Category Archive: Roger Burbach Blog Entries

The United States: Orchestrating a Civic Coup in Bolivia

By Roger Burbach

November 17, 2008

Evo Morales is the latest democratically-elected Latin American president to be the target of a US plot to destabilize and overthrow his government. On September 10, 2008 Morales expelled US Ambassador Philip Goldberg because “he is conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia.”

Observers of US-Latin American policy tend to view the crisis in US-Bolivian relations as due to a policy of neglect and ineptness towards Latin America because of US involvement in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. In fact, the Bolivia coup attempt was a conscious policy rooted in US hostility towards Morales, his political party the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) and the social movements that are aligned with him.

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Bolivia’s Popular Upheaval: Social and Indigenous Movements March on Santa Cruz, Bastion of the Right Wing

By Tanya M. Kerssen and Roger Burbach

A popular upheaval is sweeping Bolivia, threatening the departmental capital of Santa Cruz, the bastion of the right wing rebellion against the government of Evo Morales. Some twenty thousand miners, peasants and coca growers are moving on the city to reclaim state institutions occupied by autonomist forces. They are also demanding the resignation of the Santa Cruz prefect (governor), Rubén Costas, and the apprehension of Branko Marinkovich, an agro-industrial magnet who heads up the Santa Cruz Civic Committee comprised of large land owning and business interests.

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Confronting Right Wing Rebellion, Bolivian President Evo Morales’ Commitment to Democracy Evokes Memories of Salvador Allende

By Roger Burbach

As Bolivia teeters on the brink of civil war, President Evo Morales staunchly maintains his commitment to constructing a popular democracy by working within the state institutions that brought him to power. The show down with the right wing is taking place against the backdrop of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the overthrow of Salvador Allende, the heroic if tragic president of Chile who believed that the formal democratic state he inherited could be peacefully transformed to usher in a socialist society.

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The Rise of Food Fascism: Allied to Global Agribusiness, Agrarian Elite Fomenting Coup in Bolivia

By Roger Burbach

Like many third world countries, Bolivia is experiencing food shortages and rising food prices attributable to a global food marketing system driven by multinational agribusiness corporations. With sixty percent of the Bolivian population living in poverty and thirty-three percent in extreme poverty, the price of the basic food canasta–including wheat, rice, corn, soy oil and potatoes, as well as meat—has risen twenty-five percent over the past year with prices gyrating wildly in the local markets.

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United States Maneuvers to Carve Up Bolivia with Autonomy Vote

By Roger Burbach

The illegal referendum held on Sunday to declare autonomy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s richest province, is backed by the Bush administration in an attempt to halt the leftward drift of South America. While the US embassy in La Paz blandly declares its support for “unity and democracy” in Bolivia, the government’s Interior Minister Alfredo Raba states what is widely known, that the United States “has an agenda more political than diplomatic in Bolivia, and this agenda is linked to opponents of the current government.” Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of the country, bluntly declares: “The imperialist project is to try to carve up Bolivia, and with that to carve up South America because it is the epicenter of great changes that are advancing on a world scale.”

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The Constitutional Battle in Bolivia: Indian President Evo Morales Confronts Violent Opposition

By Roger Burbach

While international attention is focusing on President Hugo Chavez and the Sunday referendum on the Venezuelan constitution, a conflict that is just as profound is shaking Bolivia. Evo Morales, the first Indian president of the country, is forcing a showdown with the oligarchy and the right wing political parties that have stymied efforts to draft a new constitution to transform the nation. He declares, “Dead or alive I will have a new constitution for the country by December 14,” the mandated date for the specially elected Constituent Assembly to present a constitution for the country to vote on by popular referendum.

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The Final Battle in Bolivia

By Roger Burbach

Evo Morales, the first Indian president of Bolivia, is forcing a showdown with the oligarchy and the right wing political parties that have stymied efforts to draft a new constitution to transform the nation. He declares, “Dead or alive I will have a new constitution for the country by December 14,” the mandated date for the specially elected Constituent Assembly to present the constitution.Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linares states, “Either we now consolidate the new state – with the new dominant forces behind us, or we will move backwards and the old forces will again predominate.” A leading trade union leader, Edgar Patana, put it bluntly: “The final battle has begun, and the people are prepared for it.”

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Ecuador’s Popular Revolt: Forging a New Nation

By Roger Burbach

This article is published in NACLA’s Report on The Americas, The Multipolar Movement? Latin America and the Global South, September-October, 2007**

Ecuador was in a festive mood May 1, 2007 as tens of thousands rallied in Quito to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Trade unions, barrio committees, professional associations, and an array of social movements and leftist political parties marched to the city’s historic San Francisco Plaza. Among the marchers was President Rafael Correa and members of his cabinet. Correa later addressed the throng, proclaiming that this May Day represented “an epochal change,” both for Ecuador and all of Latin America. “This is the socialism of the 21st century,” he said, “the recognition of the supremacy of those who work over capital.”

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Ecuador: The Popular Rebellion Against the “Partidocracia” and the Neo-Liberal State

A CENSA Strategic Study
By Roger Burbach

On January 15, 2007, Rafael Correa assumed the presidency of Ecuador after running against Alvaro Noboa, the richest man in Ecuador who’s company the Noboa Group is on the Fortune 500 list. Correa, who held no prior elective office, did not represent any political party. After his name on the ballot were the words “Alianza Pais” meaning Country Alliance, a name chosen when he announced his candidacy. Alianza Pais endorsed no candidates who ran for election in the country’s unicameral Congress.

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Ecuador’s Nascent Leftist Government Victorious in Confrontation with Right

By Roger Burbach
March 23, 2007

Featured in the Guardian UK

Roger Burbach

The two month old government of leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and the popular movements that back him have emerged triumphant in their first battle with the oligarchy and the traditional political parties that have historically dominated the country. Correa in his inaugural address in January called for an opening to a “new socialism of the twenty-first century” and declared that Ecuador has to end “the perverse system that has destroyed our democracy, our economy and our society.”

Correa’s presidency is rooted in a militant mass movement that has been mobilizing and challenging the country’s ascendant economic and political interests for years. The Ecuadorian political system, referred to as a “partidocracia,” is run by factious political parties dominated by oligarchs who pull the strings on a corrupt state that includes Congress, the Supreme Court, as well as the presidency until Correa’s election. Even Michel Camdessus, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, once commented that Ecuador is characterized “by an incestuous relation between bankers, political-financial pressure groups and corrupt government officials.”

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