Sources: TeleSUR, JSC
19 February 2016
It is inconceivable that any set of informed people of sound mind would act against their personal interest and that of their community, nation and humanity in general. And so, one would think that the upcoming referendum in Bolivia is a done deal – Morales, ranked the 3rd most popular leader in the world last year-and his vice president will be allowed to run for office for a third term as this is clearly in the interest of the majority of the Bolivian people and the region.
Unfortunately, there are individuals who would like to have the country run in the interest of a small minority and that of international corporations. These individuals and corporations know that a key to making people act against their own interest and that of their nation lies in making the assumption “informed people of sound minds” null and void.
As the referendum drew close, what have we seen happening in Bolivia?
In January, opposition politician and three-time defeated presidential candidate Samuel Doria Medina attempted to smear President Evo Morales by alleging that he had recently received a US$200 haircut, presenting a receipt as “proof.”
The receipt, shared by Doria Medina on Twitter, turned out to be false and the politician deleted his tweet. This is part of a strategy of telling lies so much that they become the truth to the people.
More generally, social media users and opposition groups in Bolivia launched a coordinated campaign on social media to undermine the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, leading up to the country’s national referendum. According to the president of the Bolivian parliament, Gabriel Montaño, right-wing opposition groups have tried to discredit the president using memes, videos and blogs, as Bolivians consider increasing presidential consecutive term limits to three.
“These initiatives by the opposition have superseded the limits of a clean political campaign,” Montaño added.
On Thursday, Argentine political analyst Atilio Boron said “according to informed sources” the U.S. Embassy provided $200,000 for the “No” campaign in Bolivia. He revealed this information via an opinion piece published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada.
Boron also said this is not the first time that the U.S. has intervened financially in Bolivian affairs. Between 2003 and 2014, the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, spent over US$7.7 million to fund nearly 20 institutions in Bolivia, all of which contained political objectives, said Boron.
The Argentine analyst added that the referendum “will be the Bolivian people against the US empire. That is going to be a struggle.”
Bribe, lie, and divide, all a part of the effort to make people act against their long term personal and national interests.
As with other efforts in Latin America to change term limits for politicians, there is a lot of misinformation floating around regarding the upcoming referendum in Bolivia.
The opponents of the social change brought by the government of President Evo Morales, both domestically and abroad, are deliberately trying to confuse the public by suggesting that Morales is seeking to stay in power indefinitely.
The referendum will decide whether a constitutional term limit for presidents and vice presidents should be amended, and the outcome will decide if Morales, who has been president since 2006, will be permitted to run for office again.
The actual text of the referendum question reads: “Are you in agreement with the reform of Article 168 of the Political Constitution of the State so that the president and vice president of the state can be re-elected twice for consecutive terms?”
The constitution currently only allows for one consecutive re-election, the change would allow for three consecutive terms for the president and vice president.
Of course, should the referendum be approved, President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera would still need to win the election in 2019 in order to remain in office.
Even after a decade in power, the Morales government remains immensely popular, and his political opponents fear that he will once again win overwhelmingly. Despite their pronouncements about Bolivia’s democracy, this is why many in the opposition have chosen to campaign against the approval of the referendum.
Will the almost relentless attacks from the right wing and the media scupper the referendum, or will Bolivians chose to allow Evo Morales to run for three terms?
The result of tomorrow’s referendum will show the extent to which those who are telling lies, bribing and even creating violence have succeeded in making the people vote against their own self-interest.
Unfortunately, even if the people vote to allow a third term for the President and the vice president, this will not mark the end of the programmes of destabilization and interventions as the US seems to have an insatiable appetite for destroying the lives and economies of other nations.
Maybe Sander’s ‘political revolution’ which has ignited the US people and is challenging the establishment, will lead him to the White House and, along with the real power of the people, will be able to put an end to the US era of meddling in the affairs of other nations.