the country to treat 100,000 Bolivians for free per year, and offering 5000 free scholarships for Bolivian students to study medicine in Cuba.[150] The government sought to expand state medical facilities, opening twenty hospitals by 2014, and increasing basic medical coverage up to the age of 25.[151] Their approach sought to utilise and harmonise both mainstream Western medicine and Bolivia’s traditional medicine.[152]

Morales and vice-president Álvaro García Linera in 2006 shining the shoes of shoeshine boys.

The 2006 Bono Juancito Pinto program provided US$29 per month to poor families for every young child that they had,[153] while 2008’s Renta Dignidad initiative provided around $344 per month to low-income citizens over 60.[154] 2009’s Bono Juana Azurduy program offered cash transfers to uninsured mothers to improve their likelihood of seeking medical care.[155] Conservative critics of Morales’s regime claimed that these measures were simply designed to buy off the poor and ensure continued support for the government.[156]

Morales announced that one of the top priorities of his government was to eliminate racism against the country’s indigenous population.[157] To do this, he announced that all civil servants were required to learn one of Bolivia’s three indigenous languages, Quechua, Aymara, or Guaraní, within two years.[158] His government encouraged the development of indigenous cultural projects,[159] and sought to encourage more indigenous people to attend university; by 2008, it was estimated that half of the students enrolled in Bolivia’s 11 public universities were indigenous,[160] while three indigenous-specific universities had been established, offering subsidized education.[161] In 2009, a Vice Ministry for Decolonization was established, which proceeded to pass the 2010 Law against Racism and Discrimination banning the espousal of racist views in private or public institutions.[162] Various commentators noted that there was a renewed sense of pride among the country’s indigenous population following Morales’s election.[163] Conversely, the opposition accused Morales’s administration of aggravating racial tensions between indigenous, white, and mestizo populations,[164] with some non-indigenous Bolivians feeling that they were now experiencing racism.[165]

On International Workers’ Day 2006, Morales issued a presidential decree undoing aspects of the informalization of labor which had been implemented by previous neoliberal governments; this was seen as a highly symbolic act for labor rights in Bolivia.[166] In 2009 his government put forward suggested reforms to the 1939 labor laws, although lengthy discussions with trade unions hampered the reforms’ progress.[167] Morales’s government increased the legal minimum wage by 50%,[168] and reduced the pension age from 65 to 60, and then in 2010 reduced it again to 58.[169]

While policies were brought in to improve the living conditions of the working classes, conversely many middle-class Bolivians felt that they had seen their social standing decline,[170] with Morales personally mistrusting the middle-classes, deeming them fickle.[171] A 2006 law reallocated state-owned lands,[172] with this agrarian reform entailing distributing land to traditional communities rather than individuals.[173] In 2010, a law was introduced permitting the formation of recognised indigenous territories, although the implementation of this was hampered by bureaucracy and contesting claims over ownership.[174] Morales’s regime also sought to improve women’s rights in Bolivia.[175] In 2010, it founded a Unit of Depatriarchalization to oversee this process.[113] Further seeking to provide legal recognition and support to LGBT rights, it declared June 28 to be Sexual Minority Rights Day in the country,[176] and encouraged the establishment of a gay-themed television show on the state channel.[177]

Adopting a policy known as “Coca Yes, Cocaine No”,[178] Morales’s administration ensured the legality of coca growing, but also introduced measures to regulate the production and trade of the crop.[179] In 2007, they announced that they would permit the growing of 50,000 acres of coca in the country, primarily for the purposes of domestic consumption,[180] with each family being restricted to the growing of one cato (1600 metres squared) of coca.[181]

A social control program was implemented whereby local unions took on responsibility for ensuring that this quota was not exceeded; in doing so, they hoped to remove the need for military and police intervention, and thus stem the violence of previous decades.[182] Measures were implemented to ensure the industrialization of coca production, with Morales inaugurating the first coca industrialization plant in Chulumani, which produced and packaged coca and trimate tea; the project was primarily funded through a $125,000 donation from Venezuela under the PTA scheme.[179]

These industrialization measures proved largely unsuccessful given that coca remained illegal in most nations outside Bolivia, thus depriving the growers of an international market.[183] Campaigning against this, in 2012 Bolivia withdrew from the UN 1961 Convention which had called for global criminalisation of coca, and in 2013 successfully convinced the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to declassify coca as a narcotic.[184] The U.S. State Department criticised Bolivia, asserting that it was regressing in its counter-narcotics efforts, and dramatically reduced aid to Bolivia to $34 million to fight the narcotics trade in 2007.[185] Nevertheless, the number of cocaine seizures in Bolivia increased under Morales’s government,[186] as they sought to encourage coca growers to report and oppose cocaine producers and traffickers.[187] However, high levels of police corruption surrounding the illicit trade in cocaine remained a continuing problem for Bolivia.[188]

Morales’s government also introduced measures to tackle Bolivia’s endemic corruption; in 2007, he used a presidential decree to create the Ministry of Institutional Transparency and Fight Against Corruption.[189] However, critics highlighted that MAS members were rarely prosecuted for the crime, the main exception being YPFB head Santos Ramírez, who was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for corruption in 2008. Conversely, a 2009 law that permitted the retroactive prosecution for corruption led to legal cases being brought against a number of opposition politicians for alleged corruption in the pre-Morales period; many fled abroad to avoid standing trial.[190]

Domestic unrest and the new constitution

During his presidential campaign, Morales had supported calls for regional autonomy for Bolivia’s departments. As president, he changed his position, viewing the calls for autonomy – which came from Bolivia’s four eastern departments of Santa Cruz, BeniPando, and Tarija – as an attempt by the wealthy bourgeoisie living in these regions to preserve their economic position.[191] He nevertheless agreed to a referendum on regional autonomy, held in July 2006; the four eastern departments voted in favor of autonomy, but Bolivia as a whole voted against it by 57.6%.[192] In September, autonomy activists launched strikes and blockades across eastern Bolivia, resulting in violent clashes with MAS activists.[193] In January 2007, clashes in Cochabamba between activist groups led to fatalities, with Morales’s government sending in troops to maintain the peace. The left-indigenous activists formed a Revolutionary Departmental Government, but Morales denounced it as illegal and continued to recognise the legitimacy of right-wing departmental head Manfred Reyes Villa.[194]

In July 2006, an election to form a Constitutional Assembly was held, which saw the highest ever electoral turnout in the nation’s history. MAS won 137 of its 255 seats, after which the Assembly was inaugurated in August.[195] The Assembly was the first elected parliamentary body in Bolivia which features strong campesino and indigenous representation.[196] In November, the Assembly approved a new constitution, which converted the Republic of Bolivia into the Plurinational State of Bolivia, describing it as a “plurinational communal and social unified state”. The constitution emphasized Bolivian sovereignty of natural resources, separated church and state, forbade foreign military bases in the country, implemented a two-term limit for the presidency, and permitted limited regional autonomy. It also enshrined every Bolivians’ right to water, food, free health care, education, and housing.[197] In enshrining the concept of plurinationalism, one commentator noted that it suggested “a profound reconfiguration of the state itself” by recognising the rights to self-determination of various nations within a single state.[198]

Morales in 2008

In May 2008, the eastern departments pushed for greater autonomy, but Morales’s government rejected the legitimacy of their position.[199] They called for a referendum on recalling Morales, which saw an 83% turnout and in which Morales was ratified with 67.4% of the vote.[200] Unified as the National Council for Democracy (CONALDE), these groups – financed by the wealthy agro-industrialist, petroleum, and financial elite – embarked on a series of destabilisation campaigns to unseat Morales’s government.[201] Unrest then broke out across eastern Bolivia, as radicalized autonomist activists established blockades, occupied airports, clashing with pro-government demonstrations, police, and armed forces. Some formed paramilitaries, bombing state companies, indigenous NGOs, and human rights organisations, also launching armed racist attacks on indigenous communities, culminating in the Pando Massacre of MAS activists.[202] The autonomists gained support from some high-ranking politicians; Santa Cruz Governor Rubén Costas lambasted Morales and his supporters with racist epithets, accusing the president of being an Aymara fundamentalist and a totalitarian dictator responsible for state terrorism.[203] Amid the unrest, foreign commentators began speculating on the possibility of civil war.[204]

After it was revealed that USAID‘s Office of Transition Initiatives had supplied $4.5 million to the pro-autonomist departmental governments of the eastern provinces, in September 2008 Morales accused the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, of “conspiring against democracy” and encouraging the civil unrest, ordering him to leave the country.[205][206]. The U.S. government responded by expelling Bolivian ambassador to the U.S., Gustavo Guzman.[207]. Bolivia subsequently expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the country, while the U.S. responded by withdrawing their Peace Corps.[208] Chávez stood in solidarity with Bolivia by ordering the U.S. ambassador Patrick Duddy out of his country and withdrawing the Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S.[209] The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) convened a special meeting to discuss the Bolivian situation, expressing full support for Morales’s government.[210]

Morales meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009

Although unable to quell the autonomist violence, Morales’s government refused to declare a state of emergency, believing that the autonomists were attempting to provoke them into doing so.[211] Instead, they decided to compromise, entering into talks with the parliamentary opposition. As a result, 100 of the 411 elements of the Constitution were changed, with both sides compromising on certain issues.[212] Nevertheless, the governors of the eastern provinces rejected the changes, believing it gave them insufficient autonomy, while various Indianist and leftist members of MAS felt that the amendments conceded too much to the political right.[213] The constitution was put to a referendum in January 2009, in which it was approved by 61.4% of voters.[214]

Following the approval of the new Constitution, the 2009 general election was called. The opposition sought to delay the election by demanding a new biometric registry system, hoping that it would give them time to form a united front against MAS.[215] Many MAS activists reacted violently against the demands, and attempting to prevent this. Morales went on a five-day hunger strike in April 2009 to push the opposition to rescind their demands. He also agreed to allow for the introduction of a new voter registry, but insisted that it was rushed through so as not to delay the election.[216] Morales and the MAS won with a landslide majority, polling 64.2%, while voter participation had reached an all-time high of 90%.[217] His primary opponent, Reyes Villa, gained 27% of the vote. The MAS won a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.[218] Morales notably increased his support in the east of the country, with MAS gaining a majority in Tarija.[219] In response to his victory, Morales proclaimed that he was “obligated to accelerate the pace of change and deepen socialism” in Bolivia, seeing his re-election as a mandate to further his reforms.[220]

Second presidential term: 2009–2014

During his second term, Morales began to speak openly of “communitarian socialism” as the ideology that he desired for Bolivia’s future.[221] He assembled a new cabinet which was 50% female, a first for Bolivia,[222] although by 2012, that had dropped to a third.[175] One of the main tasks that faced his government during this term was the aim of introducing legislation that would cement the extension of rights featured in the new constitution.[223] In April 2010, the departmental elections saw further gains for MAS.[224] In 2013, the government passed a law to combat domestic violence against women.[225]

Morales at an international conference in 2012

In December 2009, Morales attended the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he blamed climate change on capitalism and called for a financial transactions tax to fund climate change mitigation. Ultimately deeming the conference to have been a failure, he oversaw the World’s People Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth outside of Cochabamba in April 2010.[226]

Following the victories of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, relations between Bolivia and the U.S. improved slightly, and in November 2009 the countries entered negotiations to restore diplomatic relations.[227] After the U.S. backed the 2011 military intervention in Libya by NATO forces, Morales condemned Obama, calling for his Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked.[228] The two nations restored diplomatic relations in November 2011,[229] although Morales refused to allow the DEA back into the country.[230]

In October 2012, the government passed a Law of Mother Earth that banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being grown in Bolivia; although praised by environmentalists, it was criticised by the nation’s soya growers, who claimed that it would make them less competitive on the global market.[231]

On July 2, 2013, Bolivia’s foreign minister said that the diversion of Morales’s presidential plane (FAB-001, a Dassault Falcon 900EX), when Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian authorities denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board the aircraft, had put the president’s life at risk.[232] Latin American leaders describe the incident as a “stunning violation of national sovereignty and disrespect for the region”.[233] Morales himself described the incident as a “hostage” situation.[234] France apologized for the incident the next day.[235] The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, Morales’s political allies in the region, gathered to demand an explanation of the incident.[236]

In 2014, Morales became the oldest active professional soccer player in the world after signing a contract for $200 a month with Sport Boys Warnes.[237]

On July 31, 2014, Morales condemned the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict and declared Israel a “terrorist state”.[238]

Domestic protests

Morales addressing Bolivia’s Parliament

Morales’s second term was heavily affected by infighting and dissent from within his support base, as indigenous and leftist activists rejected several government reforms.[239] In May 2010, his government announced a 5% rise in the minimum wage. The Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB) felt this insufficient given the rising cost of living, calling a general strike, while protesters clashed with police. The government refused to increase the rise, accusing protesters of being pawns of the right.[240] In August 2010, violent protests broke out in southern Potosí over widespread unemployment and a lack of infrastructure investment.[225] In December 2010, the government cut subsidies for gasoline and diesel fuels, which raised fuel prices and transport costs. Protests led Morales to nullify the decree, responding that he “ruled by obeying”.[241] In June 2012, Bolivia’s police launched protests against anti-corruption reforms to the police service; they burned disciplinary case records and demanded salary increases. Morales’s government relented, cancelling many of the proposed reforms and agreeing to the wage rise.[242]

In 2011, the government announced it had signed a contract with a Brazilian company to construct a highway connecting Beni to Cochabamba, which would pass through the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). This would better integrate the Beni and Pando departments with the rest of Bolivia and facilitate hydrocarbons exploration. The plan brought condemnation from environmentalists and indigenous communities living in the TIPNIS, who claimed that it would encourage deforestation and illegal settlement and that it violated the constitution and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[243] The issue became an international cause célèbre and cast doubt on the government’s environmentalist and indigenous rights credentials.[244] In August, 800 protesters embarked on a protest march from Trinidad to La Paz; many were injured in clashes with police and supporters of the road.[245] Two government ministers and other high-ranking officials resigned in protest and Morales’s government relented, announcing suspension of the road.[245] In October 2011, he passed Law 180, prohibiting further road construction, although the government proceeded with a consultation, eventually gaining the consent of 55 of the 65 communities in TIPNIS to allow the highway to be built, albeit with a variety of concessions; construction was scheduled to take place after the 2014 general election.[245][246][247] In May 2013, the government announced that it would permit hydrocarbon exploration in Bolivia’s 22 national parks, to widespread condemnation from environmentalists.[231]

Third presidential term: 2014–2019

Morales with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the Third GECF summit.

In 2008, Morales had vowed that he would not stand for re-election in the 2014 general election.[248] However, he successfully did so and after proclaiming victory in the election, Morales declared it “a triumph of the anti-colonialists and anti-imperialists” and dedicated his win to both Castro and Chávez.[249][250][251]

On the basis of this victory, the Financial Times remarked that Morales was “one of the world’s most popular leaders”.[252] On October 17, 2015, Morales surpassed Andrés de Santa Cruz‘s nine years, eight months, and twenty-four days in office and became Bolivia’s longest serving president.[253][254] Writing in The GuardianEllie Mae O’Hagan attributes his enduring popularity not to anti-imperialist rhetoric but his “extraordinary socio-economic reforms,” which resulted in poverty and extreme poverty declining by 25% and 43% respectively.[255]

In early February 2016 there were rumors that Morales had had a child by a young woman, Gabriela Zapata Montaño, and had granted favors to the Chinese company for which she worked. Morales admitted that they had had a son (who had died in infancy), but denied vehemently any granting of favors and said he had not been in contact with Zapata Montaño since 2007.[256]

In February 2016, a referendum was held on the question of whether Morales should be allowed to run for a fourth term; he narrowly lost.[257] His approval rating had been damaged by the allegations concerning his relationship with Gabriela Zapata Montaño.[258] In December 2016 the MAS nominated Morales as their candidate for the 2019 presidential election regardless, stating that they would seek various avenues to ensure the legality of such a candidacy.[259] In November 2017, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Bolivia ruled that—in contrast to the constitution—all public offices would have no term limits, blaming American imperialism and influence for the referendum’s outcome, thus allowing Morales to run for a fourth term in 2019.[260] In May 2019, Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, supported Morales participation in the 2019 election.[261]

Morales attended the swearing-in ceremony of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro for his second term on January 10, 2019.[262] In April 2019, Morales condemned the arrest by the United Kingdom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.[263]

2019 election controversy and resignation

On October 20, 2019, Morales won 47.1% of the vote in the first round of the 2019 Bolivian general election. His closest rival was Carlos Mesa, with 35.5% of the vote. As the gap between Morales and Mesa was over 10%, a second-round run-off between them would not have been required.[264]

The results were immediately disputed and led to widespread protests across the country. Responding to the concerns and violent protests, Morales asked the Organization of American States (OAS) to conduct an audit of the vote count.[265] Morales said he would call for a second-round runoff vote with Mesa if the OAS’ audit found evidence of fraud.[264] Morales asked the protesters to observe a truce while the OAS conducted the audit but Mesa asked his supporters to maintain their strikes and street protests.[266]

On November 9, 2019, the Organization of American States (OAS) published a preliminary report that there were “clear manipulations” including physical records with alterations and forged signatures, and evidence of wide-scale data manipulation. The next day, Morales announced that fresh elections would take place.[267][268] The police joined the protests against Morales,[269] and on November 10, according to The New York Times: “the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, Gen. Williams Kaliman, said the military chiefs believed he should step down to restore ‘peace and stability and for the good of our Bolivia.'”[270][271] On November 12, Morales flew to Mexico and accepted asylum there.[272] Morales, along with the governments of MexicoCubaUruguayNicaragua, the Nicolás Maduro-led disputed government of Venezuela, as well as the President-elect of Argentina, maintain that his removal was a coup.[273][274][275][276]

Political ideology

The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism. That is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system, against a neo-liberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism. If the entire world doesn’t acknowledge this reality, that the national states are not providing even minimally for health, education and nourishment, then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated.

– Evo Morales[277]

Figures in the Morales government have described the President’s approach to politics as “Evoism” (SpanishEvismo).[278] From 2009, Morales has advocated “communitarian socialism”,[221] while political scientist Sven Harten characterized Morales’s ideology as “eclectic”, drawing ideas from “various ideological currents”.[279] Harten noted that whilst Morales uses fierce anti-imperialist and leftist rhetoric, he is neither “a hardcore anti-globalist nor a Marxist,” not having argued for the violent and absolute overthrow of capitalism or U.S. involvement in Latin America.[280]

Economically, Morales’s policies have sometimes been termed “Evonomics” and have focused on creating a mixed economy.[281] Morales’s presidential discourse has revolved around distinguishing between “the people”, of whom he sees himself as a representative, and the oppressive socio-economic elite and the old political class, whom he believes have mistreated “the people” for centuries.[282] Morales sought to make Bolivia’s representative democracy more direct and communitarian, through the introduction of referendums and a citizen-led legislative initiative.[283] George Philip and Francisco Panizza claimed that like his allies Correa and Chávez, Morales should be categorized as a populist,[284] because he appealed “directly to the people against their countries’ political and economic order, divided the social field into antagonistic camps and promised redistribution and recognition in a newly founded political order.”[285]

Various far left commentators have argued against categorizing the Morales administration as socialist. Bolivia’s Marxist Vice President Álvaro García Linera asserts that Bolivia lacks the sufficiently large industrialized working class, or proletariat, to enable it to convert into a socialist society in the Marxist understanding of the word. Instead, he terms the government’s approach “Andean and Amazonian capitalism”.[286] Marxist American sociologist James Petras has argued that Morales’s government is neither socialist nor anti-imperialist, instead describing Morales as a “radical conservative” for utilizing socialist rhetoric while continuing to support foreign investment and the economic status of Bolivia’s capitalist class,[287] while British Trotskyist academic Jeffery R. Webber asserted that Morales was no socialist but that his regime was “reconstituting neoliberalism”, thereby rejecting “neoliberal orthdoxy” but retaining a “core faith in the capitalist market as the principal engine of growth and industrialization.”[288] Similarly, Aymara activist Felipe Quispe characterised Morales’s government as “neoliberalism with an Indian [i.e. indigenous] face”.[289]

Personal life

First Lady Morales with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño.

Morales is ethnically Aymara, and has been widely described as Bolivia’s first democratically-elected President from the indigenous majority.[10][6] Although Morales has sometimes been described as the first indigenous president to be democratically elected in Latin America, Benito Juárez, a Mexican of the Zapotec ethnic group, was elected President of Mexico in 1858.[7] Biographer Martín Sivak described Morales as “incorruptible, charismatic, and combative”,[290] also noting that he had a “friendly style” and could develop a good rapport with journalists and photographers, in part because he could “articulate his opinions with simplicity”.[47] He places a great emphasis on trust,[291] and relies on his intuition, sometimes acting on what he considers omens in his dreams.[292] Harten said that Morales “can be a forceful leader, one who instills great respect and, sometimes, a reluctance in others to contradict him, but he has also learnt to listen and learn from other people.”[293] Farthing and Kohl characterised Morales as a “charismatic populist” of a kind common in Latin American history, who prioritized “a direct relationship” between the population and the leader.[294]

Morales is not married and upon becoming president selected his older sister, Esther Morales Ayma, to adopt the role of First Lady. He has two children from different mothers. They are his daughter Eva Liz Morales Alvarado and son Álvaro Morales Paredes.[295][296][297] Politician Juan del Granado is Eva Liz’s godfather.[295]

Morales has commented that he is only a Roman Catholic in order “to go to weddings”, and when asked if he believed in God, responded that “I believe in the land. In my father and my mother. And in cuchi-cuchi (sexual activity).”[298] According to some, Evo lives an ascetic life, with little interest in material possessions.[299] Morales inaugurated a $34 million (USD) La Paz residence (called “People’s Great House” or “Casa Grande del Pueblo”) in 2018. The Casa Grande del Pueblo is a 29-story skyscraper complete with a jacuzzi, sauna, gym, massage room, and rooftop helipad. It was designed by Bolivian architects and decorated with indigenous motifs representing traditional Bolivian culture.[300][301] The skyscraper was built to replace the former presidential palace, which Evo planned to turn into a museum. After signing the contract for the new building, Morales stated that it was “not a luxury” since it would also house cabinet meeting rooms, a centre for indigenous ceremonies and a 1,000-seat auditorium as well as rooms for exclusive presidential use.[301] Morales is an association football enthusiast and plays the game frequently, often with local teams.[302][303]

Morales’s unorthodox behavior contrasts with the usual manners of dignitaries and other political leaders in Latin America. During speeches he made use of personal stories and anecdotes,[304] and used coca as a political symbol, wearing a coca leaf garland around his neck and a hat with coca leaves in it when speaking to crowds of supporters.[305] Following his election, he wore striped jumpers rather than the suits typically worn by politicians. It became a symbol of Morales, with copies of it selling widely in Bolivia.[306][307] Unlike his ally Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, the MAS does not revolve around his personality.[293]

On July 4, 2018, Morales underwent emergency surgery at a private clinic in La Paz in order to remove a tumor.[308]

Influence and legacy

Morales with Enrique Peña Nieto and Justin Trudeau, Lima, Peru, 2018

Morales has been described as “the most famous Bolivian ever”,[5] whose personality has become “fixed in the global imagination”.[309] Morales’s government has been seen as part of the pink tide of left-leaning Latin American governments, becoming particularly associated with the hard left current of Venezuela and Cuba.[310] It has been praised for its pro-socialist stance among the international left,[224] who have taken an interest in Bolivia under his leadership as a “political laboratory”[311] or “a living workshop” for the development of an alternative to capitalism.[312] Domestically, Morales’s support base has been among Bolivia’s poor and indigenous communities.[6] For these communities, who had felt marginalized in Bolivian politics for decades, Morales “invokes a sense of dignity and destiny” in a way that no other contemporary politician has done.[313] He has received the support of many democratic socialists and social democrats, as well as sectors of Bolivia’s liberal movement, who have been critical of Morales but favoured him over the right-wing opposition.[314]

Based on interviews conducted among Bolivians in 2012, John Crabtree and Ann Chaplin described the previous years of Morales’s rule with the observation that: “for many—perhaps most—Bolivians, this was a period when ordinary people felt the benefits of policy in ways that had not been the case for decades, if ever.”[315] Crabtree and Chaplin added that Morales’s administration had made “important changes… that will probably be difficult to reverse”, including poverty reduction, the removal of some regional inequalities, and side-lining of some previously dominant political actors in favor of others who had been encouraged and enabled by his government.[315]

Critics, particularly in the U.S. government, have varyingly termed him “a left-wing radical, a partner of narco-traffickers and a terrorist”.[316] Opposition to Morales’s governance has centered in the wealthy eastern lowland province of Santa Cruz.[6] His policies often antagonized middle-class Bolivians, who deemed them too radical and argued that they threatened private property.[6] His most vociferous critics have been from Bolivia’s conservative movement, although he has also received criticism from the country’s far left, who believe his reformist policies have been insufficiently radical or socialist.[314] Many of these leftist critics were unhappy that Morales’s regime did not make a total break with global capitalism.[315] His regime has also faced many of the same complaints directed at previous Bolivian administrations, revolving around such issues as “concentration of power, corruption, incompetent bureaucracies, and disrespect for civil liberties”.[317]

Crabtree and Chaplin’s study led them to conclude that while Morales’s initial election had brought “huge expectations” from many Bolivians, especially in the social movements, there had been “inevitable frustrations” at his administration’s inability to deliver on everything that they had hoped.[318] They thought that the “heady optimism” that had characterized Morales’s first term in office had given way to “a climate of questioning and growing criticism of the government and its policies”.[315] Although the Bolivian economy had grown, the material benefits had not been as high as many Bolivians had hoped.[315] Crabtree and Chaplin argued that the experiences of his administration had “drawn attention to the difficulties involved in bringing change in the patterns of development in one of Latin America’s poorest and most unequal nations”.[319] Similarly, Harten thought that Morales’s discourse of “the people” against the socio-economic elites has brought a spotlight on the deep social polarization in Bolivia.[320]

See also

References

 

Bolivian security forces kill five and injure dozens when they open fire in ‘massacre’ of supporters of ousted president Evo Morales

  • Evo Morales exiled himself to Mexico last week after being accused of vote-rigging in an October election  
  • Supporter base has taken to the streets to protest his departure after his ouster caused gas prices to increase 
  • Five people are confirmed dead, while a nurse at a local hospital saw 75 injured protesters receive attention 

Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people, injuring dozens and threatening the interim government’s efforts to restore stability following the resignation of the former president in an election dispute.

Most of the dead and injured Friday in Sacaba near the city of Cochabamba suffered bullet wounds, Guadalberto Lara, director of the town’s Mexico Hospital, said. He called it the worst violence he’s seen in his 30-year career.

Angry demonstrators and relatives of the victims gathered at the site of the shootings, chanting: ‘Civil war, now!’

Security forces, pictured in uniform, opened fire on supporters of exiled President Evo Morales yesterday. At least five people died and dozens were injured (Pictured: Police detain a supporter of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, November 15, 2019)

Security forces, pictured in uniform, opened fire on supporters of exiled President Evo Morales yesterday. At least five people died and dozens were injured (Pictured: Police detain a supporter of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, November 15, 2019)

Evo Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous president who derived much of his support from coca leaf growers from rural communities (Pictured: Injured demonstrators are seen inside an ambulance in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Morales, who was granted asylum in Mexico after his resignation Sunday, said on Twitter that a ‘massacre’ had occurred and he described Bolivia’s government led by interim President Jeanine Anez as a dictatorship.

‘Now they are killing our brothers in Sacaba, Cochabamba,’ he said in another tweet.

Protesters said police fired when demonstrators, including many coca leaf growers who backed Bolivia’s first indigenous president, tried to cross a military checkpoint. Emeterio Colque Sanchez, a 23-year-old university student, said he saw the dead bodies of several protesters and about two-dozen people rushed to hospitals, many covered in blood.

Witnesses at the scene said they saw the corpses of several protesters and several dozen people rushed to hospital (Pictured: Police detain supporters of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)14

 

Morales has been granted permission to stay in Mexico and has been told that he may be charged for election fraud if he returns home. The ousted leader stood down on Saturday after he was accused of vote-rigging (Pictured: Backers of former President Evo Morales clash with security forces in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Anez, Bolivia’s interim leader, has also said that Morales will be barred from standing in the new presidential elections (Pictured: A doctor attends a man injured during clashes between security forces and backers of former President Evo Morales at a hospital in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Friday)

Earlier in the day, Anez said Morales would face possible legal charges for election fraud if he returns home from Mexico City, even as the ousted leader contended he is still president since the country’s legislature has not yet approved his resignation.

Bolivia’s interim leader also said Morales would not be allowed to participate in new presidential elections meant to heal the Andean nation’s political standoff.

Morales stepped down on Sunday following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an October 20 election in which he claimed to have won a fourth term in office. An Organization of American States audit of the vote found widespread irregularities. Morales has denied there was fraud14

A nurse at the hospital in Cochabamba told reporters the estimates given by the government were under the 75 people she saw injured (Pictured: Members of the military police try to destroy a flaming barricade in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia yesterday)

Bolivian officials have called on the interim government to investigate whether security forces acted within Bolivian law and in line with international human rights protocols (Pictured: Security forces form a human barrier against supporters of Evo Morales in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Families of the victims held vigil after the protests on Friday night (Pictured: A man shows spent casings during a candle service for the fallen protesters)

Families of the victims held a candlelight vigil late Friday in Sacaba. A tearful woman put her hand on a wooden casket surrounded by flowers and asked: ‘Is this what you call democracy? Killing us like nothing?’ Another woman cried and prayed in Quechua over the coffin of Omar Calle, which was draped in the Bolivian national flag and the multicolor ‘Wiphala’ flag that represents indigenous peoples.

Bolivia’s Ombudsman’s Office said it regretted the deaths during the joint police-military operation and called on the interim government to investigate if the security forces had acted within the constitution and international protocols on human rights.

‘We express our alarm and concern over the result of an attempt to stop a demonstration by coca leaf growers from entering the city of Cochabamba,’ it said.

Presidency Minister Jerjes Justiniano told reporters in La Paz that five people had been killed and an estimated 22 were injured. Lara, the hospital director, said that 75 people were injured.

Justiniano called for a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict.

‘What we’ve been able to determine through preliminary information is that they used military weapons,’ he said.

On Thursday, Morales told reporters that while he had submitted his resignation, it was never accepted by Congress.

‘I can say that I’m still president,’ he said.

Morales told reporters yesterday that he handed in his resignation but the government didn’t accept it. He said he is ‘still president’ (Pictured: Tear gas shells fired by security forces are placed with candles around coffins of backers of former President Evo Morales killed during clashes with security forces in Sacaba, Bolivia on Friday)

Supporters of Morales have been causing disruption across cities in Bolivia since their president was ousted. They violently reacted when the ouster forced the closure of schools and caused gas shortages (Pictured: Mourners attend the funeral of backers of former President Evo Morales)

Morales said he left because of military pressure – the army chief had ‘suggested’ he leave – and threats of violence against his close collaborators.

Anez dismissed the explanation.

‘Evo Morales went on his own; nobody kicked him out,’ she said at a news conference.

‘He knows he has accounts pending with justice. He can return but he has to answer to justice for electoral fraud,’ she added.

Supporters of Morales, who had been Bolivia’s president for almost 14 years and was the last survivor from the ‘pink tide’ of leftist leaders who come to power in South America, have been staging disruptive protests since his ouster, setting up blockades that forced closure of schools and caused shortages of gasoline in the capital.

In the capital, riot police fired tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators. Elderly people and children were caught in the violence and tried to seek shelter in businesses that had been shut behind metal sheets to protect against looters. Long lines formed outside some gas stations in La Paz after blockades in the nearby city of El Alto, a major distribution point for fuel.

Pictured is a grieving relative of one of the four farmers showing the bullets they were killed with in a clash with the police in Sacaba during a vigil held in the streets yesterday

Women walk past belongings of supporters of Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales after clashes in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday

A riot police officer with a Bolivian flag is seen in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday

‘There’s no gas,’ said Efrain Mendoza, a taxi driver from El Alto, who was forced to buy gasoline on the black market at twice the regular price.

‘Products are scarce. There’s no meat, no chicken, people are making long lines. It’s all because of the blockades,’  he said. ‘There’s division in Bolivia. It’s exasperating.’

Anez, the highest-ranking opposition official in the Senate, proclaimed herself president, saying every person in the line of succession ahead of her -all of them Morales backers – had resigned. The Constitutional Court issued a statement backing her claim that she didn’t need to be confirmed by Congress, a body controlled by Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism party.

Much of the opposition to Morales sprang from his refusal to accept a referendum that would have forbidden him from running for a new term.

Morales had upended politics in this nation long ruled by light-skinned descendants of Europeans by reversing deep-rooted inequality. The economy benefited from a boom in prices of commodities and he ushered through a new constitution that created a new Congress with seats reserved for Bolivia’s smaller indigenous groups while also allowing self-rule for all indigenous communities.

But many people became disenchanted by his insistence on holding on to power.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7692381/Bolivian-security-forces-kill-five-injure-dozens-protests.html

Story 2: Democrat Trump Madness Should End Thursday After Attempted Coup Cover-up Fails To Gain American People’s Support — No Evidence President Trump Did Anything Improper — No Crime — No Real Witnesses — Feelings, Hearsay, Opinions — Not Evidence — Big Lie Media — Videos

An Attempted Coup’ Says Trump

FISA order will uncover ‘corruption and bias’ at DOJ, FBI: Rep. Gaetz

Democratic call to defy Trump FISA order is an attempted coup: Judge Jeanine Pirro

Lou Dobbs Tonight 11/18/19 FULL | Trump Breaking Fox News November 18, 2019

Pence aide on Capitol Hill for impeachment probe

Pence aide´s testimony renews focus on VP´s Ukraine role

He knew nothing about the Ukrainian backchannel, his aides say.

He was unaware of a pull-aside meeting in Ukraine set up by a member of his own delegation, they insist.

And he was in the dark about a months-long campaign to push Ukraine´s leader to investigate President Donald Trump´s Democratic rivals, they attest – even as he met with and held calls with that leader.

Questions about what Mike Pence knew about the events that sparked the House impeachment investigation – and when he knew key facts – are back in the spotlight as an aide to the vice president testifies this week at a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. The inquiry centers on whether Trump abused his office for his own political gain by withholding crucial security aid from Ukraine as aides pressed the country´s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to announce an investigation into the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and into the business dealings of the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Pence´s team, for its part, is walking a thin political line in trying to make the case that the vice president was out of the loop on questionable aspects of Trump´s Ukraine policy while also presenting Pence as an influential voice in prodding the president to release the military aid.

Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer who was detailed to Pence’s office from the State Department, is set to testify Tuesday. She compiled briefing materials for Pence on Ukraine, was in the room when he met with Zelenskiy in September and was among the staffers in the Situation Room who listened and took notes during Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy.

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia, arrives for a closed-door interview in the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump's efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at the Capitol in Washington. A public appearance by an aide to Mike Pence before the House Intelligence Committee this week is drawing renewed attention to the vice president and what he knew about the events that sparked the House impeaching investigation.Williams is a career foreign service officer detailed to Pence's office from the State Department. She compiled briefing materials for him on Ukraine and was listened in on Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia, arrives for a closed-door interview in the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at the Capitol in Washington. A public appearance by an aide to Mike Pence before the House Intelligence Committee this week is drawing renewed attention to the vice president and what he knew about the events that sparked the House impeaching investigation.Williams is a career foreign service officer detailed to Pence’s office from the State Department. She compiled briefing materials for him on Ukraine and was listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In closed-door testimony to impeachment investigators earlier this month, Williams said Trump’s discussion of specific investigations in the July phone call struck her “as unusual and inappropriate.” The requests, she said, seemed tied to Trump’s personal political agenda instead of broader U.S. foreign policy objectives, and seemed to point to “other motivations” for holding up the military aid.

Yet Williams said she never raised her concerns with anyone at the White House, including her boss, Pence national security adviser Keith Kellogg.

Williams said she included a copy of the call´s rough transcript in the vice president´s briefing book, but she had no way of knowing whether Pence read it. Pence has said that nothing about the transcript struck him as off-base, but hasn´t said when he first focused on it.

As the impeachment inquiry moves forward, Pence is broadly following the careful approach he took during much of the first two years of Trump´s presidency, as special counsel Robert Mueller´s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election hung over the administration. At times, he seemed cut off from how decisions were being made.

After the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, Pence echoed administration talking points that the decision by Trump to fire Comey came only after the president received a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Days later, Trump undercut Pence and others by saying he was planning to fire Comey even before the memo and had considered it since the start of his administration.

Pence´s aides have spent recent weeks trying to distance him from the impeachment inquiry, as Pence himself insists the president did nothing wrong.

Pence spokeswoman Katie Waldman has said the vice president was unaware of efforts to push Zelenskiy to release a statement announcing investigations. And Pence has said no such push came up during his September meeting with Zelenskiy in Warsaw, even as the leaders discussed the U.S. military aid that was under review.

Waldman also said Pence was unaware of the “brief pull-aside conversation” that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, reported having with a top aide to Zelenskiy following the Pence-Zelenskiy meeting. Sondland has said he told Andriy Yermak that the “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”

Pence would hardly be the first vice president to find himself out of the loop.

Matt Bennett, who was serving as an aide to Vice President Al Gore when news of President Bill Clinton´s affair with a White House intern broke, recalled the vice president being caught offguard by the revelation. Bennett remembers Gore asking, “Who the hell is Monica Lewinsky?”

Compared with his recent predecessors, Pence has had less of an impact in shaping presidential policy initiatives, says Bennett. He said Trump often operates as a team of one.

George W. Bush, for instance, leaned heavily on Vice President Dick Cheney in carving out the rationale to launch the Iraq war and in designing the war on terrorism. Cheney was tasked to help vet potential running mates for Bush as a presidential candidate and ultimately ended up with the job himself.

Barack Obama asked Biden to spearhead his push to draw down troops from Iraq and deputized Biden to do the heavy lifting on an unsuccessful push to overhaul the nation´s gun laws following the rampage at Connecticut´s Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 26 dead. On the campaign trail, Biden often boasts that he was the “last person in the room” with Obama before every major decision.

Pence has instead largely served as an emissary for Trump, representing him on the global stage, defending his decisions and serving as a sounding board behind the scenes.

Some aspects of Pence´s involvement with Ukraine are still to be sorted out.

Williams´ closed-door testimony contradicted Pence aides who insisted the vice president canceled a planned trip to Ukraine for Zelenskiy´s inauguration in May because of logistical difficulties. Williams said under oath that a colleague had told her the trip was called off because Trump no longer wanted Pence to attend after initially pushing for him go, confirming previous reporting by The Associated Press.

But aides to Pence dispute that assertion, saying Ukraine´s Parliament formally set the date of Zelenskiy´s inauguration just a week before it took place on May 20. With the date up in the air, Pence´s team decided to instead send him to Canada to promote the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

In an email obtained by The Associated Press, Williams told State Department officials and officials at the embassy in Kyiv on May 13 that she regretted “that the Vice President´s schedule has changed and he will not be able to attend President-elect Zelenskyy´s inauguration.”

Pence aides also said Williams only would have heard about the cancellation fourth-hand at best. And they notably did not defend her from Trump´s tweeted attacks over the weekend, insisting Pence doesn´t know who she is.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-7699943/Pence-aide-s-testimony-renews-focus-VP-s-Ukraine-role.html

 

Story 3:

 

Hong Kong police storm university campus occupied by protesters

Police agreed to temporarily suspend their use of force at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the school’s president said Monday.
By Jasmine Leung, Yuliya Talmazan and Associated Press

HONG KONG — The president of a Hong Kong University said Monday that police have agreed to suspend their use of force after they tried to flush out protesters occupying the campus.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University President Jin-Guang Teng said police would allow protesters to leave the campus, and he would accompany them to the police station to ensure their cases “will be fairly processed.”

He said in a recorded video message that he hopes protesters “will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a peaceful manner.”

The announcement came after Hong Kong police stormed the university campus following an all-night standoff.

Police fired volleys of tear gas and water cannons outside the university, while protesters hurled bricks and gasoline bombs, setting an overhead footbridge on fire.

The clashes threatened to escalate the violence as protesters sought to hold off a police advance.

Amid the skirmishes, Hong Kong police said their media officer was struck with an arrow and taken to a hospital. Photos on the department’s Facebook page showed the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s lower leg through his pants.

Police later released a statement condemning the incident, adding that the officer remained conscious after he was taken to hospital.

The territory’s hospital authority could not immediately confirm the officer’s condition.

Image: Hong Kong police officer with arrow in leg

Hong Kong police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of a fellow officer during a confrontation with protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Sunday.Hong Kong Police Force via AP

Meanwhile, police deployed a long-range acoustic device, which emitted a loud noise for five to 10 seconds without warning, for the first time to help disperse the crowds.

Police said in a tweet that the device was used as a broadcasting system, not as a weapon, after speculation online that its use could cause dizziness, nausea or loss of sense of direction.

Sunday’s daytime faceoff came after a pitched battle overnight in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and gasoline bombs that left fires blazing in the street.

Many protesters retreated inside the Polytechnic campus, where they have barricaded entrances and set up narrow access control points.

Universities have become a new battleground for the protests after months of unrest in the semi-autonomous territory.

Traffic disruptions and class suspensions have become routine as protesters try to paralyze the city.

Protesters have largely retreated from several major campuses they held last week, except for the contingent at Polytechnic.

That group has employed new tactics involving flammable arrows and catapults. The demonstrators are also blocking access to Cross Harbour Tunnel, one of the three main road tunnels that links Hong Kong Island with the rest of the city.

“It’s not about the campus. It’s about what’s next to it,” said a 23-year-old masked protester who gave only his last name, Chow.

“We occupied the streets next to the campus because it’s the Cross Harbour Tunnel,” he told NBC News while sitting on the bridge outside the campus. “If we could first jam the traffic, then people couldn’t go to work and the economy in return would suffer.”

Image: Burning police vehicle
A police vehicle burns as protesters and police clash on a bridge at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Sunday.Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Police said Sunday that the “fortified” campus had stored “a large amount of offensive weapons, including flammable fluids.”

“The weapons and equipment used by the police simply cannot be comparable to ours,” Chow said. “They have real guns. They fire tear gas. They shoot rubber bullets at us.”

But police said in a tweet Sunday that the “violent activities” at the campus have “escalated to rioting” and warned that anyone who assists the protesters may be held legally liable.

Hong Kong has been plagued by anti-government protests sparked by a controversial extradition bill since June.

Although the bill has been shelved, protesters continue to take to the streets with a list of demands amid fears of mainland China’s growing influence.

“Government didn’t respond to us,” Chow said. “We have to hit and run.”

Meanwhile, a small group of Chinese soldiers at a base close to Polytechnic University were seen by NBC News monitoring Sunday’s clashes from afar.

On Saturday, Chinese soldiers dressed in shorts and T-shirts, some carrying red plastic buckets or brooms, emerged from their barracks in a rare public appearance to help residents clear debris blocking key roads.

Beijing has not interfered so far, saying the Hong Kong government can resolve the crisis.

But growing violence is posing perhaps the gravest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Jasmine Leung reported from Hong Kong and Yuliya Talmazan from London. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/hong-kong-protesters-fight-police-fire-arrows-n1084261

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1357-1361

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 1352-1356

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1343-1351

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1335-1342

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1326-1334

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1318-1325

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1310-1317

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download  Shows 1300-1309

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1291-1299

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1282-1290

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1276-1281

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1267-1275

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1266

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1256-1265

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1246-1255

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1236-1245

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1229-1235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1218-1128

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1210-1217

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1202-1209

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1197-1201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1190-1196

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1182-1189

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1174-1181

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1168-1173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1159-1167

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1151-1158

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1145-1150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1139-1144

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1131-1138

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1122-1130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1112-1121

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1101-1111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1091-1100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1082-1090

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1073-1081

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1066-1073

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1058-1065

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1048-1057

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1041-1047

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1033-1040

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1023-1032

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1017-1022

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1010-1016

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1001-1009

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 993-1000

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 984-992

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 977-983

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 970-976

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 963-969

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 955-962

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 946-954

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 938-945

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 926-937

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 916-925

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 906-915

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 889-896

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 884-888

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 878-883

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 870-877

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 864-869

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 857-863

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 850-856

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 845-849

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 840-844

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 833-839

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 827-832

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 821-826

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 815-820

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 806-814

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 800-805

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 793-799

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 785-792

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 777-784

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 769-776

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 759-768

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 751-758

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 745-750

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 738-744

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 732-737

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 727-731

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 720-726

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 713-719

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 705-712

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 695-704

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 685-694

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 675-684

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 668-674

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 660-667

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 651-659

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 644-650

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 637-643

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 629-636

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 617-628

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 608-616

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 599-607

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 590-598

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 585- 589

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 575-584

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 565-574

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 556-564

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 546-555

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 526-531

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 519-525

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 500-509

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 480-489

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 473-479

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 464-472

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 455-463

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 447-454

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 439-446

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 431-438

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1-9

;

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: