Details emerge of new right-wing coup plot in Bolivia ahead of election
Police drag away a supporter of the Movement Towards Socialism Party, MAS, after opponents of former President Evo Morales fought with MAS supporters outside a court of justice in La Paz, Bolivia, Oct. 5, 2020. | Juan Karita / AP

This original reporting first appeared in Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper.

Bolivia is on the verge of a bloodbath, the Morning Star was told Oct. 12, after details emerged of another plan by right-wing forces to derail next week’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

It is alleged that a new plot has been hatched that involves a mobile phone app allowing Bolivians to record which way they voted. The plan is to use data to undermine the legitimacy of the vote. According to sources, the technology has been developed by Edgar Villegas, who is understood to have been the mastermind of last year’s coup, which saw the ousting of democratically-elected President Evo Morales.

It is claimed that Villegas provided data on Excel spreadsheets to Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal using a formula created by himself that manipulated information to show voting irregularities—claims that have since been proven to have been unfounded.

The Morning Star was told that right-wing elements have resorted to this “plan B” after our exposure the week before last of a plot involving false-flag bomb scares targeting hotels accommodating international election observers, the intention being to implicate the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

The right wing hopes that the new plans will cast doubt over the legitimacy of the results, as MAS is expected to win both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Right-wingers hope it will trigger a series of acts forcing the resignation of MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce and the closure of the Bolivian congress.

Thousands of Bolivians joined MAS presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca, in a campaign event in El Alto, the second-largest city in Bolivia, on September 13. | Luis Arce / via Twitter

If all goes as planned, it is alleged, the constitution will be suspended and the elections annulled with a new poll taking place after a restructuring of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which will be packed with allies of the right-wing parties who will move to ban MAS from standing.

But sources told the Morning Star: “The reaction of the people will not be peaceful, therefore we are on the verge of a bloodbath, mourning, and pain.

“[The right-wing plotters] are willing to do anything for the economic interests of the protagonists and with the support of those interested in the exploitation of lithium.” Bolivia holds about 7% of the world’s known resources of the valuable metal.

On Sunday, meanwhile, footage circulated of what appeared to be a serving Bolivian soldier who claimed that Interior Minister Arturo Murillo was conspiring with army generals in a sinister plot to massacre Indigenous people and launch a coup should MAS win the election.

The unidentified soldier said that Murillo has armed paramilitaries with weapons and ammunition supplied by the U.S.

“We have been ordered to shoot to kill Indigenous people,” he appears to say in the recording. “We come from families in the countryside, and if we shoot Indigenous people, it is the same as shooting our own parents or the parents of our soldiers who are doing military service.

“We are threatened that we will be sacked if we do not obey those orders,” the man said.

Bolivia goes to the polls on Sunday, Oct. 18.


Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist. Steve Sweeney escribe para Morning Star, el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña. También es miembro del Comité Nacional de la Asamblea Popular, patrocinador de la campaña Paz en Kurdistán y un orgulloso sindicalista.