Monday, November 11, 2019

The Coup in Bolivia: Five Lessons
THE Bolivian tragedy eloquently offers us lessons that our peoples and popular social and political forces must learn and record in our consciousness forever.

Atilio Borón | internet@granma.cu
November 11, 2019 12:11:32

THE Bolivian tragedy eloquently offers us lessons that our peoples and popular social and political forces must learn and record in our consciousness forever.

Here is a brief list, as events develop, a prelude to a more detailed analysis in the future.

First: No matter how well the economy is managed in an exemplary fashion, as the Evo government did - with growth, redistribution, investment all assured, and all macro and microeconomic indicators improved - the right wing and imperialism will never accept a government that does not serve their interests.

Second: Manuals published by various agencies in the United States, and their spokespeople disguised as academics or journalists, must be studied, so we recognize signs of an offensive in time.

These writings invariably highlight the need to destroy the reputation of popular leaders, with accusations of misappropriation, corruption, dictatorial behavior, and ignorance, which in the specialized jargon is known as character assassination.

This task is entrusted to social communicators, self-proclaimed “independent journalists,” who given their quasi-monopoly control of the media drill such defamations into the brains of the population, accompanied, as seen in this case, by hateful comments directed toward native peoples and the poor in general.

Third: Once the aforementioned has begun, next come right wing political leaders and economic elites demanding "a change," an end to Evo's "dictatorship," who, as the unpresentable Vargas Llosa wrote a few days ago, is a "demagogue who wants to eternalize his term in power.”

I suppose he is toasting with champagne in Madrid, watching coverage of the fascist hordes looting, burning, chaining journalists to posts, cutting a female mayor’s hair and covering her with red paint, destroying result reports from the last election, fulfilling the mandates of Don Mario, freeing Bolivia from an evil demagogue.

I mention this case because Vargas has been, and is, the immoral standard bearer of this vile attack, a horrendous crime that has crucified a popular leadership, destroyed democracy, and established a reign of terror run by hired gangs, to punish a worthy people who have the audacity to seek freedom.

Fourth: "Security forces" now enter the scene. In this case we are talking about institutions controlled by numerous military and civilian agencies of the United States government.

These professionals train the local forces, arm them, conduct joint exercises and educate them politically. I had the opportunity to verify this when, on Evo’s invitation, I presented a course on anti-imperialism for high ranking officers in the nation’s three armed forces.

On this occasion, I was horrified by the degree of penetration, among these individuals, of the most reactionary U.S. slogans, inherited from the Cold War era, and by the open irritation they felt given the fact that the country had an indigenous President.

What these "security forces" did was to withdraw from the scene and leave the field open for the uncontrolled action of fascist hordes - like those in Ukraine, in Libya, in Iraq, in Syria - to overthrow leaders who annoyed the empire - or attempt to do so, in the last case - and thus intimidate the population, activists, and government figures themselves.

In other words, a new socio-political phenomenon: a military coup “by default,” letting reactionary gangs, recruited and financed by the right, impose their rule. Once terror reigns, and the government is defenseless, the outcome is inevitable.

Fifth: Bolivia’s security and public order should never have been entrusted to institutions such as the police and the Army, colonized by imperialism and its lackeys in the national right wing.

When the offensive against Evo was launched, a policy of appeasement and not responding to the provocations of fascists was chosen.

This served to embolden the right wingers and increase their confidence. First, they demanded a recount; then, cried fraud and called for new elections; finally insisting on elections without Evo - as in Brazil, without Lula.

At last, Evo's resignation. Given his refusal to accept the blackmail, terror was sowed with the complicity of police and the military, forcing Evo to resign. By the book, straight from the book. Will we learn these lessons? (From the author's blog)
Cuba Condemns Coup in Bolivia
Head of Cuban mediacal brigade in Bolivia confirms that the more than 700 collaborators across the nation are safe

Granma | internet@granma.cu
November 11, 2019 09:11:28

The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, strongly condemned the coup in Bolivia on Sunday, stating on his Twitter account, “With a violent, cowardly coup the right wing has attacked democracy in Bolivia.“Our forceful condemnation of the coup and solidarity with brother President Evo Morales Ayma. The world must be mobilized to preserve the life and freedom of Evo,” he insisted.Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla likewise tweeted the ministry’s condemnation of the coup and expressed solidarity with Evo, leader and symbol of the demands for justice of the original peoples of Our America.The 701 members of the Cuban medical brigade in Bolivia are safe, with all necessary provisions, and are being kept informed of events in permanent communication with the mission’s leadership, stated Yoandra Muro, head of the brigade in that nation, speaking on Cuban television.On November 9, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a declaration stating, “Disregarding electoral institutions and the people’s mandate expressed at the polls, sectors of the Bolivian opposition, with the support and leadership of the United States and regional oligarchies, have launched a coup with the aim of denying the Bolivian people the electoral result. The opposition coup strategy has led to severe violence across the country, which has cost lives, hundreds of wounded, and expressions of racism toward original peoples.”

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced on Sunday his resignation given increasing violence by opposition groups challenging the results of elections held October 20.

"I decided to resign from office so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho would cease abusing and harming thousands of brothers ... I have the obligation to seek peace and Bolivians fighting amongst ourselves hurts a great deal, for this reason I am submitting my letter of resignation to the Plurinational Assembly of Bolivia," he stated.“This is not a betrayal of social movements; the struggle continues; we are the people. We have liberated Bolivia, we are leaving a liberated homeland, developing, with generations that very much have a future,” Morales concluded.
Regional Leaders, Movements Express Solidarity with Evo Morales Amid Coup Attempt
A supporter of Bolivia's President Evo Morales holds a portrait of Morales during a march, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Telesur

Regional leaders and organizations expressed Saturday their support and solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales after his government denounced that an attempted coup is underway by right-wing forces seeking to oust his leftist government after he was declared the winner of the Oct. 20 elections.

"My full support to the president @evoespueblo in the face of this attempt to interrupt the constitutional order," Argentinian President-elect Alberto Fernandez said in a tweet Saturday night. "The region together with the international community, we must follow this situation closely and act in case of any event that implies an institutional breakdown."

The ALBA-TCP countries also issued a statement expressing "support for the Bolivian government and institutions and denouncing the attempted coup d'état in progress, while calling for the return to peace" and supporting Morales' call for dialogue with opposition parties.

The Cuban government also issued messages of support to the government of Bolivia and denouncing the coup attempt by right-wing forces.

"A coup d'etat is underway against the legitimate President of Bolivia,@evoespueblo," Cuba President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in a tweet. "The right-wing opposition refuses to recognize their defeat at the polls and resorts to violence against the constitutional order. We strongly denounce this coup attempt!"

The messages of solidarity came just hours before Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that he was calling new presidential elections after a night of major unrest and violence across the country led by the right-wing opposition.

Saturday saw some of the most violent nights in the country as opposition protesters burned down the houses of two governors as well as the house of the sister of President Morales. Violent protesters also took over two state media outlets and threatening their staff. The signal of Bolivia TV was taken off air for more than eight hours.

Meanwhile, supporters of President Morales took to the streets in different cities across the country, saying that they wish to protect the nation's democracy and constitution against the attempted coup by the right-wing opposition.

Morales also called for calm and peace amid opposition protests and mobilizations, which have turned violent, against his victory in the Oct. 20 elections. "We all have the obligation to make Bolivia peaceful."

"I make a call of respect between families, of private properties, of authorities, of all the social sectors. All we have in Bolivia is the legacy of the people, and between Bolivians, we can't come against each other to inflict harm," the president said.

Morales made the announcement after consulting with different social movements in the country. he made the announcement of the new elections alongside Juan Carlos Guarachi, leader of the labor union federation (COB) and Segundina Flores, executive secretary of the Indigenous women organization Bartolinas.

His announcement also came shortly after the Organization of American States (OAS) issued its audit report on the elections of Oct. 20 in which it recommended the holding of new polls

Meanwhile, Bolivians living in Argentina, Germany and other countries around the world in support of President Morales and in rejection of right-wing violence. 
Major Police Repression Against Evo Morales' Supports, 1 Dead
A man is detained during clashes between supporters of Bolivian President Evo Morales, who announced his resignation on Sunday, and opposition supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 11, 2019.

11 November 2019
Telesur

Multiple unions and social movements have come out against the coup and said that they refuse to recognize Morales' resignation as it was forced on him by the military.

Residents of the city of El Alto, in the department of La Paz, took to the streets Monday to protest against the coup d'etat that forced the resignation of Evo Morales, however, they were met with violent police repression, in which officers are reportedly using live ammunition and rubber bullets.

"After the first day of the civic-political-police coup, rebellious police use bullets to cause deaths and injuries in El Alto. My solidarity with those innocent victims, among them a girl, and the heroic alter people, defender of democracy," Morales said from his Twitter account Monday.

According to videos posted by residents of El Alto on social media networks, among the injured are two people and a girl who were shot and evacuated by protesters.

Protesters denounce that the Bolivian police joined the coup against Morales, with the support of the now ex-commander of the Yuri Calderón institution.

"The first thing we have to do is organize groups in all cities, we will proceed to arrests to grab all the heads that are causing anxiety, we will take back the city," Calderón said when he resigned.

Multiple unions and social movements have come out against the coup and said that they refuse to recognize Morales' resignation as it was forced on him by the military after weeks of right-wing violent protests and attacks.

Earlier in the day, Morales condemned right-wing opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Lusi Camacho for failing to stop the violence in the country and warning that they intend to blame him for such violence instead of taking responsibility following the coup against his leftist government.

"Mesa and Camacho, discriminators and conspirators, will go down in history as racists and coup plotters," Morales said in a tweet early Monday morning. "That they assume their responsibility to pacify the country and guarantee the political stability and peaceful coexistence of our people. The world and Bolivian patriots repudiate the coup."

He was forced to resign Sunday after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government has called a coup by opposition forces in the country.

“I decided to resign from my position so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho stop abusing and harming thousands of brothers ... I have the obligation to seek peace and it hurts a lot that we face Bolivians, for this reason, so I will send my letter of resignation to the Plurinational Assembly of Bolivia,” the former president of Bolivia said in a press release.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera also said that he was resigning from his position. The two leaders said that they would be handing their resignation letters to the country's National Assembly.

Since both President and Vice Presiden resigned, the president of the Senate, a position held by Adriana Salvatierra of the MAS party was supposed to assume the post but she later issued her resignation as well as the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
Bolivia in Crosshairs of US Counter-revolution
By teleSUR
Cindy Forster

Demonstration in support of Bolivian President Evo Morales after he announced his resignation on Sunday, in Buenos Aires. | Photo: Reuters

11 November 2019

In essence, Morales resigned to halt a campaign of terror. Paramilitary violence is being practiced by the right-wing and it has escalated.

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales Ayma has just resigned. Hours earlier, surrounded by leaders of the grassroots mass organizations that serve as a sort of “people’s cabinet,” he had called for new elections and a renovated Supreme Electoral Tribunal to oversee that process. These are political decisions since according to the Constitution he won the elections of October 20.

In essence, Morales resigned to halt a campaign of terror. Paramilitary violence is being practiced by the right-wing and it has escalated. For weeks, those who look Indigenous have been attacked, with several deaths. More recently, a spate of attacks against MAS politicians and journalists has sought to drive fear into the majority of poor and rural Bolivians who deeply identify with the changes brought by 13 years of progressive rule under the guidance of Evo Morales.

The governing party, Movement toward Socialism (MAS), also made a political decision to ask the Organization of American States (OAS) to conduct a recount before the results were known, and the OAS has just made public preliminary results saying that there were serious problems, however, Evo Morales may well have won the elections. Nevertheless, they advised that new elections be held.

Yesterday, Bolivian social movements in La Paz, the center of government, answered the calls of the right-wing for president Morales to resign with their own ultimatum: That the leaders of the right depart the city of La Paz within 48 hours and leave its inhabitants in peace. They announced that in the face of police mutinies, the social movements would form a civil police force to protect the constitution and its elected representatives. In a tradition of struggle that is hundreds of years old, they announced they would encircle La Paz, however, they would do so peacefully.

The president’s logic is clear: “Bolivia is living moments of conflict with the risk of grave confrontations among Bolivians. As president, my principal mission is to protect life, preserve the peace, social justice, economic stability, and the unity of the Bolivian family.”

The situation is dire and as always, the devil’s in the details that the right-wing press does not divulge. An anatomy of recent events reveals critical factors silenced by the mass media. These factors will unfold in the coming weeks and months in correlation with the international response.

How the coup plan has unfolded

On the evening of election day in Bolivia as votes were being counted, the rightwing candidate Carlos de Mesa realized that Evo Morales was quite possibly winning in the first round. De Mesa took that moment as the opening volley in the planned coup to topple MAS, the Movement toward Socialism led by Evo Morales Ayma. De Mesa abrogated the role of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and declared himself in a run-off election with Morales, the Indigenous president who has led most Bolivians from conditions of nineteenth-century servitude to an era of dignity and national sovereignty.

De Mesa's arrogance is breathtaking. It also mirrors his faith in his funders and handlers, the old elites and the Trump administration. The usual players in the Republican right wish to boycott an Evo Morales administration in Bolivia, and U.S. operatives, in addition to those in the embassy, have been wandering around the countryside to create rightwing foci of resistance. Evidence of the coup-plotting that took place in the United States may be found at https://postcuba.org/embajada-de-eeuu-en-la-paz-su-accionar-encubierto-e...

While the United Nations twice urged all political leaders in Bolivia to avoid violent acts and “follow the legal norms,” the United States is claiming to do the same but in fact promoting a campaign to escalate tensions and delegitimize the elections. It is a pattern that reaches back to the origins of the Movement toward Socialism. Washington gives refuge to the bloodiest of the exiles from the 2003 “Gas War,” among them Carlos Sanchez Berzain, the Defense Minister of ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (or Goni for short) who killed 67 during the 2003 peaceful protests. They fled the country protected by the US embassy and are reportedly deeply involved in coup plans at present. Sanchez Berzain is leading anti-Evo protests on the turf of right-wing Senator Marco Rubio, of ultra-right fame, in Miami.

The defeated candidate Carlos De Mesa was coached by the United States on creating a large urban base that is fed astonishing lies, delivered via Facebook and WhatsApp.  De Mesa was Goni’s vice president in the early 2000s and became president when Goni fled the wrath of the people he massacred. Moreover, de Mesa has said all along that he would not recognize any outcome except his own victory, the same stance as his political ally Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, another president close to Washington.

Almost one million votes out of about 7.3 million in total had not been counted when de Mesa told the world that massive fraud had occurred, an allegation he has been unable to prove. The uncounted votes on the night the polls closed were overwhelmingly from the countryside and also the exterior, including immigrant workers. Among them were almost 100,000 Bolivians in Argentina of whom 82% voted for MAS.

De Mesa knows he has never been a favorite of Campesinos nor of immigrant workers living abroad. He also realized that he would keep losing votes to a far-right evangelical candidate. Hence, de Mesa and his sponsors wanted the tabulation of votes brought to a dead halt while he still stood less than 10 percentage points distant from Evo's lead. A 10% point lead is the cut-off point for winning in the first round if the candidate has gained at least 40% of the vote.

Reflect for a moment on de Mesa’s strategy: its absurdity, its illegality, and its novelty in the arsenal of U.S. coup strategies that have ranged in this century from kidnappings (in Haiti and Honduras) to parliamentary coups built on a scaffolding of lies (in Paraguay and Brazil). The resounding victory of MAS in the vote of October 20 includes the presidency, almost 85% of all Bolivian municipalities, and a majority in both the Senate and the chamber of deputies.

Right-wing militants unleashed violence that night, long before the rural Acts representing one-seventh of the electorate had arrived at the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. As in the past, these votes have won the contest in Evo’s favor.

Some 100 youth were paid by de Mesa and his associates to wreak havoc, according to government intelligence and confessions of youth transporting explosives who were arrested at the airport, and also the deathbed confession to the family of a young man recruited to create street chaos. He was preparing an explosive projectile that misfired and destroyed his head. His family knew he was earning good money but had not known how. Bolivia’s Indigenous cardinal Toribio Ticona, a man who shined shoes and worked in the mines before he became a priest, charged de Mesa with responsibility for the mayhem he has directed.

Local electoral tribunals were trashed and set on fire, forcing a person to leap out of the second-story of a burning building, while others fled the blows of the rightwing coalition. At the same time, representatives of all the parties, including de Mesa’s, had people inside the tribunals verifying the vote count. It was an odd way to stop electoral fraud. In several zones of the city of La Paz, right-wing attacks against election officials achieved the theft of their packages of votes being delivered from the countryside, and one of the packages was burned. In the more well-heeled sections of La Paz, thousands of right-wing demonstrators took the streets, humiliating women in Indigenous dress and police who were protecting government buildings.

The not-so-new paramilitaries

Those who attack with violence run the gamut of opposition movements over recent years, among them a group of dissident coca growers tied to narcotrafficking; a sector of miners abandoned to their own devices in the 1980s when mass layoffs imposed by the government shook the country, and these particular miners made common cause with the mining oligarchy; a sector of La Paz teachers that has always resisted MAS from a position at the far left of the political spectrum; and a sector of doctors and medical students that has been on strike who are opposed to the progressive expansion of free health care to cover all citizens. Various right-wing civic committees such as that of the city of Potosi announced far in advance that they would boycott elections. The youth of the city of Santa Cruz organized in “shock brigades” have been trying to kill people they call Indigenous since the start of the MAS era. Often, their violence takes place in the context of secession efforts by lowland elites.

Lowland Santa Cruz is a proudly mestizo and white heartland of agro-industry whose elite attempted to break the Movement toward Socialism with the guidance of the U.S. ambassador in 2008, adopting the symbols of the crusades. The hyper-racist president of the Santa Cruz civic committee has emerged as a power comparable to de Mesa. His name is Luis Fernando Camacho and in the tradition of those elites he represents, Camacho positions himself as the voice of white superiority inspired by “my Christ the Redeemer.” He looks like he has just arrived from the golf course, he is alleged to have taken part in the Panama Papers tax-dodge scandal, and his methods are fascist. Supported by the arch-conservative politicians of Santa Cruz, he is coordinating paramilitary attacks.

In 2008, the Union of Santa Cruz Youth (UJC by its initials in Spanish) gained international attention as fascists by reason of their symbols, their language and their actions, as the fighting arm of elites who tried to secede from the Plurinational State of Bolivia led by Evo Morales. “Brother Evo,” as he is known to his peers, belongs to a people known for their courage, the Aymara of the high Andean plain. Like many, his family migrated in the neoliberal crisis of the last century, and from harvesting potatoes and herding llamas, they turned to growing coca in the subtropical stretches bordering the Amazon that gave rise to one of Latin America’s most battle-tested labor movements. The middle-class UJC youth abhor everything Morales represents, and in those early years, the president was not able to travel to Santa Cruz due to their death threats.

UJC is part of a hemispheric network of right-wing paramilitary forces and has received ample support from its international allies.  Appearing to be well-fed youth if we are to judge by their physique, they fight with bare torsos and have a fondness for liquor, even according to their leader Fernando Camacho who harangued them, “We cannot disrespect our Christ by continually drinking and listening to music.” When they don shirts, they are black shirts.

Alongside that tight-knit group built on a kind of white-settler pride, the political right has been recruiting young criminals nationwide with the lure of drugs and money. For those who are university youth, often their presence is less costly: Their professors make their grades contingent on their participation. The La Paz public university is the operational center for warehousing of arms and explosives and lodging youth trained in paramilitary techniques, recalling events in Nicaragua in 2018. They enjoy the protection of the Rector, Waldo Albarracin, who controls the autonomous space of that institution.

After winning, Evo’s observations about the opposition became much more direct: “Where did they come from? The come from the dictatorships …(and) they passed the government back and forth between them from 1985 to 2003.” He asked, “Where did (Samuel) Doria Medina come from: From (implementing) the privatizations. Tuto (Jorge) Quiroga? (From being vice president to the dictator) Banzer.”

Fernando Camacho for his part oversaw the burnings of homes and vehicles, beatings and provocations, and warned at a rally that his method of punishing traitors was the same as that of the infamous Colombian narcotrafficker Pablo Escobar, charged with 5,500 killings. Camacho added that the discovery of traitors would be followed by jail sentences rather than murder. Curiously, at just about that juncture, Carlos de Mesa changed his stance from that of favoring an OAS recount of the votes, now taking place, to being categorically against that recount (de Mesa’s actions are detailed below).

In his latest tactic, Camacho gave an ultimatum to resign to leftist and Indigenous president Evo Morales Ayma, who just won the elections by 47.08 percent as opposed to 36.51 percent garnered by the right. Camacho reportedly plans to guide the lowland region of Santa Cruz into secession from Bolivia, and then win the civil war that he hopes to incite.

The targets of right-wing wrath

As is true anywhere, the majority of the people in the sprawling city of Santa Cruz are poor, mainly migrants from the Indigenous nations of the Amazon and Chaco or the Aymara and Quechua nations of the high Andes. One-third of Santa Cruz has always voted for the political project of MAS –the same proportion as that of the left in many other countries– and in Santa Cruz the number of MAS votes is rising. When the poor were brutalized and sent to the hospital, a crowd gathered outside the hospital shouting, “Camacho, assassin!” and “We don’t want any strike, we want to work.”

Working-class residents of La Paz expressed their fear of the impending violence when de Mesa challenged the vote count on October 20. Said one woman, “They hate us” –she is Indigenous– “and everything we have won, they want to destroy. Carlos de Mesa killed us with Goni, and they want to return to that time.”

Since the right is trying to shut down the country, they attack vendors and storekeepers who resist the call for a general strike and they have brought to a halt the city of Santa Cruz. There, youths enter working-class neighborhoods known to be bastions of MAS, armed with bats, sticks and explosives. Now they are using homemade bazookas and sticks with nails embedded. Their racist epithets are constant. They destroy local MAS campaign headquarters and the offices of Campesino groups. One hundred UJC youth tried to lynch journalists.

Rightwing students in Sucre, who shut down the constitutional assembly in that city years ago and badly bloodied Indigenous Campesinos, this October set the electoral tribunal on fire. Others attacked the president’s home in Cochabamba. In the lowland, tropical department of Pando, at 2 am long after the tribunal declared a victory for MAS, 150 motorcyclists from the right-wing forces attacked the home of the governor who was forced to flee to safety with his small children and his wife.

Cabinet ministers are receiving threatening phone messages and social media calls are being made to target their homes, with vandalism committed against the property of growing a number of them. Said the Minister of Government Carlos Romero whose children are receiving threats from the opposition: “I am right here if you need to threaten someone, but don’t threaten my children.”

After days of right-wing attacks, in the city of Montero in Santa Cruz, people of the age of the parents of the youths started clearing the debris and removing the blockades. UJC leaders got word, and transported armed youths to the scene. Their leader said, “If it’s bullets they want, I’ll give them bullets.” In cold blood, two of the MAS supporters were then killed, Marcelo Terrazas and Mario Salvatierra. One of the accused killers was dressed in full camouflage gear with all but his eyes covered by a black bandana, in other words, he was dressed like a paramilitary. The alleged killers and a number of their accomplices have been arrested.

The lies of the losing candidate

De Mesa is notorious for his lies, one of the most infamous being his promise of justice, made when Goni fled, for those killed and injured in 2003. Unconscionably, the turmoil he unleashed in recent weeks had the public support of none other than the Organization of American States (OAS). They seemed to be joined at the hip with Carlos de Mesa. The OAS was at that point demanding a second round of elections, in violation of Bolivia’s constitution. They called for a special meeting on Bolivia at their headquarters in Washington, with an ominous representation of less than admirable politicians: The governments of Brazil, Colombia and, lastly, Venezuela, by which they mean the U.S.-installed puppet Juan Guaido, who has been in the news these past few days for the revelation of his pact with Colombian paramilitaries, in which he contracted their violent services in exchange for allowing them control of the Colombo-Venezuelan border.

The actions of the OAS are unconscionable because they declared the vote count in Bolivia had stopped, however that assertion was one of de Mesa’s lies. The country of Mexico took the lead in rejecting the favoritism of the OAS mission toward the right.

The official vote tabulation never halted. What stopped was the rapid count, called the Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Results or TREP in the Spanish acronym. The prior agreement was that TREP would only tabulate 80% of the total vote. On Sunday evening, October 20, having reached 83.85% of the total vote, TREP measured a lead of 4% by Evo Morales Ayma over Carlos De Mesa. De Mesa said the TREP count proved there was going to be a run-off election between the two of them and demanded a TREP count of 100%. He claimed that a count of 100% had been promised. De Mesa was lying, according to the highest levels of MAS leadership.

Though it was not part of the original plan, the TREP count was reinitiated and the following night, Monday, at 23:59 hours, TREP made public new results representing 95.63% of the entire vote, showing that Evo Morales had won in the first round by the necessary 10% difference over Carlos De Mesa.

At that point, De Mesa executed an about-face and insisted that TREP had joined a massive fraud against him. For the record, when de Mesa won with Goni against MAS, the difference was just 42,242 votes, while today, MAS has won by over 640,000 votes. Clearly, de Mesa would be satisfied with nothing less than overturning the elections.

At the time the polls were closed, 12 copies of the Act that sums up the votes at each polling place, signed by the representatives of each political party, were distributed among them. A photograph of the Act was also sent via the internet to the Supreme Electoral authorities. These photos are available to the public on-line and easily investigated.

But those who allege foul play are not investigating anything, they are fanning what Bolivians of diverse political persuasions are calling "a psychosis." De Mesa’s few claims of fraud in the Acts that record the votes of each polling station, presented to the authorities, have been shown to be errors that were corrected, according to evidence on the same sheet of paper that was hidden from public view when Carlos de Mesa’s forces made the argument for fraud. 

Middle-class militants are fervent believers in the idea of stolen elections, absent real evidence.  Meanwhile, the right-wing is encouraging panic buying of foodstuffs and for those who have cars, filling their tanks. It is a recipe for inflation. The MAS government has managed to guarantee food provision in most of the country with the exception of Santa Cruz.

The OAS agreed to the request made by the winning party MAS to recount the vote. Their condition is that the two leading candidates would accept the results as binding. That recount started on October 31 and is due to conclude on November 13. De Mesa is now refusing to submit alleged proofs of fraud to the OAS, claiming the OAS is a pawn of MAS.

De Mesa’s lies spare no one. Most recently, he claimed that the recount of the vote requested by the winning party was arranged unilaterally with the Organization of American States. The OAS had to publicly challenge de Mesa, who at that point conceded that the OAS had telephoned him repeatedly to win de Mesa’s consent to abide by the recount.

The Bolivian people versus the thuggery of the right

Workers and Campesinos have declared a state of emergency against the return of the “privatizing oligarchs.” They organized enormous marches in the department of La Paz, the heartland of Aymara resistance which ignited the massive protests of 2003 that brought down president Goni. Bystanders applauded them as the social movements arrived from the edge of the vast canyon in El Alto to its depths in La Paz.

The intransigence of Carlos de Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho is clear, as their militants descend into an abyss of chaos. On November 6 they attacked thousands of Indigenous women in Cochabamba who marched with their children in support of Evo Morales. The racist rage of the right-wing is there for all to see. Women in Indigenous dress were kidnapped, and MAS mayor Patricia Arce (formerly a Campesino union leader), was beaten, dragged through the dirt and doused with red paint in ritual fashion. She was made to kneel and beg for forgiveness. It is a “punishment” that the right uses repeatedly. Women in the grassroots of MAS point out that it is their sons who are being paid to join the shock brigades and attack their own mothers.

Massive rejection of the right-wing violence now includes many of those who voted for de Mesa, some high churchmen close to the oligarchy, and tens of thousands of women who have marched in the last weeks, first to demand respect for the rural and Indigenous vote and then to decry the cruelties unleashed against those marching women. Bolivia has one of the highest representations of women politicians on earth and putting aside political affiliations, they have urged their compatriots to abjure violence. The rationality of MAS, the United Nations, the vast Indigenous and Campesino populations and their urban relatives, and millions of mobilized women is such that the escalating savagery of the right can only be explained by a single factor: U.S. patronage. 
Morales Denounces ‘Illegal’ Warrant
‘I think we have to keep a close eye on what the military does over the next few hours’ regional expert warns

Vincent Wood
Independent UK

Former Bolivian president Evo Morales has denounced what he has claimed was an “illegal” warrant for his arrest, as supporters of the outgoing leader were accused of setting fire to his opponents’ homes.

Mr Morales announced his resignation after weeks of protest against his administration, following allegations he had rigged the recent election to remain in office for a fourth term.

However he has since claimed he was the victim of a military coup – and that the police were preparing to take him into custody.

In a tweet Mr Morales, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, said: “I report to the world and Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he has instructions to execute an unlawful apprehension order against me; in addition, violent groups also stormed my home.”

Noting that he had been “moved to tears” by support, he added: “The coup plotters who assaulted my house and that of my sister, set fire to homes, threatened the death of ministers and their children and vexed a mayor, now lie and try to blame us for the chaos and violence they have caused.

“Bolivia and the world witness the coup.”

Police general Yuri Calderon denied any order to apprehend Mr Morales had been issued.

However, footage circulating on social media did appear to show citizens – including small children – walking through the ransacked remains of the former leader’s house.

Meanwhile the homes of journalists and opposition politicians have been set alight, with political rival Waldo Albarracin blaming a blaze at his own house on “bands of criminals related to Evo Morales”.

Saying there was “nothing left” of his home, he added: “This crime against humanity shows once again the criminal face of Evo Morales and his government regime that has just left power after his flagrant electoral fraud that was discovered.

“The material losses are large, a whole life’s work destroyed in an hour, yet I have bad news for Evo Morales – his criminals failed to kill us, we are still alive”.

On hearing of his resignation, protestors set fire to a coffin to symbolise the end of Mr Morales’s presidency after 13 years and nine months of rule – part of celebrations that saw citizens take to the streets of La Paz with flags and fireworks.

His critics claim Mr Morales took advantage of a supreme court stacked in his favour to do away with the term limits set out in the nation’s constitution, and accused him of rigging a 20 October election that sparked weeks of protest and civil unrest in the administrative capital of La Paz.

The Organisation of American States (OAS), which audited the election, found “serious irregularities” in the voting process.

However both Mr Morales and his supporters say he has been the victim of a military coup, the first since the deposition of Walter Guevera Arze in 1979.

His resignation came hours after the head of the country’s military called on Mr Morales to step down, while appealing to Bolivians to desist from violence.

In the UK, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote on Twitter: “To see Evo Morales who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling.

“I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice and independence”.

It is currently unclear if the heads of the nation’s armed forces have manoeuvred to seize power in the country.

“I think we have to keep a close eye on what the military does over the next few hours,” said Jennifer Cyr, associate professor of political science and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona. “Are they overstepping their role?”

She added the power vacuum created by the resignation of both Mr Morales and his vice president “opens up space for the military to potentially step in”.

Additional reporting by AP
Democrats on Edge as Iowa Points to Chaotic Race
BY JONATHAN EASLEY
The Hill
11/11/19 06:00 AM EST

Democrats are on edge less than three months out from the Iowa caucuses, as a four-candidate pileup and Michael Bloomberg’s potential candidacy injects a new level of uncertainty into an already chaotic race.

The crowded field of contenders has made it difficult for any one candidate to pull away.

The latest Quinnipiac University survey of Iowa underscores the up-for-grabs nature of the race, finding a three-way statistical tie for first place, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 20 percent, followed by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) at 19 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at 17 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent.

Those figures are mirrored almost exactly in the latest New York Times–Siena College survey of Iowa.

Perhaps most importantly, more than half of likely caucusgoers in Iowa haven’t made a final decision on who to support.

All of the top-tier candidates have reason to believe they could be the one to win the Iowa caucuses and get the subsequent jolt of momentum that could carry them to the nomination.

“Historically, when two or more people are vying for the nomination, the leader will change in the final weeks before the caucuses,” said Des Moines Register pollster Ann Selzer, whose surveys and methods are viewed as the gold standard in the Hawkeye State.

“People are excited about the idea of a leader in the race and there’s an urge for a true front-runner to rise to the top, but that’s not how it works with a field like this.”

It appeared for a while that Warren might run away with the nomination, but her national poll numbers have dipped in recent weeks amid sustained attacks from Biden and Buttigieg and new scrutiny of her "Medicare for All" plan.

Still, many Democrats view Warren as the front-runner in Iowa, where she leads the next closest contender by 4.5 points in the RealClearPolitics average.

Warren invested early in a ground game and is in a strong position financially.

She appears to have the broadest base of support in the state, with the Quinnipiac poll finding her a close second to Sanders among “very liberal” voters and leading the field among those who consider themselves only “somewhat liberal.”

Warren is tied with Buttigieg as the candidate that voters list as their backup choice in the Quinnipiac survey.

In Selzer’s June poll, Biden and Warren were tied at 61 percent when voters were asked who they’re actively considering as either a first or second choice.

But Biden held steady at 60 percent in Selzer's poll from September, while Warren jumped 10 points, to 71 percent.

“That was an early indicator for us that there is something going on around her campaign,” Selzer said.

Buttigieg is perhaps the biggest surprise of the cycle, surging 10 points in the RealClearPolitics average of Iowa polls over the past month and moving into second place in recent surveys.

Buttigieg is a fundraising force, and he's crowding into Biden’s center-left base of support in Iowa. The Quinnipiac survey finds him slightly ahead of Biden for self-described “moderate and conservative” voters in the state.

He also leads among white voters with a college education and is the top second choice for voters currently supporting a candidate polling at under 15 percent, which could come into play if low-polling candidates drop out of the race before voting begins.

Buttigieg is expanding his staff in Iowa from 100 to 130 people and now has 21 offices open across the state.

“He’s definitely surging,” said Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman. “The question is whether he can continue that, particularly now that he’s more likely to be the focus of attacks on the debate stage.”

Sanders has been overlooked by many in the political class and has faced questions about whether he would drop out after recently suffering a heart attack.

But Sanders has seen his poll numbers rise in recent weeks amid renewed enthusiasm from the thousands of supporters attending his rallies and the endorsements from three members of “the squad," a group of prominent progressive congresswomen.

In the Quinnipiac survey, Sanders is the top choice among “very liberal” voters and with white voters who do not have a college education, highlighting his blue-collar appeal in the Midwest state.

Sanders’s base is the most committed, with 61 percent of his supporters saying they will definitely vote for him, a far greater figure than Biden’s 48 percent or Warren’s 44 percent.

The Vermont senator’s supporters are also the most energized, with 52 percent in the Quinnipiac survey saying they’re extremely excited to caucus — a 20-point lead over Buttigieg, who is a distant second place on that question.

“In the end, he’s got that Bernie ride-or-die vote,” said one Democratic fundraiser who backs Biden.

Meanwhile, political analysts have been bracing for months for the floor to fall out from underneath Biden, but his national standing remains strong and his firewall among black voters in South Carolina is holding firm.

Biden’s team has sought to downplay the importance of Iowa, but he’s still in the thick of things there, buoyed by 35 percent support among voters aged 65 and older, who are likelier than young people to show up on caucus day, according to Selzer’s September poll.

Biden’s money woes and perceived weakness as a front-runner may be nudging former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the race, but even with all the questions swirling around his campaign, the former vice president has stayed within the margin of error in most polls of Iowa.

Some Democrats say the close race is good for Democrats — noting that a spirited contest to the end will keep grassroots voters engaged and ensure a big turnout for the general election against President Trump one year from now.

“It’s good for us to have an exciting final sprint, rather than a sleepy race,” said Feldman. “It keeps our grassroots energized and engaged, and we’re going to need that all the way through 2020 to beat Trump.”

But others are despairing, worried that Trump is stockpiling an unparalleled campaign bank account and that the divisive primary will depress Democratic turnout at the end of it.

“Nobody is running away with this thing and there are so many undecideds, it really will come down to the last two weeks before,” said the Democratic fundraiser. “It’s the worst thing that could happen for us right now. The media loves to focus on the whole ‘Dems in disarray’ thing. This is a prime example of us not getting our shit together and getting behind a candidate, let alone the right candidate. We just love the circular firing squad.”
Sanctions: It’s Time to Hit Back at US and its Puppets
11 NOV, 2019 - 00:11
 
FLASHBACK . . . SADC nationals take part in an anti-sanctions march in solidarity with their Zimbabwean counterparts on October 25

Tafadzwa Mugwadi
Zimbabwe Herald

The world over, nations have been faced with moments to decide, in direct response to either historical, present or future threats to the national interest.

Zimbabwe is not an exception.

The unfortunate reality is that when the nation arrives at such an interregnum, not every citizen realises it.

It becomes dangerous when even some in key leadership positions like Parliament become part of the fraction of unconscious citizens who are unaware that the nation has reached a crossroads.

There are various factors that birth such ignorance and lack of consciousness.

Mostly, these reasons border on unbridled ambition as well as having elements of unrevolutionary disposition manning key positions in the ruling parties, government and/or government institutions.

This explains why President Mnangagwa has warned saboteurs in the party, in Government and in Government institutions, that the marinated whip — shamhu ine munyu — is on its way.

As a direct follow-up to the people’s solidarity march against sanctions on October 25, this article answers the question: Which stage are we as a nation that makes it imperative to rethink our strategy on sanctions and national developmental question as a people?

The incontestable fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe’s political and socio-economic fundamentals have been operating on a wretched and regrettable pedestal, with the illegal sanctions imposed on the country and maintained by an aimlessly stubborn superpower, the USA, being the elephant in the room.

The culmination into these sanctions and their genesis is not a matter of debate for all Zimbabweans, but one whose writing is on the wall. Sanctions and isolationist policies against Zimbabwe were provoked by the land reform programme, which took place at a time when the Americans, in cahoots with the British government of Tony Blair, were frothing for regime change fronted by the MDC.

The call for the imposition of such heinous sanctions was amplified by the MDC of Morgan Tsvangirai, rogue civil society outfits and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), whose rank and file was pivotal in drafting the sanctions Act by the USA which is known as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

Actually, the prominent legal minds from the MDC which has morphed into MDC-Alliance assisted in the drafting of the sanctions Act against Zimbabwe.

These are cardinal facts that must forever be captured in black and white in our historical curriculum to ensure generations post the current one know where the country is coming from, where it is now and where is it going — the interregnum.

Most crucially, even as SADC decided to set aside that day in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who have been left toiling, soiling and wailing due to these illegal sanctions, it is the responsibility of Zimbabwean academics, leaders, business and scribes to remind, inform and, if possible, educate regional stakeholders on the historicity of these sanctions so that they are alerted of the internal culprits who have committed themselves to cause, justify and lobby for the continuation of these sanctions.

The world must be aware that inasmuch as October 25 was supposed to unite the nation in denouncing these sanctions, Messrs Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and the rank and file in MDC-A have remained the stumbling block to Government and regional efforts to have sanctions against Zimbabwe removed.

The region must know that at the beginning of each year, the same culprits are called to the US to justify continuation and renewal of ZIDERA, something which they have publicly prided themselves in.

Mr Biti is on record as proclaiming that “we are going to call for more sanctions to ensure that this Government will not get a penny.”

This is why sanctions have become a persistent albatross on the people of Zimbabwe.

As such, Zimbabwe has endured systematic attacks on its economy and a well-orchestrated attack on its politics, particularly electoral politics, by self-appointed God’s deputies who claim to love our people more than we do. They claim to know what we want more than we do and most regrettably. Those who claim to know how we should solve our problems better than we who face them, notwithstanding that the bulk of our problems are a product of their tired regime change antics.

I had a rare opportunity to interact with the EU ambassador, Mr Timo Olkkonen, albeit at SAPES Trust where he and his colleagues frequent to justify the existence of sanctions. I left him frothing with anger after I asked him assertively but politely about his behaviour and that of his colleagues.

However, as the nation marched on the day of solidarity and the President expressed himself unequivocally on sanctions, it’s time to reflect and challenge the nation to redefine its political culture.

Zimbabwe needs to follow the footsteps of other countries that have faced similar challenges but have used strong reprimanding and punitive legislation to stop, penalise and criminalise nefarious political conduct.

If there has ever been the time for a Zimbabwean model of a Patriot Act and or a model Logan Act, then it is now.

The circumstances, trials and tribulations that have faced this country for the past two decades owing to these sanctions and the resilience which our people have shown in the face of an unprecedented economic and social crisis in SADC particularly between 2002 to 2009 make us a great people.

They make us a great nation whose name will be remembered as a tiny but strong country that resisted peacefully, systematic bullying and attacks by a group of superpowers using Trojan horses in our midst.

The impetus of our people’s resilience for nearly 20 years of sanctions must be a source of pride, and most importantly, one that Government must provide objective complementaries to.

The systematic renewal of ZIDERA and sanctions against Zimbabwe by the US despite spirited and genuine re-engagement attempts by President Mnangagwa and his Government is a clear slap on the face of our people and exposes US hypocrisy and her unrepentant indulgence in regime change politics nurtured around the MDC-Alliance. That this country is a product of blood and the sword of precious lives that perished to defeat imperialism and colonialism should never be forgotten, but must always be the hallmark of vigilance in defence of the national interest.

As such, the Parliament of Zimbabwe must rethink, in the national interest, ways of deterring threats by individuals, groups or entities who mobilise and lobby hostility against the state and its people. Legislation is the modern way of dealing with culprits who mobilise hostility and sanctions against the country, a situation that has left the country in perpetual grief.

The search for political power becomes criminal if it involves treasonous plots such as sanctions, threats of violence or soliciting for external military interventions.

In this light, it is completely erroneous to ignore the burden of sanctions, which continue to haunt us today as a nation and hinder our developmental prospects. Indeed, something has to be done.
Women’s Affairs Not Recruiting — Minister
11 NOV, 2019 - 00:11
Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe Herald

Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni says her ministry is not recruiting, contradicting a senior official who said they were failing to get qualified people to recruit as ward development coordinators in Matabeleland North Province.

The ministry came under attack after principal director in the Ministry, Air Commodore Evan Dumba (Retired) told legislators during the 2019 pre-Budget seminar in Victoria Falls last week that they advertised for jobs in July and were failing to get qualified people from the province.

However, Members of Parliament criticised the ministry for failing to execute its mandate.

In a statement, Minister Nyoni said there was a job freeze, hence her ministry was not recruiting as claimed by the senior official.

The minister said her ministry was committed to fulfilling its mandate.

“The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development wishes to advise the public that there is currently a national recruitment freeze for the above posts.

“Treasury has not given concurrence to fill up the posts. The recruitment falls under the remit of the Public Service Commission (PSC) not the ministry. Until such concurrence has been given the posts remain frozen,” said Minister Nyoni.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

SADC Observer Mission Endorses Mauritius Poll
11 NOV, 2019 - 00:11
Zvamaida Murwira
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The Sadc Electoral Observer Mission to the 2019 general elections in Mauritius led by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has described the just ended polls as professionally organised and conducted in a peaceful environment.

President Mnangagwa, who is chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security appointed Minister Moyo to lead the observer mission.

In its preliminary statement, the mission observed best practices that included political activities particularly campaign rallies, public meetings and door-to-door canvassing that were held under a peaceful environment.

“In conclusion, the Mission observed that the pre-election and voting phases of the 2019 National Assembly Elections were professionally organised, conducted in an orderly, peaceful and free atmosphere, which enabled the voters to express their democratic will and those who sought office campaigned freely,” said Minister Moyo while presenting the report in Port Louis at the weekend.

“The Mission urges the people of Mauritius to maintain their democratic spirit until the conclusion of the election cycle.”

During its tour of duty, the 45-member Mission met key stakeholders, such as government departments, political parties, civil society, faith-based organisations, academia, media, the Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.

“There is confidence and trust amongst stakeholders in the manner in which the previous and current elections have been organised and conducted: voter registration and education were well conducted,” reads the report.

The Mission noted that of the 124 polling stations they visited, no campaign materials were visible within the 200 metres radius except at one polling station, and the police intervened accordingly.

“All polling stations were accessible to all voters including people with disabilities and these voters were given priority except at one polling station. Voter education materials, such as posters were posted outside all polling stations except for two.”

On areas that required improvement, the Mission expressed concern on the constitutional requirement for candidates to declare which community they belonged to as a condition of their candidature to be accepted as valid to contest for the 62 directly elected seats in Parliament.

The Constitution recognises four communities namely, Hindu, Muslim, Sino-Mauritian and general population.

“Although the above requirement was inserted at independence to ensure that no community was under-represented in Parliament, some sections of the community now consider it a divisive ethnic requirement. In this regard, some candidates failed to comply with this obligatory requirement and were therefore not permitted to stand as candidates,” noted the Mission.

On delimitation and constituencies, the Mission noted that the voter population in constituencies should be uniform in order to guarantee the equality of each vote.

“This principle is recognised in the constitution of Mauritius with respect to the delimitation of constituencies which is required to be carried out every 10 years,” reads the report.

It was also noted that the president reserved the right to dissolve Parliament at any time thus triggering a general election thereby creating uncertainty in the life cycle of the country’s democracy.

The Mission also noted that members of the National Assembly could cross the floor, meaning they could switch allegiance in the life cycle of Parliament.
US$100bn Lost Through IFFs in Africa
Southern Times
Nov 08, 2019
Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - Illicit financial flows (IFFs) continue to plaque African economies with the continent estimated to be losing US$100 billion annually.

Illicit financial flows have always been a major concern on the continent, but the only problem is that this was not documented.

The African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa High-Level Panel on IFFs out of Africa in 2015 brought the issue of African IFFs to the fore.

The report estimated that Africa loses approximately U$50 billion due to IFFs annually. Further, this was considered to be an underestimate as transactional data was found wanting in most African countries.

According to the IFF panel, the 2013 African Progress report at the World Economic Forum, the continent was reported to be losing more through IFFs than it receives in aid and foreign direct investment.

Similarly, the Thabo Mbeki-led commission reported an annual average of US$73 billion left Africa between 2000 and 2015.

The report states that losses annually in recent years range as high as US$100 billion. Growth rates are at their lowest in more than 20 years, reflecting sharp declines in investments and trade.

For many countries, the long-term average has exceeded 10% of their recorded Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which inadvertently drains them of the necessary financial resources needed to achieve sustainable development goals.

Capricorn Group head of anti-money laundering, Njeri Siska, told The Southern Times this week that one doesn’t have to be well-read or learned to be aware of the rife corruption, tax abuse, and money laundering cases frequently courting headlines and news stations on the continent.

“However, the result of these gasping daily stories begs the question: We know it’s bad, but how bad is it? In addition to the consequences to the taxman, IFFs strain our continent’s capacity to strengthen governance, discourage transformation and undermine international development cooperation,” she said.

There are four main components of IFFs, namely laundering of the proceeds of crime, which also involve hidden transactions with illegal capital; corruption and theft of state assets, which also involve hidden transactions with illegal capital; corporate and individual tax abuse, which involves illicit or illegal transactions with legally obtained capital; and hidden ownership to hide conflicts of interest and to facilitate market abuse.

“Often money illegally shifted abroad is lost forever. This is primarily because some financial secrecy havens welcomed IFFs for decades until the recent pressure by the likes of the Financial Action Task Force to enforce morality and clean up IFFs forced them to open their books.

“In a sweeping sea of change, some global efforts such as the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery (KAR) Initiative, the World Bank’s Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative and UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime are encouraging,” said Siska.

African government’s response to IFFs

Siska said Namibia was among other African countries that recognise the importance of tackling IFF, especially through money laundering.

“However, the SME Bank was reported to have lost approximately R200 million in dubious investments to South Africa. It cannot be negated that IFFs aid in widening the gap between developed and developing countries.

“On a positive note, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Namibia has moved up the rank which is demonstrates positive efforts to curb corruption,” she said.

Various countries have taken steps to establish legislation, tighten existing laws and create anti-IFF mechanisms.

These reforms have also brought about additional requirements for the man on the street such as the establishment of a source of funds at onboarding and the de-risking (exclusion) of customers by financial institutions due to the increased compliance costs and risk of hefty sanctions.

Other regional efforts include membership with Inter-Governmental Action Groups against money laundering such as the Egmont Group and the Eastern and Southern African Money Laundering Group, a financial action task force regional body.

However, despite their efforts aimed at curbing IFFs and related problems, the magnitude of the challenges experienced by these institutions overwhelms their implementation capacities.

Further commendable initiatives that have led to the successful recovery of IFFs, include the curtailing of aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations in South Africa. Swiss officials have returned US$380 million siphoned by former Nigerian military ruler, General Sani Abacha, during his tenure and the return of US$145 million to source countries through the KAR initiative.

Noteworthy is that these examples pale in comparison with the amounts siphoned away and are yet to be recovered. Egypt is still unable to recover an estimated US$11 billion believed to have been transferred illicitly from the public purse during the era of the former President Hosni Mubarak.

“Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Specialists alike can drive the effort of tackling IFFs by working hand in hand with competent authorities to proactively prevent IFFs and effectively identify the beneficial owners of all their legal entities. As for the general public, the call to action will be to report all suspicious IFFs to competent authorities for action i.e. if you see something, say something,” said Siska. 
SADC Democracy Comes of Age
Southern Times
Nov 08, 2019

The holding of elections in Botswana and Mozambique last month, the polls in Mauritius this week as well as the impending plebiscite in Namibia towards the end of this month shows that democracy has entrenched across the SADC region.

Earlier this year, elections were held in Malawi and South Africa, cementing the culture of democracy that countries of the region have been building over the years since the end of colonialism and apartheid. That the countries of the region have come up with the SADC Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the sending of observers from the bloc’s member states to superintend over the polls is further proof of maturity by the political leadership in the region.

And in all the elections held thus far, regional and African observers have declared them as having been free and fair as these were held according to the regional and continental guidelines governing democratic elections. Of course, regional observers and African observers understand the local terrain and are therefore best placed to make pronouncements on elections on the continent.    International observers, we believe, can only complement what the local, regional and continental observers would have done.

We therefore commend the people of Botswana, Mauritius and Mozambique for having upheld the democratic principles to conduct transparent and free and fair elections.   While in any election there are victors and losers, we expect the vanquished to accept the results as losing the poll does not mean the end of the world.  The winners must be magnanimous in victory and there should be no room for vindictiveness.

Now that the elections are out of the way and new political leaderships are in place in those countries, it is time to move away from the political posturing and focus on economic development issues. 

With regard to Botswana, the country has been a role model in terms of democracy not only in the SADC region, but the entire African continent.  As we report elsewhere in this issue, the
retained government of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led by President Mokgweetsi Masisi has hit the ground running in creating a diversified and more inclusive economy.

The Southern African country of over two million people, lauded as Africa’s model democracy, must rid itself of its over-reliance on vast diamond wealth in order to fulfill its economic potential.

President Masisi pledged, during the elections campaign, to transform Botswana from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. Already, analysts have pointed out that the country needs to diversify its economic and move away from over-reliance on diamond exports.  This, we believe, is the way to go.

Diamond revenues account for 76 percent of Botswana's export revenue and 45 percent of government revenue as well as 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of US$19,65 billion, the 21st highest on the continent. The World Bank stated that the limitations of Botswana’s diamond-led
development model had become more apparent with growth slower, inequality remaining high and job creation is limited.

While the economy is still good enough to be currently one of the world's fastest growing economies, averaging about 5 per annum over the past decade, we expect the President Masisi-led government to take the bull by its horns and diversify the country’s economy so that it exploits opportunities in tourism and other sectors.

In Mozambique, the emphatic victory by the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) and President Filipe Nyusi, who garnered 73 percent of the votes, should paved the way for serious economic expansion that should steer the country into the fastest-growing economy in the
foreseeable future, analysts have said.

With vast natural gas and coal resources as well as huge agricultural and tourism potential, Mozambique has what it takes to be one of the SADC region’s economic powerhouses.  Indeed, the country is at the heart of the region’s electricity supply network, supplying its neighbours with power at a time the region is facing acute shortages to power industries.

President Nyusi’s and Frelimo’s victory came at a time the country of about 30 million people
is on the verge of an economic boom, buoyed by the discovery of gas reserves in recent years, but under pressure to address rampant poverty. Analysis anticipate that Mozambique would be the country with the largest gross domestic product (GDP) per person on the continent.

But for economic development to take place, there has to be peace. The country has suffered from years of armed conflict which was waged by the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) and we hope that the peace agreement signed by President Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade will keep holding.  It is only when there is peace that economic development can take place.

We also hope that President Nyusi deals, once and for all, with the Muslim extremist insurgency that is rearing its ugly head in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.  SADC does not need conflict anymore and must remain the most peaceful bloc on the African continent.

The end of the elections period should signal serious work that needs to be done to move SADC nations forward and bring them up-to-date with other community of nations on the continent and elsewhere across the world in terms of economic development.

The newly elected governments must address issues to do with economic empowerment and service delivery for the people.  Election promises must now be fulfilled and the leaders must now focus on bread and butter issues, which must take precedence over politics.  Indeed, democracy across the SADC region has come of age.
'Morales' Resignation Undermines Claims He is a Dictator, US May Be Behind Push to Oust Him 

10 Nov, 2019 23:57
Rt.com

'Morales' resignation undermines claims he is dictator, US may be behind push to oust him'
Police officers escort Luis Fernando Camacho, a Santa Cruz civic leader and major opposition figure, as he waves a national flag during a protest against Bolivia's President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia November 10, 2019. © REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Washington has played a hand in the resignation of Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, human and labour rights lawyer Dan Kovalik told RT. The US has been stirring unrest for years with millions of dollars in democratic aid, he said.

“I think this is a bad thing that’s happened and I see the hands of the US behind it,” Kovalik said, adding that there has been “evidence released of conversation between the White House and opposition leaders,” indicating that anti-Morales protests might have been a “coordinated” campaign.

And we know that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been spending millions of dollars in Bolivia for years trying to undermine Evo Morales

A CIA offshoot of sorts, the NED channeled nearly $1 million into the South American country in democracy promoting aid in 2018 alone. A huge chunk of the funds was used by International Republican Institute (IRI), in charge of promoting right-wing agenda.

Kovalik said that more proof of the US involvement into the Bolivian turmoil is bound to come out with time.

Morales’ decision to resign rather than cling to power while risking lives of his supporters, who turn out for mass rallies in his name, “undermines the claims that he is some sort of a dictator,” Kovalik said.

“That shows a lot about who he is. That shows that Morales cares about his own country... he’s shown himself to have the well-being of his own people at heart.”

Noting that Morales, first indigenous leader in the history of his country, has vastly improved living standard for regular people and indigenous population, Kovalik argued that his departure might spell trouble for the South American country.

Kovalik believes that while right-wing parties might try to capitalize on Morales’s resignation, they do lack grassroots support.

“I’m not sure they have much popular support, so we’ll have to see if Evo Morales’s party can go on and win without him.”

Thousands of people flooded the streets to protest what the opposition called a rigged election on October 20, in which Morales secured a 10 percentage point gap, that allowed him to avoid a run-off. Morales, once a very popular leader, was faced with a wave of unrest and mutiny from the military. Kovalik believes that outside interference might have played a role in such a change of heart.

“Of course, people change their minds about things, but I also think there’ve been some manipulation of the public in Bolivia.”
World Leaders, Organizations Condemn Coup Against Evo Morales in Bolivia
Bolivia's President Evo Morales addresses the media next to Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, at the presidential hangar in the Bolivian Air Force terminal, in El Alto, Bolivia November 9, 2019.

10 November 2019
Telesur

Cuba’s government was quick to reject the coup as President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged for “the world to mobilize for the life and freedom of Evo.”

World leaders and organizations expressed Sunday their solidarity with former Bolivian President Evo Morales under the hashtag #ElMundoconEvo (the World with Evo) and strongly condemned the right-wing coup which forced Morales to resign.

“I just heard that there was a coup d'état in Bolivia and that comrade Evo was forced to resign. It is unfortunate that Latin America has an economic elite that does not know how to live with democracy and the social inclusion of the poorest,” former Brazilian President and Leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

The historic Brazilian leader’s message was echoed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who “categorically condemned the consummated coup d'etat against the brother president Evo,” adding that “the social and political movements of the world declare mobilization to demand the preservation of the life of the Bolivian Indigenous people victims of racism.”

Cuba’s government was also quick to reject the coup as President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged for “the world to mobilize for the life and freedom of Evo.” Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised Morales' decision to put the people first over his mandate.

This comes as Morales was forced to resign Sunday after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government has called a coup by opposition forces in the country.

“I decided to resign from my position so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho stop abusing and harming thousands of brothers ... I have the obligation to seek peace and it hurts a lot that we face Bolivians,” the former president of Bolivia said in a press statement.

Argentina's President-elect Alberto Fernandez tweeted said that the "institutional breakdown in Bolivia is unacceptable. The Bolivian people must choose as soon as possible, in free and informed elections, their next government.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera also said that he was resigning from his position. The two leaders said that they would be handing their resignation letters to the country's National Assembly.

Soon after the president of the Senate also quit thus breaking the Constitutional line of succession. As the country plunges into further chaos, international solidarity continues to be shared for Morales and his government.

“To see Evo who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice, and independence,” British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted Sunday.

Social movements and organizations also shared their messages of support and condemnation to the internationally repudiated coup in Bolivia.

Brazil's Landless Workers Movement energetically demanded "dictatorship never again," as the called for the people to decide Bolivia's future. While the Argentinian human rights movement of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo sided with Morales’ and his former vice president.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia in these hours of suffering and demand the continuity of the transparent and unrestricted electoral process,” the progressive Group of Puebla issued a statement adding that they “demand that the International Human Rights Bodies guarantee the clarification of the acts of violence committed, the trial and punishment of those responsible, and the restoration of order, peace, social life, and democracy in Bolivia.”
World Leaders, Organizations Condemn Coup Against Evo Morales in Bolivia
Bolivia's President Evo Morales addresses the media next to Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, at the presidential hangar in the Bolivian Air Force terminal, in El Alto, Bolivia November 9, 2019.

10 November 2019
by Carlos Martinez
Telesur

Bolivia's President and candidate Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party is greeted by supporters as arrives to vote during the presidential election.
Bolivia Elections: 'We’ll Launch a Coup if Evo Wins'
by Cindy Forster

teleSUR Newsletter
teleSUR
Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox

Email
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Videos
TelesurTelesur
Things Are Tense on the Streets of Quito as Night Falls on the City
Iain Bruce
TelesurTelesur
People’s Republic of China Turns 70
Estefanía Bravo
TelesurTelesur
Pro-gun Control Demonstrations Take Place in Washington DC
Jorge Gestoso
TelesurTelesur
South Africa: Former President Jacob Zuma Appears Before Inquiry
Carla González
Cuba’s government was also quick to reject the coup as President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged for “the world to mobilize for the life and freedom of Evo.”

World leaders and organizations expressed Sunday their solidarity with former Bolivian President Evo Morales under the hashtag #ElMundoconEvo (the World with Evo) and strongly condemned the right-wing coup which forced Morales to resign.

“I just heard that there was a coup d'état in Bolivia and that comrade Evo was forced to resign. It is unfortunate that Latin America has an economic elite that does not know how to live with democracy and the social inclusion of the poorest,” former Brazilian President and Leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

The historic Brazilian leader’s message was echoed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who “categorically condemned the consummated coup d'etat against the brother president Evo,” adding that “the social and political movements of the world declare mobilization to demand the preservation of the life of the Bolivian Indigenous people victims of racism.”

Cuba’s government was also quick to reject the coup as President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged for “the world to mobilize for the life and freedom of Evo.” Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised Morales' decision to put the people first over his mandate.

This comes as Morales was forced to resign Sunday after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government has called a coup by opposition forces in the country.

“I decided to resign from my position so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho stop abusing and harming thousands of brothers ... I have the obligation to seek peace and it hurts a lot that we face Bolivians,” the former president of Bolivia said in a press statement.

Argentina's President-elect Alberto Fernandez tweeted said that the "institutional breakdown in Bolivia is unacceptable. The Bolivian people must choose as soon as possible, in free and informed elections, their next government.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera also said that he was resigning from his position. The two leaders said that they would be handing their resignation letters to the country's National Assembly.

Soon after the president of the Senate also quit thus breaking the Constitutional line of succession. As the country plunges into further chaos, international solidarity continues to be shared for Morales and his government.

“To see Evo who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice, and independence,” British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted Sunday.

Social movements and organizations also shared their messages of support and condemnation to the internationally repudiated coup in Bolivia.

Brazil's Landless Workers Movement energetically demanded "dictatorship never again," as the called for the people to decide Bolivia's future. While the Argentinian human rights movement of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo sided with Morales’ and his former vice president.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia in these hours of suffering and demand the continuity of the transparent and unrestricted electoral process,” the progressive Group of Puebla issued a statement adding that they “demand that the International Human Rights Bodies guarantee the clarification of the acts of violence committed, the trial and punishment of those responsible, and the restoration of order, peace, social life, and democracy in Bolivia.”
Resist the Coup Against Evo Morales
Telesur

Police who are against the reelection of President Evo Morales protest in Cochabamba, Bolivia
SIGNS that a coup is under way in Bolivia against newly re-elected President Evo Morales show that Latin America remains a desperate battleground between progress and reaction.

On a continent regarded by the US as its backyard since the 19th century, this takes the form of a struggle for independent states that can chart their own paths opposed by forces seeking to open their resources to exploitation by US corporations and subordinate their foreign policies to Washington.

On Bolivia, reports on the BBC and other British media have begun the process of selection and distortion that has characterised their coverage of Venezuela and other left-leaning Latin American states for years.

The pattern is familiar. Strategies have varied by country but when left governments aren’t rejected at the ballot box, other tactics come into play.

In Brazil we saw elected president Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party removed from office in a constitutional coup and replaced by her deputy, Michel Temer, of a different party.

Despite being chosen by no-one, Temer had no hesitation in reversing the policies of the elected government, taking an axe to public services and declaring a 20-year spending freeze. Neither the US nor its European allies expressed any concerns over this.

Temer couldn’t stand for election. His ratings were dire and anyway he had a sleaze conviction that ruled him out.

Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, looked dangerously likely to win the next elections, topping all the polls.

So a conviction was found, he was barred from standing — and Amazon-burning, gay-bashing misogynist thug Jair Bolsonaro was able to enter office.

In Ecuador, Rafael Correa’s government was too popular to beat. So Lenin Moreno stood for the same party on the same platform with Correa’s blessing — before axing the social spending, purging the civil service and judiciary, driving his predecessor into exile and bringing back military subordination to the US.

In Venezuela and Nicaragua the opposition have ignored election results they don’t like. Venezuela’s impossible-to-cheat electoral system, praised by former US president Jimmy Carter as the best in the world, is no barrier to opposition parties claiming with no evidence that votes have been rigged or declining to participate in the first place.

These baseless assertions are then broadcast to the world by the West’s handy media monopolies, and when right-wing militants take to the streets, burning government supporters to death, announcing military coups and lobbing petrol bombs at the police, we watch reports of “mass protests for democracy being suppressed by a wicked tyranny.”

This appears to be the approach of Bolivia’s opposition, whose main leader Carlos Mesa served in the Sanchez de Lozada government that killed over 60 protesters against inequality in 2003.

Even the US-dominated Organisation of American States cannot pretend that Morales did not come first last month, so it claims his recorded 10-point lead, necessary to avoid a second round, is suspect.

This is based on his vote rising sharply towards the end of the count — though anyone familiar with Bolivia’s electoral geography knows that the votes come in last from the rural indigenous areas that have always been the strongest supporters of Morales, South America’s first indigenous national president.

Bolivia under Morales has lifted millions out of poverty. Its Mother Earth law, drawing on indigenous traditions, is no hippy fantasy but a practical policy promoting sustainable use of natural resources and legal bars on the pollution of the air and water that millions in this country will want to learn from.

But this leader, who rode to power on the movement demanding Bolivia’s hydrocarbon resources be taken over for the public good rather than exploited by foreign companies, is a thorn in the side of the US.

That is why a coup against him is under way. The left internationally must stand with Morales and Bolivia’s Movement Towards Socialism.