Glenn Greenwald Interviews Evo Morales After the Coup
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a featured voice at the MSB. I’ve moved away from that particular feature. I did, however, feel that this was an important interview that Americans need to see.
When Americans talk about socialism, the conversation invariably turns to Venezuela and Chavismo. Granted, the troubles in Venezuela have more to do with international capitalist shock doctrine as well as short sighted policies and corruption than it does socialism. Regardless, Venezuela makes for some good, right-wing propaganda footage.
However, when talking about socialism, Americans never talk about Bolivia or Evo Morales. That’s because Bolivia under Evo Morales and his much vaunted “social movements” has largely been a success story. It’s not been a perfect story. Bolivia is not an example of a left-wing paradise. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the Morales government.
Most pointedly is the outrage resulting from Morales’ decision to seek a fourth term of office in the face of constitutional term limits. It sure appeared to many, including his supporters on the left, that Evo was succumbing to the same old power addiction that has been the bane of socialist movements throughout the world. In this interview, Morales offers an unsatisfactory explanation that he was only following the will of the “social movements” demanding he run again.
That being said, it cannot be denied that Morales’ tenure as president, the first democratically elected indigenous head of state in the modern Americas, has been successful. Like Hugo Chavez, Morales nationalized key industries in Bolivia and used the revenues to expand social services and programs. Unlike Chavez, Morales diversified the national economy. Despite having plenty of natural gas, Bolivia did not become a run of the mill, petro-state as did Venezuela. Instead, the Morales government invested in other resources, most notably in lithium, the heart of our increasingly battery powered world. Also, rather than spending all of the nation’s revenues on social programs, Morales shored up Bolivia’s debt, improving its credit.
The results are clear. In 2018, Bolivia was the fastest growing economy in South America [see note]. Poverty fell by around 60%. Millions of Bolivians moved into the middle class. Unemployment is comparable to that of the United States. Bolivians enjoyed unprecedented improvements in their standard of living, with improved access to education, health care and housing. Bolivia has moved from a Latin American backwater to an instrumental partner in the global economy.
And, as Evo pointed out in his interview, this transition happened without the United States. Crucially, Evo is developing the nationalized lithium industry in partnership with China and Europe, bypassing the colossus to the north.
Is this fact, as is claimed without much pushback from Greenwald, the driving force behind the coup and Evo’s downfall?
It certainly wouldn’t be surprising.
NOTE: Bolivia comes in at number five fastest growing economies when the Carribean is factored in. On the continent, however, Bolivia is number one.