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What you need to know about the Bolivia Crisis

We are careening towards finals at a terrifying pace, and with everything going on with domestic politics this week, it can be hard to keep up with global developments. This week, we’ll be highlighting the developing situation in Bolivia. For this course, there are no prior pre-reqs, but now you can keep up with your crazy smart relative on Thanksgiving. 


Photographer: Marcelo Perez del Carpio/Bloomberg

What happened?

In late October, Evo Morales (above) ran for a fourth term as president (an unprecedented action that required legal arguments to even get on the ballot. The count showed that Morales won the election, but allegations of fraud and accusations of authoritarianism led to a wave of protests. These protests, in conjunction with politicans and the military calling for his resignation, caused Morales to step down and flee to Mexico

Why does this matter?

Morales was the longest serving leader in Latin America, and the last of the “pink tide” of leftist leaders. Furthermore, Morales was Bolivia’s first Indigenous President and many saw his presidency of symbolic of the progress that indigenous people have made in Latin America as a whole. Some, in the new government, are removing symbolic and political progress towards indigenous representation in Bolivia. This crisis could lead to ethnic tensions in the region becoming violent, especially since five people died in a Pro-Morales protest on Friday.

Was it a coup?

That depends on who you ask. Evo Morales says yes, as do many of his supporters and international allies. The White House and Bolivian Interim President Jeanine Áñez claim that the ousting of Morales represent an uprising by the people in order to restore democracy to Bolivia. 

Latin America’s history of violent coups and military oustings certainly makes this a sensitive question in the region. 

What’s coming next?

No one knows. Though it seems likely that clashes between pro-Morales protesters, anti-Morales protesters, and the police will continue. The long term future of Bolivia remains uncertain. 

She is a Junior and majoring in International Development and Social Change. PC: Rose Wine Photography
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