Roqayah is off this week, so Kumars is joined once again by activist extraordinaire Medea Benjamin, cofounder of the antiwar organization CODEPINK, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the author of many books. Medea also just returned from Bolivia, where she witnessed the state’s brutal repression of dissent in the aftermath of the Nov. 10 ouster of President Evo Morales by the military and police. Medea begins by laying out the basics of the situation in Bolivia, refuting the far-right opposition’s charges of election fraud and clarifying the role of the US-dominated regional multilateral body Organization of American States (OAS) as a vehicle for legitimizing regime change in Latin America.
Medea and Kumars then touch on the history of foreign intervention in Bolivia, Morales’s record and his now scuffled plan to nationalize the country’s lithium reserves. Medea breaks down the dynamics of the counterrevolution, including interim president Jeanine Añez, explaining how an unpopular Christian nationalist minority was able to stoke the traditional elite’s racist resentment of Bolivia’s indigenous majority and leverage a violent intimidation campaign against socialist leaders to shut Morales’s party out of government—tactics now codified in the coup government’s decree granting security forces legal immunity to crack down on dissent. Medea goes on to share her eyewitness account of the military junta’s Nov. 19 massacre of at least 9 protesters in the indigenous city of El Alto.
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