World Socialist Website - November 14, 2019

Tens of thousands of workers marched on Thursday from the predominantly working class and indigenous city of El Alto to the capital of La Paz—a distance of 15 miles—demanding the ouster of the coup regime that has assumed power in Latin America’s poorest country. The protesters continued to confront military repression into the night.

Jeanine Áñez, the right-wing vice president of Bolivia’s Senate, proclaimed herself president and named a far-right cabinet and new military leadership to organize repression of the growing resistance to the US-backed coup that overthrew the government of President Evo Morales on Sunday.

Expressing widespread sentiments among those protesting, an indigenous worker in El Alto told a reporter, “We are here fighting because we will never again humiliate ourselves and kneel down to these transnationals that have always controlled and humiliated us until today.”

After asking Morales to resign last Sunday, the Bolivian Workers Central (COB), the main trade union confederation, threatened on Tuesday to call an indefinite general strike if the Áñez regime doesn’t “re-establish the constitutional order in 24 hours.” However, no further announcement has been made.

The timid response by Morales, the formerly ruling MAS and its aligned institutions like the COB has exposed their fears that an upheaval against the coup will turn into a political movement to overthrow the capitalist order that they have defended for 14 years.

Morales, who was whisked out of Bolivia by the Mexican Air Force, escaping an arrest warrant and threats by far-right groups, has now called for “talks with the four parties in Congress,” including those that carried out the coup. He has offered to return to Bolivia to help “pacify the country” and has called for the intervention of the Pope.

Right-wing thugs and police on Wednesday blocked members of the Bolivian Senate, including its MAS president Angela Salvatierra, from entering the legislature. Under pressure from the military, Salvatierra had announced her resignation, following the example set by Morales and his vice president, clearing the way for Áñez to proclaim herself president, without any confirmation by the national legislature, in which the MAS holds the majority of seats.

Early on Thursday, MAS legislators met and elected Sergio Choque as president of the lower chamber. Choque is a deputy for El Alto with a background in the Federation of Neighborhood Councils (FEJUVE) in the city that has largely led the anti-coup protests. He first called on “all mobilized sectors to calm down,” and then promoted a bill ordering the military to return to their barracks—an attempt to feed illusions that the military will obey the forces it just overthrew. ...
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