Separatist Governors march in Bolivia with the support of U.S. Ambassador

César Navarro, Gustavo Torrico, Gabriel Herbas y René Martínez *

September 11, 2008

The United States is supporting efforts to overthrow the popular government of President Evo Morales through CONALDE (National Democratic Council). Events occurring today in the eastern provinces are part of this strategy, which we will outline here:

October 13, 2006 Philip Goldberg was named Ambassador to Bolivia. Between 1994 and 1996 he headed the Bosnia Office for the U.S. State Department, during the war in the Balkans. Between 2004-06 he was head of Mission in Pristine, Kosovo. During this time the separation and independence of this region was consolidated, it was a period when with thousands of deaths occurred in the region.

Philip Goldberg came to Bolivia on a mission to destabilize the government of Evo Morales, by fomenting separatism in the eastern regions. After the electoral victory of Morales in December 2005, the traditional parties and the elite were completely defeated. It was Goldberg's job to re-organize them and outline a destabilization plan to undermine Morales.

Goldberg organized a large network of business leaders in the eastern regions, as well as owners of media outlets and former Podemos party leaders, in order to launch a disinformation campaign regarding the Morales administration in the context of intensified regional struggles against the Bolivian state.
a) The campaign needed to portray that drug trafficking is increasing in Bolivia.
b) As a second step, the media had to portray that Evo was governing poorly - inflation, corruption and bad governance were all increasing.
c) The media was also to insist on blaming all of the violence on the government of Evo Morales, and advance the idea that it was Evo who was dividing Bolivia.

With all of these steps in place, Goldberg met during the first week of May this year with Jorge Quiroga ( who lost to Evo in the Presidential elections of 2005) and they agreed that the Senate would approve the Recall Referendum. They were convinced that Evo Morales would get less that 50% of the votes, and once he was de-legitimized, the opposition and the eastern governors would demand the resignation of the President as, "illegitimate, a bad governor and for dividing Bolivia".

However, the governors had not been consulted and were opposed to this plan.

June 23rd: CONALDE meets in Tarija to write a pronouncement rejecting the Recall Referendum. (La Razon, June 24th)

June 17th: Philip Goldberg travels to the U.S., (La Razon and La Prensa, June 17th) under the pretext of a supposed 'diplomatic crisis'. While there, he coordinates a plan with public relations firms, with former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and former Bolivian Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez Berzain; to plan a dirty war which assures that Evo loses the referendum.

July 2: Goldberg returns to La Paz (La Prensa, July 3rd and 4th) and meets with each of the other governors, to convince them to accept the Recall Referendum. First he meets in Calacoto with the governor of Beni; later he pressures CONALDE members to agree to the Referendum.

July 5: The opposition governors agree to the Referendum (La Razon, July 5).

The owners of large TV channels participated in the strategy- as a result, all of the political programs cited polls showing that Morales would only get 49% of the vote (La Prensa, July 21). The intent to overthrow the government via the ballot box was in place.

This was accompanied by an intense dirty war that Goldberg mounted with a U.S. public relations firms. In Bolivia, a public relations firm in La Paz was contracted to produce the first derogatory spots against Evo Morales. However, when the public relations firm realized that the spots and the money to run them had come from the United States, the agency resigned, and refused to participate in the dirty war. The strategy also included denunciations of supposed fraud and in the eastern provinces; a hunger strike was called to distract attention from the election.

The plan to remove Evo from government was impacted by the results of the Referendum. Evo's mandate was legitimized with 67% of the vote and the only alternative left for Goldberg was to activate his 'Plan B' which included a series of stoppages, road blockages and violent actions which would lead to one of two outcomes:

I) The conflict would spread through the east and part of the west and as people grew weary, the armed forces would act, resulting in deaths. Then Evo would have to call for new elections or resign, due to the high number of casualties. The continual provoking of the Police and Army to incite them to act and fire on union members was a part of this plan.

II) In the event that this did not play out, once the Police and Army were dispatched from the regions, in the midst of violence and the eastern provinces in rebellion, Goldberg would offer the Governors to bring in international mediators, including UN troops, to concretize the separation of the 4 rebel departments, as he did in Kosovo.

As part of this Plan for a Coup, Goldberg traveled to Sucre to meet with Governor Savina Cuellar, who then demanded the resignation of the President.

On Thursday, August 21st, Goldberg meets clandestinely with Ruben Costas (Governor of Santa Cruz and leader of the Autonomy for Bolivia party) and 4 U.S. Congress people. (There are TV images of this).

Monday August 25, Goldberg holds another clandestine meeting with Ruben Costas. (There were images of this on Gigavision).

At the same time, CONALDE rejects dialogue with the government and calls for a general strike beginning on August 24th.

Following the strategy proposed by Goldberg, the Governors implement a medium term plan to destabilize the government via destruction of public institutions, takeovers, and persistent provocations (including beatings) of the Police and the Army.

Also as part of the coup attempt, in Santa Cruz and Tarija there is talk of federalism and even independence. (El Mundo, August 22nd)

Since the business sector of Santa Cruz was more interested in the Festival of Santa Cruz (which begins on September 19) than in strikes and roadblocks, the State Department calls Branco Marinkovic (a large landholder and influential civic leader) to the United States.

-Sept.1: Marinkovic travels to the United States in a small Beechcraft C-90A airplane, where he is convinced that the plan is in its final stages and that all stops must be pulled out.

-Sept. 9: Hours after Marinkovic returns to Santa Cruz, a wave of violence is unleashed, with the burning of institutions and new acts of aggression against the Army and Police.

This is the plan for a coup that is playing out now with the help of the U.S. Embassy. Why is it not able to consolidate? Because the government of Evo Morales is able to control a conflict that has become regionalized, with patience and according to the rule of law.

Based on information received, the president of the Republic declared Ambassador Goldberg persona non grata and authorized Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to carry out appropriate procedures.

The violence generated by groups involved in the coup attempt is an expression of the conservatives' sector decision to abandon democracy, as it no longer serves their interests. On August 10, (in the Referendum) the people of Bolivia defended democracy, national integrity and autonomy.

The Armed Forces and the National Police, steadfast and respectful of the constitution, are aware that despite particular interests, the unity of Bolivia must be preserved.

La Paz, September 10, 2008

*Congressional Representatives from the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party


Anonymous said...

The last sentenc e is abit of a worry. How many times before the coup of sept 11th 1973 did Salvador Allende say that the armed forces of Chile would respect the constitution and democracy. Some people here need to read lenin's State and Revolution

Anonymous said...

Evo Morales conducted himself with dignity, wisdom, and strength throughout these events. Where in the world can we find a parallel? Would that other national leaders would learn from and emulate his example.