Bolivia Anatomy of a CIA Coup
Last November a horrifying coup took place overthrowing the socialist government of Bolivia and the nation’s first indigenous president Evo Morales. It was a textbook example of a CIA coup recalling the dark days of Operation Condor when the US installed military dictatorships throughout the region to insure they could be looted by american corporations. Bolivia is now ruled by a self appointed president Jeanine Anez a racist evangelical christian who believes indians are “satanic” and should be barred from entering the cities. Her husband is tied to the Colombian death squads. When the people of Bolivia rose up to resist the coup they were massacred by the police and military 36 were killed 832 more were wounded. There have been hundreds of arbitrary arrests, 57 Radio stations have been shut down, foreign journalists have been expelled. Anyone who dares to complain about the coup is accused of sedition and terrorism.
Murderous fascist traitors who overthrew their own government so that the United States could loot it’s resources have the nerve to charge the winner of the election Evo Morales with sedition, terrorism, and support of terrorism. It’s a strategy of lawfare pioneered in Brazil where former president Lula was arrested and imprisoned on false charges to keep him from running against the fascist Bolsonaro after his successor Dilma Rousseff was overthrown due to of a phony corruption investigation. Meanwhile Luis Fernando Comacho the former leader of the fascist paramilitary UJC which has been committing arson, terrorizing protestors, and conspiring with the CIA for ten years is granted total impunity to terrorize the people of Bolivia at the same time as he is running for president. The new coup regime has lost no time in attempting to reverse everything Evo accomplished. National industries are being divided among the coup supporters corrupt cronies so they can loot bankrupt and privatize everything. Cuban doctors who were in the country to provide health care to the poor, have been expelled at the very moment they were needed to treat the wounded victims of the coup. Who will count all the children who will die from lack of health care in the new fascist Bolivia? Stipends for poor pregnant women and young children were eliminated. In other words the vast majority of people will be pushed back into poverty and misery while the coup plotters become fantastically wealthy looting the country and reviving the flow of Bolivian cocaine.
The Bolivian coup was a triumph for capitalism and imperialism and an unfolding tragedy not just for the people of Bolivia but for all of Latin America. Venezuela has lost another ally and Imperialism has gained another stronghold from which to wage war on latin America. Just as the coup in Brazil against Jao Goulart in the 1964 helped launch a string of coups across the region as Brazilian military and intelligence played a key role in conjunction with the CIA in carrying out those coups. The role of main coup adviser dirty war trainers and imperial lackey’s would shift from Brazil, to Chile, to Argentina to Colombia with the bloodbath growing exponentially. Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina and even failed Venezuelan coup plotter Juan Guaido provided major support for the coup against Morales. Now Bolivia may play a role in coup plots in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, or Argentina it’s police and military may be sent to advise Chile and Ecuador in how to massacre and intimidate protestors. The era of Condor 2.0 has only just begun and there is no telling what horrors lie ahead.
Bolivia’s history would of course require a series of books to do any justice. Still I can’t resist mentioning a few key events. It had a socialist government in the 1950’s that the US used a laboratory of soft imperialism. Che Guevara died heroically in Bolivia he believed the countries location would make it a key strategic location for the liberation of Latin America. Once America discovered his presence the CIA and special forces trained an elite Bolivian unit to hunt him down. The infamous butcher of Lyon Klaus Barbie who the CIA helped “escape” to Latin America and infamous CIA Cuban Felix Rodriguez ( future key Iran/Contra figure) were both involved in the death of Che Guevara. Klaus Barbie was also a key figure in backing Hugo Banzer’s coup. Banzer became infamous for his war on liberation theology. His Banzer plan inspired countries like El Salvador to wage a similar war leading to the death of Archbishop Romero and many other clergy. Klaus Barbie and the Moonies cult would play a key role in the infamous cocaine coup of 1980 which in turn would fuel the rise of the Medellin Cartel in Colombia flooding the US with cocaine much of it smuggled by the Nicaraguan contras. The coup against Morales bore eery similarities to the Cocaine coup of 1980 with fascist paramilitary groups unleashed to terrorize the left. Back in 1980 “The Fiancees of Death” trained and indoctrinated by Barbie and other international fascists including GLADIO terrorists from Italy conducted a bloody purge of Bolivia’s left hunting down politicians and union leaders. Today it is Comacho’s UJC mentored by a new generation of the fascist diaspora the children and grandchildren of Nazis and Croatian Ustashi who settled there decades ago. Morales attempt to cut the police out of the lucrative drug enforcement racket was one of the elements that motivated them to join the coup. Just as the war in Afghanistan and Plan Colombia lead to a massive surge in drug exports we can expect a similar result from Bolivia along with the bloodbath the US will carry out pretending to battle the flow of drugs from it’s new ally.
It was in resistance to this phony war on drugs used as an excuse to terrorize Bolivian and Colombian peasants that Evo Morales rose to prominence. Even before ever gaining power he survived a number of US assassination attempts. Like Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff tortured during Operation Condor Evo was tortured as part of this largely unknown dirty war in Bolivia. Bolivia was suffering from both a US backed dirty war and like the rest of Latin America from runaway neo-liberalism that even privatized the water supply and tried to forbid the use of even rainwater. The coup regime has already reprivatized the water supply. Bolivia was one of the poorest countries in Latin America and the indigenous majority were second class citizens. The leader of a vast indigenous grass roots movement Evo Morales was elected in 2005 and transformed his country. He kicked out the DEA and instead of privatizing everything he began to nationalize certain key resources using them to fund social programs that would lift 3 million people out of poverty. Bolivia was transformed into a plurinational socialist state. For the first time the indigenous majority was allowed to take center stage.
Many of the seeds of the current coup were planted back in 2009. Klaus Barbie was by no means the only fascist war criminal to relocate to Bolivia Many German Nazis, Hungarian Arrow Cross, and Croatian Ustashi settled there. Like Barbie some were hired as security consultants by the Bolivian military and police. These fascist Emigres were concentrated in Santa Cruz which became the site of a violent separatist movement that pushed the country to the brink of civil ear back in 2009 and were heavily funded by the CIA in an attempt to Balkanize Bolivia. Millionaire son of a Gas mogul Luis Fernando Comacho who’s fascist thugs terrorized MAS politicians including publicly torturing a female mayor during the recent coup was a key leader in this movement. One of his Mentor’s was the wealthy Branko Marinkovic believed to be a descendant of the Croatian Ustashi which he denies despite openly helping to fund the revival of fascist Croatia during the 1990’s as well as playing a key role in CIA NGO fronts. Marinkovic is in exile in Brazil because he was implicated in a 2009 plot to assassinate Evo Morales using Croatian and Hungarian fascists as well as a Bolivian/Hungarian/Croatian fascist Eduardo Rozsa-Flores who had fought for Croatia during the 1990’s. Also linked to this plot was Hugo Acha Melgar of the CIA backed NGO Human Rights Foundation that was involved in the 2019 Bolivian coup. Sadly for the world the dangerous forces of international fascism have not only seized power in places like Croatia and Ukraine but are still being used to subjugate Latin America just like in the days of Klaus Barbie and Operation Condor.
Returning to the coup of 2019 we find a textbook example of a CIA coup. The first important element is to gain control of the military. In Latin America this is usually done via The School of The Americas which has been rebranded WHINSEC. Six Coup plotters all School of the Americas graduates were caught on tape plotting the coup. The School of the Americas is infamous for training various coup plotters and indoctrinating them in a ruthless counterinsurgency doctrine that views any progressive element in society as a dangerous enemy that must be captured tortured to death and then disappeared. Hundreds of thousands of people have died horrifying deaths in Latin America as a result of the lessons learned at the School of the Americas. The most important member of the Bolivian Military the CIA recruited was General William Kaliman Romero who was especially vulnerable since his family lived in the US. He spent years keeping the US informed about everything Morales was up to and keeping Morales misinformed about everything going on in Bolivia. He convinced Morales to join SURNET an intelligence sharing program that sounds synonymous with Operation Condor. Most importantly he concealed the coup plot, allowed US special forces to sneak into the country, and then forced Morales to resign acting under the orders of US charge d’affairs (CIA?) Bruce Williamson. Kaliman reportedly received one million dollars for this treachery.
The second key element in a coup is gaining control of the police. During the days of Operation Condor the Office of Public Safety (OPS) which was part of USAID was used by the CIA to train police to battle “subversion” instead of traditional crime trained them in torture and created police intelligence divisions to draw up death lists of union leaders and other “subversives” like mothers searching for children that had been disappeared by police or military death squads. Although OPS was supposedly closed down it was merely renamed operating under different covers. The DEA was often used in the same role and the DEA supervised the torture of Evo Morales back when he was a labor leader. The US continues to train police around the world in torture and assassination from Iraq to Ukraine. For the 2019 coup the CIA managed to recruit the Bolivian chief of Police General Vladimir Yuri Calderon while he was a police attache at the Bolivian Embassy in Washington DC. This was done via a shadowy group he was president of called APALA an organization of Latin American Police Ataches uncovered by historian Jeb Sprague. Back in Bolivia Calderon reportedly was run by probable CIA agent Major Mathew Kenny Thompson. Thompson was the US military attache who played a key role in organizing the coup also meeting with Eli Bernbaum and Fernando Comacho to plan the destabilization of Bolivia before and after the elections. Military attache is often a cover for the CIA to recruit military or police one of the more infamous example was Vernon Walters military attache during the 1964 Brazil Coup who would go on to a long and notorious career in coups and dirty wars. The Bolivian Police played a key role in the coup first by revolting and refusing to provide protection to MAS supporters as the UJC and other fascist paramilitary groups launched violent attacks and burned down homes of MAS politicians and even Evo Morales family. Once Morales was overthrown the police swung into action by gunning down peaceful protesters opposing the coup. They have returned to their Condor era role in the dirty war on the Bolivian people.
Fascist Paramilitary groups are a favorite CIA tool in CIA coups and dirty wars. They played a key role in Bolivia’s 1980 cocaine coup where they massacred hundreds and held torchlight parades beaming nazi speeches over Bolivian airwaves. In Chile’s 1973 coup against Allende CIA man Michael Townley worked with Libertad y Patria Fascist paramilitaries to do much of the dirty work. Fascist Paramilitaries were also used more recently in Ukraine where Right Sector was used to force government supporters and even President Yanukovych to flee Kiev allowing them to seize power. For the 2019 coup in Bolivia Luis Fernando Comacho played this key role. Comacho however was no ordinary thug rather he was a millionaire being run by CIA man Rolf Olson and was in close touch with the governments of Brazil, Colombia, and the powerless but well funded fake US appointed president of Venezuela Juan Guaido. Comacho has spent ten years waging a dirty war on Bolivia for the CIA and has suddenly been raised from obscurity to the international spotlight. Should he win the Presidency one can count on the media covering up the fact that his UJC followers give the nazi salute, are openly racist and have been committing terrorist acts against the government and people of Bolivia for the past ten years. Of course technically Comacho resigned from the UJC to rise through the ranks of the Pro-Santa Cruz Civic Committee one of the groups that formed the backbone of the 2019 coup along with other civic committees but his views are unchanged and the UJC remain loyal to Comacho.
The third key element in a CIA coup is the control of “civil society” via a vast array of NGO’s funded by USAID, the NED and corporations. Since the birth of the CIA they used a number of foundations (like the Ford or Rockefeller foundations) to act as fronts to funnel money to NGO’s journalists, politicians, labor groups, academics, human rights organizations, charities, and entertainers to shape society in ways favorable to American corporations and when necessary to wage psychological warfare and overthrow governments. This aspect of the CIA’s work has become infamous around the world through it’s recent “Color Revolutions” that swept through first Eastern Europe and then through the middle east during the Arab spring. In Bolivia NED was funding Evo Morales opponent Carlos Mesa as well as a number of “activist” groups used to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. The OAS created as a way to force US will on Latin America played a key role in casting doubt on the election results and legitimizing the coup. The OAS was deeply involved in the Guatemala coup of 1954, the attempts to isolate Cuba from 1959 on and more recently in attempts to overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua. USAID created as a CIA front was used to fund over 40 NGOs in Bolivia to recruit “activists” for the coup. One was the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) whose member Hugo Acha Melgar was linked to the 2009 assassination plot. Another key HRF member is a CIA agent and Venezuelan coup plotter Thor Halvorsen Hellum. It’s funded in part via right wing Billionaire Peter Thiel. Coup plotter, failed president, and loser of the 2019 Carlos Mesa election was awarded with a seat on the USAID funded think tank Inter-American Dialogue. The HRF awarded Jhanisse V. Daza a freedom fellow award and she was sent to the Harvard Kennedy school to be trained by infamous color revolution advisers CANVAS she was even photographed with it’s head Srdja Popovic. Daza runs the Rios de Pie NGO claiming to support environmental and indigenous rights she helped garner international support for the coup by by falsely blaming Evo Morales for the Amazon fires and starting the #SOSBolivia twitter campaign. The corporate funded extinction rebellion PR campaign joined in providing support for the coup under environmental cover. It was a strategy of manipulating environmental issues to discredit left wing governments they have been testing out in Nicaragua and the coup was “greenwashed” in the same way that “human rights” has been the cover for past coups. The Irony was of course that Evo Morales as the first indigenous president had made respect for Mother Earth official state policy a view the coup regime doubtless views as “satanic.”
The fourth key element of any CIA coup plot (or imperialist war) is control of the media. It was more then 100 years ago during WWI that the whole american media was re-organized to wage a propaganda war to motivate the american public. The early idols of journalism like Walter Lippmann played a key role. WWI was followed by the Russian revolution which meant red scare propaganda had to be unleashed. For 100 years socialist governments have been constantly demonized by the media. The American propaganda apparatus was further refined during WW2 and OSS psychological warfare specialists often happened to be the same american media barons like Henry Luce or CD Jackson who ran the media. With the creation of the CIA the US was able to expand control of media worldwide owning hundreds of foreign news outlets and paying hundreds of journalists to plant propaganda pieces in papers. The media and intelligence are so interlinked that some view the media merely as an extension of the intelligence agencies.
In the case of Bolivia the job of the media was to demonize Evo Morales whitewash his opponents cast doubt on his legitimacy and then deny that any coup had taken place. Bolivia and the US received very similar coverage with the Bolivian media stridently denying any coup took place. What the US didn’t control it closed banning RT and Telesur as well as 57 independent radio stations arresting and killing an unknown number of journalists and expelling any foreign journalists covering the massacres in the aftermath. The press portrayed the massacres as gunfights between police and narcoterrorists necessary for security. In the US the coup that wasn’t a coup has already been forgotten in the months ahead people can be shot massacred and disappeared and the election can be fixed with very minimal media coverage. Just as the people of Yemen can be starved and bombed year after year with a nearly complete press blackout. The insanity and hypocrisy of the media reaches a new low coming full circle. In Syria armed terrorists were portrayed as peaceful protestors being massacred while in Bolivia peaceful protestors being massacred are portrayed as armed terrorists.
Bolivia’s nightmare is just beginning although many will continue the struggle to liberate the country from the empire. In the days after the coup the people of Bolivia took to the streets to offer a heroic resistance but they were massacred and their leaders were threatened into retreating. Evo Morales MAS party still hopes it will be able to regain power democratically. However it is being subjected to lawfare when Evo Morales from exile sent his legal representative Patricia Hermosa and his lawyer Wilfredo Chavez to register his bid for the presidency in the May 3, 2020 election they were arrested and she was sentenced to 6 months in jail. Officially in Bolivia Morales is wanted for “sedition, terrorism and support of terrorism” although he is attempting to run for senate. The government has filed an anti-corruption lawsuit against MAS presidential candidate Luis Acre in hopes of jailing him to prevent a MAS victory. USAID has been brought in to help rig the May 3 election. Bolivia will probably follow in the footsteps of Haiti and Honduras with a series of US supervised rigged elections. President Jeanine Anez has already passed a bill giving police and military complete impunity to kill civilians to maintain control. The never ending war against indigenous people that began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus continues after more then 500 years. Across the Americas from Bolivia to Brazil, to Honduras, Mexico, Canada and the US the struggle continues.
Behind Back Doors
Behind Back Doors uncovered the names of the CIA agents involved in the Bolivia Coup
Behind Back Doors also exposed Argentine Intelligence’s role in Bolivia’s Coup
Top Coup Plotters were School of the Americas Graduates
Massacres in Bolivia
The Fraud Machine at Work in Bolivia
More on the coup in Bolivia
Profile on fascist coup plotter Luis Fernando Comacho and his allies
The Most Important CIA agents in Bolivia
US Helping to rig new elections
Green NGOs lay groundwork for coup