Protests across U.S. declare: Defend Evo! U.S. hands off Bolivia!

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As news spread of the Nov. 10 right-wing coup against President Evo Morales, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) and Indigenous communities of Bolivia, anti-imperialists and progressive forces worldwide prepared to take action. In the U.S., Struggle-La Lucha newspaper and the Socialist Unity Party immediately issued a call for emergency actions to “Defend the Life of Evo Morales and Stop the U.S.-Fascist Coup” from Nov. 11-17.

Baltimore

On Nov. 11, the Socialist Unity Party in Baltimore called an emergency demonstration to condemn the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia and to defend the life and freedom of Evo Morales. A small crowd gathered at the foot of the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon Place to rally behind a banner that read, “No coup in Bolivia — Defend Evo Morales.”

Representatives of the organizations present, including the People’s Power Assembly, Youth Against War and Racism, the Black Alliance for Peace, the Answer Coalition, the Malaya Movement Baltimore, Friends of Latin America and the Baltimore Green Party, addressed the crowd. Speakers made connections between imperialist war and U.S. interventions abroad, and racist and sexist oppression at home. 

Everyone agreed: solidarity and unity among anti-imperialists is necessary now to put a stop to the terror being wrought by the U.S. and the war profiteers.

 

Los Angeles

An emergency demonstration was held Nov. 11 at the Bolivian Consulate in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles. Well over 100 activists formed a loud and militant picket line with chants demanding an end to the U.S.-backed coup and pledging solidarity to Evo Morales and all the Indigenous people of Bolivia forced to endure this racist attack against their self-determination. 

The action was initiated by Unión del Barrio, the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and the Socialist Unity Party/Partido por el Socialismo Unido, and joined by other organizations, including Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales, the American Indian Movement SoCal, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front) and MEChA de UCLA. Maria Flores of UdB and Jefferson Azevedo of SUP/PSU chaired the rally. 

A much smaller crowd of pro-U.S. imperialism, anti-Morales right-wingers tried to shut down the action, but were met with a wall of sound and bodies refusing their encroachment into the demonstration, forcing them to eventually leave. 

Corporate media outlets were also present covering the demonstration. The event was live-streamed and photos were constantly being posted to social media. Reflecting on the success of the action, Unión del Barrio later noted on the Facebook event page: “It was beautiful to see so many leftist and indigenous organizations in LA unite to stand in solidarity with Evo Morales and the people of Bolivia!”

New York

Groups affiliated with the Venezuela Rapid Response Network held an emergency protest against the coup in Bolivia during the evening rush hour on Nov. 11. Hundreds turned out at the Bolivarian Mission to the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan and filled an entire city block between 42nd and 43rd streets with a noisy sidewalk picket line. 

Protesters chanting “USA! CIA! Hands off Bolivia!” carried Wiphala flags symbolizing the role of Indigenous Bolivians in the government of Evo Morales, and held signs and banners alerting passersby to the threats against the life of Bolivia’s legitimate president. As protesters gathered, the news was just breaking that Morales and Vice President Álvaro García had accepted an offer of political asylum from the government of Mexico because, as the MAS reported, there was an active assassination plot against them by the Bolivian police.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who praised the racist, anti-people coup as a triumph of “democracy,” was in New York for a Veterans Day event. Protesters decided to take their message directly to Trump Tower, where they made clear that the White House and U.S. Congress would be held responsible for the threat to Bolivia’s sovereignty and Evo’s life.

Fiery talks were given near Trump’s Tower of Greed by Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement, Lucy Pagoada-Quesada of the Libre Party of Honduras and Nikki Gulay of BAYAN USA. Representatives of Brazil’s Lula Livre movement, the Answer Coalition, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and others offered words of solidarity and fightback. 

Speaking for Struggle-La Lucha, protest organizer Bill Dores said, “On Nov. 10, 1898, in Wilmington, N.C., the Ku Klux Klan overthrew the last of the elected Black Reconstruction governments that fought for the workers and poor, Black and white and Native. And yesterday, Nov. 10, 2019, the Indigenous-led government of Evo Morales in Bolivia was overthrown, because it also fought for the poor. They want to unleash the same kind of terror that was unleashed in the South against Black people. 

“We stand with Evo Morales, the Movement Toward Socialism and the Indigenous-led struggle in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, because they are fighting for all of the working class and the poor. It’s one struggle all over the world.”

Organizations from the Rapid Response group are planning another action for Saturday, Nov. 16, beginning at 1 p.m. at 10 Columbus Circle, the New York headquarters of CNN and the Time Warner media monopoly. 

Demonstrations have been held in many other cities, including Chicago, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. More protests are planned. For updates, visit the events page at Struggle-La-Lucha.org.

Bayani, John Parker and Greg Butterfield contributed to this report.

SLL photos: Emma Rose, Maggie Vascassenno, Greg Butterfield