Moved: Stuart Munckton, Sydney Central.
The democratically elected government of Bolivian President Evo Morales, that nation’s first ever president to come from the ranks of the impoverished indigenous majority, is leading a process of change that aims to overcome 500 years of indigenous oppression and reverse two decade a brutal neoliberalism that has left Bolivia the poorest country in South America.
The Morales government has overseen a key popular demand for a constituent assembly for a new constitution based on justice and inclusion for the indigenous people. It has nationalized the country’s gas reserves and other industries and begun redistributing the wealth via programs aimed at assisting the poor.
Morales was elected with 54% of the vote, the highest in Bolivia’s history, and his mandate was re-endorsed in August 2008 with a remarkable 67% in a referendum.
Despite this democratic mandate, the United States government has worked overtime to destroy the government and the process of change it leads. The US has helped fund and organise the right-wing opposition in its campaign of destabilisation.
This campaign reached a head in September 2008 with a coup attempt by the opposition that involved fascist violence against state institutions, indigenous peoples and social movements. The Bolivian government expelled the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, for his role in coordinating the campaign to bring down the elected government. That month, the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) unanimously expressed its full support to the legitimate government of Evo Morales, repudiating the US-organised coup attempt.