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Luis Arce is Bolivia’s new President, following a year of political unrest spurred by a far-right coup. Photo: France24.com
Luis Arce is Bolivia’s new President, following a year of political unrest spurred by a far-right coup. Photo: France24.com

Bolivia Reiterates its Support for Socialism

Bolivians are celebrating the restoration of democracy after electing Evo Morales-backed President.

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The United States has gone through great lengths to stifle progressive parties and leaders in Latin America. This time, efforts proved futile.

The Centrist former President Carlos Mesa accepted defeat Monday, as polls solidly sided with socialist leader Evo Morales’ pick, Luis Arce.

Morales made history in 2005 by becoming Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, but the far-right government overthrew Morales in a coup in November 2019. 

It was an event that sparked outrage across the world, but of course, with U.S. interest both in resources and stifling socialist-progressive movements in Latin America, the far-right agitators were allowed to continue their agenda for just shy of a year. 

The coup installed Jeanine Áñez as president. Since her appointment, Bolivia’s 2020 election was postponed twice in a year riddled with protests calling out the government’s military tactics of suppression and continued violence against Indigenous communities.

If it sounds familiar, that may be in part because the conservative, interim regime is backed by the United States.

Former CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fully supported Morales’ ousting in 2019, and historically, the CIA is known to install its preferred regimes in Latin America.

It’s done it before in Bolivia, reported Vice. In 1971, The U.S. backed right-wing general Hugo Banzer in a coup against left-wing Juan Torrés. 

In spite of the far-right government’s best efforts, and U.S. interference to better serve itself, Arce won with over 50% of the vote.

If confirmed, Arce’s win will put the Indigenous-based socialist party, MAS or Movimiento al Socialismo, back in power. 

Arce, is Morales’ hand-picked successor. He’s known as a steadfast ally for nearly all of Morales’ 14 years of government, under which he served as economy minister.

This is no small thing because, throughout those 14 years, Bolivia went from being the region’s poorest country to its fastest-growing economy. It was hailed as a “Bolivian miracle,” and perhaps, under Arce, it can be redone.

But despite the victory, Bolivia must now play catch-up.

The challenge the country now faces is how to navigate the economic crisis exacerbated by the culmination of COVID-19, stay-at-home measures, reforms put in place by the short-lived, yet damaging coup, and more.

Perhaps Arce can mend it, or perhaps it will take a lot longer than the 11 months of the disorder. 

Despite what the U.S. says, about the next few months being a test for Latin American Socialism, or a “Socialist project”, Bolivia has already proven over 14 years that the system is possible if it is the will of the people. 

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