November 25, 2019
International racketeering in Bolivia: Denouncing & resisting the Bolivian military coup, from Honduras & Guatemala, to the U.S. & Canada
By Grahame Russell, Rights Action
Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. Parties coordinate and participate in racketing with the aim to obtain benefits, money and/or property from other parties, usually through intimidation or force. The term racketeering is typically associated with organized crime.
What is happening in Bolivia is once again U.S. and Canadian policies and interests at work in another country, in partnership with anti-democratic and repressive economic and military elites, with an eye to benefitting international companies and investors.
Bolivia, watch out!
Very soon, Canada - in full support of the U.S. - will come running to "restore democracy", "bring development" and "promote human rights". The signing of "free trade agreements" will soon follow. ... Err, that is to say, the U.S. and Canada will arrive to happily do business with corrupt, violent post-coup regimes, taking control of your mining, oil and gas sectors of the economy. For more information, please review recent U.S. and Canadian "democratic" interventions in Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Guatemala, Venezuela, ...
(Rights Action facebook post, November 11, 2019)
For all the wrong reasons, the coup in Bolivia helps explain why work and struggle for human rights, the environment and defense of territory, for real democracy, the rule of law and justice are so relentlessly difficult in Honduras and Guatemala, let alone in Haiti, now Bolivia, and beyond.
Every U.S. and Canadian-backed military coup (or other case of forced ‘regime change’) is proof again of the array of wealth and power, from the national and international levels, working in coordination against the well-being of the majority populations of Honduras and Guatemala, Haiti and Bolivia, etc.
The majority populations of these countries suffer and resist not only the racism, exploitation and repression, corruption and impunity of their own violent, anti-democratic elites, they suffer the abuse of power and wealth of the U.S. and Canadian governments and associated international companies, banks and investors that support, ‘legitimize’ and empower those economic and military elites.
News reports on Bolivian coup & role of U.S. & Canada
Open Letter: U.S. Faces Calls to End Support for Bolivia's Right-Wing Regime
(Truthdig, Nov. 24, 2019, https://www.truthdig.com/articles/scholars-and-activists-demand-us-end-support-for-bolivias-right-wing-coup-regime/)
“More than 800 academics, activists, and public figures published an open letter Sunday demanding that the United States and the international community end its support for the right-wing, anti-Indigenous regime in Bolivia that seized power following the military’s ouster of former President Evo Morales.”
Canada wrong to support ouster of Morales
(By Niigaan Sinclair, Winnipeg Free Press, 11/18/2019, https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/canada-wrong-to-support-ouster-of-morales-565079822.html)
“"My sin was being Indigenous, leftist and anti-imperialist," Morales announced during his resignation. He fled for his life, and Mexico has granted him refuge. Bolivia, meanwhile, is in chaos. On Thursday, Canadian officials announced Canada would support [the post-coup leader] Anez. […] The "will of the people," it seems, is to hate Indigenous Peoples. I’m just not sure which country we’re talking about.”
The Bolivian Coup Comes Down to One Precious Mineral
(By Vijay Prashad, Truthdig, Nov. 13, 2019, https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-bolivian-coup-comes-down-to-one-precious-mineral/)
“Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.”
You can't be neutral about the racist coup d'état in Bolivia. Another Trudeau, another Canadian-backed coup in Latin America
(By Derrick O'Keefe, Ricochet, Nov. 18, 2019, https://ricochet.media/en/2823/you-cant-be-neutral-about-the-racist-coup-detat-in-bolivia#_=_)
“The Trudeau minority government has failed to condemn a coup d'état against a democratically elected progressive leader in Latin America, even as the newly installed regime massacred people in the streets, hunted elected socialist leaders, and expelled accused subversives from the country. I’m writing, of course, about the Sept. 11, 1973, overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. Pierre Trudeau’s government quickly recognized the military junta that became one of the most notorious and murderous dictatorships of the 20th century.”
“The Bolivian coup regime is not content just to ban the most popular political figure in the country – President Evo Morales; it’s targeting his whole party. […] This dynamic has played out in recent coup d'états backed by Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative. In 2004 in Haiti and 2009 in Honduras, the removal of the elected president was followed by years of repression targeting progressive political forces and social movements.”
Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support
(By Max Blumenthal & Ben Norton, The Grayzone, Nov. 11, 2019, https://thegrayzone.com/2019/11/11/bolivia-coup-fascist-foreign-support-fernando-camacho/?fbclid=IwAR16jUxYvKVCsuhwBQJniZNbb9FkH10P1FlhycLQwWbZMlJPxphgH2vIik8)
“Bolivian coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho is a far-right multi-millionaire who arose from fascist movements in the Santa Cruz region, where the U.S. has encouraged separatism. He has courted support from Colombia, Brazil, and the Venezuelan opposition.”
What has Canada done for Bolivia? The response from Canada has been empty platitudes about ‘fair and transparent’ elections and ‘standing with the democratic will’
(By Andray Domise, Macleans, Nov 21, 2019, https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/what-has-canada-done-for-bolivia/)
“The rot of imperialism is a poison that has not only devastated the global south, but our own morals as well. It has respected people who profess to believe in human rights, individual freedoms and “rule-based international order,” enabling right-wing coups that we refuse to call coups, and then falling eerily silent once tear gas and machine guns are loosed on protesters.”
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Accountability and consequences for U.S. & Canadian racketeering
It is long past time for U.S. and Canadian citizens, politicians and our courts to hold our governments legally and politically accountable when they are directly involved with and/or support political criminality in other countries.
Every U.S. and Canadian-backed coup or illegal ‘regime change’ is a reminder that the poverty and violence, racism and corruption suffered by the majorities in these countries are also U.S. and Canadian issues and problems.
It is not enough, however, to critique the policies and actions of the U.S. and Canadian governments, and demand a change of course – though this is crucial. There must be real consequences for our policies and actions in support of military coups and regimes changes in other countries with a view to benefiting our economic and political interests.
Chipping away activism and education
U.S. and Canadian citizens must:
- Denounce the crimes and human rights violations of the illegal, military backed regime in power in Bolivia;
- Support, in any way one can, human rights and territory, justice and democracy defenders in Bolivia;
- Denounce the roles of the U.S. and Canadian governments in directly supporting and coup and/or legitimizing and empowering the illegal regime now in power;
- Denounce any movements by international companies, investors and banks to take advantage of the illegal regime in power and take control of key sectors of the Bolivian economy and resources.
Honduras and Guatemala
It is not an exaggeration to say that Rights Action’s work in Guatemala and Honduras continues to be in response to the violent, oppressive aftermath of the 1954 U.S.-orchestrated coup in Guatemala and the 2009 U.S. and Canadian-backed coup in Honduras, and to the involvement of the U.S. and Canadian governments, of numerous international companies, banks and investors in both countries, ever since these coups.
Rights Action supports all efforts to start to bring real political and legal accountability to (what should be considered) illegal and greed-driven policies of the U.S. and Canadian governments, being implemented with tax-payers’ money at the expense of the human rights, lives and well-being of the majority of the general populations of other countries, such as Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, etc.
And Rights Action re-dedicates ourselves to supporting the long-term work and struggle of the Honduran and Guatemalan people in defense of human rights, territory and the environment, and for the return of real democracy, the rule of law and justice.
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Rights Action (U.S. & Canada)
Since 1995, Rights Action funds human rights, environment and territory defense struggles and projects in Guatemala and Honduras; funds victims of repression and human rights violations, health harms and natural disasters; works to hold accountable the U.S. and Canadian governments, multi-national companies, investors and banks (World Bank, etc.) that help cause and profit from repression and human rights violations, environmental harms and forced evictions, corruption and impunity in Honduras and Guatemala.
Act – Stir up the pot – Chip away
Keep sending copies of Rights Action information (and that of other solidarity groups/ NGOs) to family, friends and networks, politicians and media – always asking the question as to why our governments, companies and investment firms benefit from and turn a blind eye to poverty, repression and violence, environmental and health harms that caused the forced migrancy / refugee crisis in Guatemala and Honduras.
Other solidarity/ NGO groups in U.S. and Canada
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T (Canada & U.S.)
o support our land, human rights and environmental defender partner groups in Honduras and Guatemala, m
- U.S.: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
- Canada: (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8