Decisive Victory of MAS in Bolivia: A Blow to Anti-Indigenous and Anti-Socialist Coups in the Americas

https://orinocotribune.com/

By William Camacaro – Oct 19, 2020

The decisive electoral victory of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia may be a point of inflection on the continent that advances the construction of a new South American socialist bloc.

After having been removed from power by a military coup with fascist, anti-Indigenous, and neoliberal elements a year ago, ex-president Evo Morales, with his allies, presidential candidate Luis Arce and vice-presidential candidate David Choquehuanca, declared victory in the elections that came to a close on the evening of October 18. According to an exit poll, Arce, who served as Minister of Finance in the Morales administration, was leading in the presidential contest with 52.4 percent of the vote and ex-president Carlos Mesa came in second place with 31.5 percent. The right wing candidate Luis Camacho, allied with the de facto president Jeanine Añez, follows in a distant third place, with only 14.1 percent of the vote. Añez and Mesa have both recognized the outcome of the election[1].

Once the MAS victory is officially ratified in Bolivia in the next few days, it will represent a huge blow to the international right. It will be a political defeat for other conservative leaders in the region, among them Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Iván Duque in Colombia, both of whom supported the dictatorial regime of Jeanine Añez. Without a doubt, the MAS triumph provides oxygen for the Bolivarian revolution which in this moment is besieged by illegal United States sanctions, an economic war, and the possibility of military aggression. At the same time, it offers breathing room for Cuba and Nicaragua, countries that are also harassed by illegal United States measures.

RELATED CONTENT: Bolivians Demand from Carlos Mesa The Pay They Were Promised to Vote For Him

A MAS win in Bolivia can also nudge Argentina towards the left without ambiguities. The government of Alberto Fernández now will not be so quick to maintain tepid positions in the international arena as it did a few days ago when it allied itself with the countries of the right wing Lima Group which continues to disparage Venezuela within the halls of the United Nations. The success of the MAS could inspire the social forces that have organized around the plebiscite in Chile that seeks to reform the Pinochet-era Constitution. And it fortifies the electoral option of Ecuador’s presidential candidate Andrés Arauz against the neoliberalism of the formerly leftist politician, Lenín Moreno. A victory of this magnitude will make life difficult for the conservative and pro-militarist government of Colombia and gives more energy to the candidacy of Gustavo Petro in the next elections.

This new scenario shows that the United States is no longer the great liberal nation of the world.  The independence of Spanish South America was due, in great part, to the fact that Spain was invaded by Napoleanic forces. Spain found itself fighting for its own survival against Napoleon at the very moment that the war for independence was developing in South America. In a similar process, the United States will begin a complicated period from the economic, social, health, and political points of view and in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis after the coming presidential elections.

The cost to the country since the arrival of Donald Trump to the Presidency has been enormous. After the US election the nation will have to implement a series of damage control measures and repair multiple wounds at the national and international levels.  This process could take some years at a moment when China has emerged as the preeminent economy in the world. We are entering a new period, another era, in which, without a doubt, one can observe push back against the ex-hegemonic power, especially from social mobilizations in Latin America by groups that have been historically excluded.

RELATED CONTENT: Bolivia’s Carlos Mesa Finally Shows Up and Accepts his Defeat by Luis Arce

In Bolivia there has been a historic popular victory in which the citizens of a poor nation have succeeded, by means of an electoral process, to overcome a military dictatorship backed by the United States. They have defeated the military forces that supported a coup d’etat, the big national and international corporations that were preparing to strip the country once again of the public character of its energy and mineral resources. It is really an impressive triumph, given the difficult conditions within which the MAS and their candidates had to conduct their electoral campaign: Illegal persecutions, fake lawsuits, arrests, political repression, and violent attacks.

This election in Bolivia will have ramifications and consequences across the continent at a time when the United States shows signs that it has entered a process of decline. The Bolivarian bloc continues to survive despite blockades, economic sanctions, military threats, media wars, and all of the hunger and suffering of millions of Latin Americans provoked by the illegal sanctions of the United States. Indigenous Bolivians have given, this 18 of October, an enormous example of dignity, sovereignty, and independence.

Featured image:  Photo credit Alina Duarte

William Camacaro is Senior Analyst at COHA

Patricio Zamorano assisted as editor of this article

(Council on Hemispheric Affairs COHA)

Green Bay, November 14, 2020: Community Coat Drive

Hosted by Abby Ringel and Dajahnae Williams

410 S Military Ave., Xotic Kiss Hair – 2-6 P.M.

Event is date for individuals to receive coats! We will be setting up the distribution to maintain social distancing and attempting to be as touch free as we can. Individuals needing coats are encouraged to contact the hosts to request sizes ahead of the event. Wisconsin Winter is coming!

Let’s help our community and keep one another warm.Need donations of new and gently used children’s and adult’s coats and snow pants!Looking for volunteers to help with pick up and distribution.

NEEDS:
Coats
Funds or individuals willing to dry clean coats
Locations for drop off until event date
Donations for set up, boxing, etc
https://www.gofundme.com/f/green-bay-community-coat-drive…

CLN helps construction workers in D.C. fight wage theft

Two immigrant construction workers in Washington DC have filed a class action lawsuit against CBG, one of Washington DC’s largest general contractors, for wage theft, and others are stepping up to join them. Workers employed by multiple CBG subcontractors have been denied overtime pay, paid less than the DC minimum wage, or both. “I was paid $12 per hour,” said Ivan (photo), a sheet metal worker who helped install air conditioning ductwork at Eckington Place, a high-end mixed-use development under construction in Northeast DC. The legal minimum wage in Washington DC was $14/hour when Ivan started the job in February 2020, and it’s $15/hour now. “Jimmy [the recruiter] told me that if I learned fast I would get a raise, but I never did.” Catholic Labor Network field organizer Ernesto Galeas has visited CBG construction sites across the city, finding that Ivan’s situation is hardly unusual.
Read more here

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Support Machinists Union Members On Strike at AstenJohnson in Appleton

#UnionStrong#SolidarityWisconsin State AFL-CIOMachinists Union

AstenJohnson, 6480 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54914

IAM District 10

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2020 – Eighty-nine Machinists Union (IAM) Local 1855 members at AstenJohnson in Appleton, Wis. began striking for a fair contract today at 7 a.m. CT.

The striking IAM members at AstenJohnson, who produce specialty fabric for the paper industry, are seeking reasonable healthcare expenses and cost sharing.

IAM Local 1855 members rejected company contract proposals on Oct. 14 and Sept. 30. Despite mediator assistance, the company refused to budge off its concessionary proposals.

“The reasonable offer put forward by our negotiating committee would have benefited our members, the Teamsters and non-union employees at the facility, and the company as a whole,” said IAM District 10 Business Representative Jeremy Terlisner. “I am proud of our Local 1855 membership and the negotiating committee for standing strong for what they deserve—a fair contract.”

“Because of the pandemic, affordable healthcare is now more critical than ever,” said IAM District 10 Directing Business Representative Alex Hoekstra. “These increases in cost put our members, their families and public health as a whole at risk. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the skilled workers at AstenJohnson in their fight and I call on management to come back to the table and negotiate a fair contract.” 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.

IAM District 10

goIAM.org | @MachinistsUnion

Attorneys Available for Protesters at Wauwatosa Court October 21, 2020

Kimberley Motley Good Morning! We understand that there are multiple people with court dates tomorrow 10/21 @5pm & 6pm in Wauwatosa Municipal Court – thanks to the collaboration with the JUSTNESS PROJECT & the Milwaukee Freedom Fund we are planning to have lawyers there to represent EVERYBODY. If you have not already done so, please email me at 414info@protonmail.com if you have a court date tomorrow so we know who to expect. Thank you! Milwaukee Freedom Fund

COVID – 19 A Growing Concern in Jails Across WI

October 19, 2020 | covid-19, social justice, Wisconsin

Petition to Decarcerate WI to Save Lives From Covid-19: https://tinyurl.com/y4g5u4lo

https://bit.ly/2T7AtqN

_________________

By Sonia Vasquez, President Lakeshore’s United Visionaries – LUV,

https://lakeshoresunitedvisionaries.org/

On October 10th, 2020 I spoke with five inmates from Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth, WI after hearing reports about the prison’s conduct in their rise of Covid-19 cases. Kettle Moraine currently has the highest amount of cases of any prison within the state of Wisconsin. At the time of the interviews, the prison had a total positive active case amount of 406 and inactive positive amount of 295 for a total of 709. The prison has roughly a total of 1,110 inmates. 

Today (10/19/2020) Kettle Moraine has 262 active cases and 565 inactive positive cases, totaling to 827. 

These numbers can be seen here: https://doc.wi.gov/Pages/COVID19(Coronavirus)/COVID19TestingDashboard.aspx

A few media outlets have picked up the rise in concern for the positive case amounts in Kettle Moraine and some other prisons throughout the state. Fox 6 of Milwaukee reported on September 29th that they had received communication from the Department of Corrections saying, “all prisoners are in quarantine, those with symptoms are being treated, and those without are being monitored. Meals are delivered to the rooms of inmates. The prison is streaming movies to provide extra entertainment. There are also extra cleaning protocols, phones and showers are being used on a rotating bases.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePVtzqKY-5g) However, many family members of inmates and the inmates themselves have spoken out about this report from the DOC, claiming much of it to be false. 

With only being able to speak to each inmate for 20 minutes at a time, I tried to ask them all the same questions to get a good layout of what was happening in the prison in response to the outbreak. All inmates identities will remain anonymous.

All 5 inmates either had Covid-19 at the time of the interviews, had it and recovered, or tested positive with no symptoms.

The first question I asked brought on quite a bit of concern for the inmate’s mental health. When asked, “How are you feeling mentally and physically?” Those with active cases reported symptoms such as headaches, hot and cold flashes, and body aches. Mentally, many said they were frustrated, upset, and concerned for how the prison was dealing with the situation. Most of them often went straight into their largest concerns about the prison continually allowing positive inmates to be in a cell with negative inmates. One even saying he felt as through they were like an “experiment” and that the prison had given up on them, waiting for them all to eventually test positive. Alongside the worries about contracting Covid and feeling an overall sense of lack of control, the inmates reported not being able to go outside since around the end of September. The prison is on total lock down, only allowing them to move about their unit at certain times. They are not allowed classes, library access, outside access, and many reported that the DOC’s claim that they were showing extra movies was untrue. 

In regard to sanitation and hygiene, I was told that Kettle Moraine has one hand sanitizer on the unit of 120 people. This was reportedly put in the unit roughly a week prior to the interviews. The sanitizer is located near the bathrooms. They were given a cloth mask and a paper mask. When asked how the masks were cleaned, the inmates reported that they would need to do them with their laundry. However, if they do not have funds in their commissary, they aren’t able to purchase laundry soap. Bathrooms and common areas are often cleaned by inmates daily using what they have told me is Virex 2256. Many also reported that staff only recently started wearing masks when around the inmates. As stated by the DOC to Fox 6, inmates reported they are brought food to their cells, but there have been kitchen workers testing positive, presumably resulting in others being infected. 

When asked about personal hygiene, I was told that there are roughly 6 stalls, 6 urinals, 12 sinks, and 2 shower trees for the 120 person unit. The shower “trees” are a tree-like structure where around 6 people will circle around to shower at a given time. Inmates are able to access the bathrooms at certain times throughout the day due to the lock down. They do not have restrooms in their cells.

The inmates reported being tested recently on a weekly basis. Many said only people who were previously negative are tested. This brought on a concern for monitoring reinfection. Test results are given a few days later. Nurses administer the tests. When asked what treatments they are given when they are sick, many stated Tylenol and rest was what they were recommended. One inmate reported being able to get cough syrup to help with symptoms. 

When I asked the inmates what other opportunities for prevention they feel would help with the outbreak that aren’t happening, all of them stated they’d like to see that people with positive results not be kept in cells with negative people. When I asked if there is a possibility to do that currently, they said yes but it was not happening. 

The last question I asked them was what people can do to help those in the prison in regard to the outbreak and concern about its handling. All reported wanting to be heard, getting the word out, and urging Governor Evers to take action. 

Evers has not had a response to the prison outbreaks around the state. However, many organizations and families of inmates are speaking out. WISDOM, EXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing) and ROC have started a petition to Governor Evers. The petition states:

“WISDOM, EXPO & ROC Wisconsin are asking you to join our appeal to Governor Tony Evers of WI to: 

1) Grant Compassionate Release to elderly and ill people to get them out of our prisons

2) Release people being held on crimeless revocations and other low-level offenses (or non-offenses)

3) Take all other common-sense measures to dramatically reduce the prison population (i.e. calling on the WI Parole Commission to immediately review those people granted 6-12 month deferments within the last 9 months to reconsider their release, review cases where people are being held in need of programming that is offered in their communities, etc.) 

This is very literally a matter of life and death for many very vulnerable people.”

You can sign the petition here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScrDY86oe2k7QgIdeUGjsdTkPCxY1QJ6EO8y4OwQj5C-TZY1Q/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&fbclid=IwAR1KNpnerwniCsvtNqUO4MzlKeYWTDKHq3ZC7q46doEaVlVwp3ju5swQBT0

Other ways you can help are by spreading the word, calling, emailing, writing your representatives and let them know you’d like to see more from them on this. 

Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth, WI
Rising Covid-19 Cases in Kettle Moraine Correctional Facility in Plymouth, WI raise questions about sanitation and mental health in our local jails.