The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers.
The events in Bolivia lay bare the central role that racial subjugation has always played in the “New World,” a hemisphere whose “discovery” by Europeans resulted—within the span of only 50 years—in the death by genocide and pandemic of fully a 5th of the Earth’s human population.
The Conquistadors frenzied “primitive accumulation” of precious metals, mined by enslaved Natives who died quicker than they could be replenished, created a demand for the capture and importation of millions of Africans with immunities to both European and tropical disease.
For centuries, until deep into the 1700s, the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere’s population was Indigenous and Black, with African slaves comprising the great bulk of newcomers to the New World. Thus was laid the material basis for the rise of Europe, the beginnings of capitalism and the global supremacy of Whiteness.“My crime is to be a union leader, to be indigenous…and anti-imperialist,” said Evo Morales, the three-time elected president of South America’s most indigenous nation as he entered exile in Mexico. Bolivia is roughly two-thirds native.
Morales’ election victory, October 20—his 4th since 2005—was aborted in the ensuing weeks by rampaging gangs of thugs employed by oligarchs based in the Whitest—and most fossil fuel-rich—regions of the country who terrorized, beat and kidnapped government and Movement for Socialism party officials and their families and eventually laid siege to the capital in La Paz, with no resistance from the police and army.
Unable to protect his comrades or kinfolk, Morales resigned, and was quickly replaced as president by the leader of the White-dominated minority legislative party. Morales’ party had won absolute majorities in both houses of the legislature, but was left leaderless and terror-struck by the coup. The White rump prevailed.
The United States did not immediately recognize the new government of right-wing and admittedly racist, Senator Jeanine Añez Chavez, but will doubtless soon do so, having schemed incessantly for regime change ever since Morales joined Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (1998) and Brazil’s Lula da Silva (2003) to set in motion Latin America’s “pink tide.”
When Argentina (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner), Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega) and Ecuador (Rafael Correa) elected leftish presidents in 2007, U.S. imperial power sank to its nadir in the hemisphere. But the CIA never sleeps, and neither do the White oligarchs who remained at the commanding heights of the economy and media in the “pink”-led nations of the hemisphere.
One by one, the anti-imperialist presidents were removed, with U.S. assistance, in Brazil (2016), Ecuador (2017) and Argentina (2015), for a time leaving only Venezuela and Nicaragua in the anti-imperialist camp—along with, of course, Cuba, which has not had a U.S.-allied oligarchic class to contend with since the revolution of 1959.
Luckily for Morales, in 2018 Mexico elected leftish president Lopez Obrador, who quickly facilitated asylum for Morales—as Mexico had done for countless political exiles throughout its history. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was also returned to power in Argentina, this year. And Brazil’s “Lula” was released from prison earlier this month pending appeal of his conviction on corruption charges, reinvigorating a demoralized left in the hemisphere’s biggest country.
The CIA never sleeps, nor do the White oligarchs
Of the U.S. presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders expressed alarm over the forced ouster of the democratically elected president in Bolivia. “I am very concerned,” Sanders tweeted, “about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions.”
Given that Sanders once called Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez a “dead dictator ” and slandered current president Nicholas Maduro as a “vicious tyrant ” as recently as last September’s presidential debate, that’s a great improvement. But a President Sanders might find himself seeking asylum in Mexico if he tried to radically reform U.S. policy in Latin America, which is intimately allied with the maintenance of White elite rule in the region in collaboration with multinational capital. In Latin America, U.S. influence means White Power.
When White secessionists began a drive to form their own nation in the natural gas fields of eastern Bolivia, they were befriended by the U.S. ambassador, who had previously been a key player in prying the province of Kosovo from Serbia.
Glen Ford is the executive editor of blackagendareport.com