Coca-leaf farmer Evo Morales – president of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) – has been elected President of Bolivia in the first electoral round on December 18, 2005. The CIA/NED has given up any inquiry about the regularity of the ballot due to the presence of independent international observers, which was made possible by the Spanish CEPS backed by Voltaire Network.

This article takes the opportunity to inform our readers about the integration of BolPress in our non-aligned press network. The Bolivian press agency has come to strengthen an original source which, in one year, has become the major source of political information in America, globally independent.

The international press approaches the event in some skeptical manner which translates into the US loss of interest in South America along with growing ignorance of its history and evolution.
Though supposedly a place for debate or expressing different points of view, the “free opinion” pages of NATO states’ mainstream press are seldom a place for a thing other than disseminating a unique vision of the facts – an essential element in the “factory of consent”. It would be exaggerated to say that there never is an argument against that of the prevailing press in those pages but, regrettably, Forums & Analyses they testify this in every delivery: something extremely weird. Such pages present an incomplete discussion where opponents truly face each other with controversial arguments but basing themselves on common representations of world issues. There are only different views on the pages of those dailies intended for other cultural universes. Hence our interest in the Russian, Arab or Latin-American press
However, rarely does an unexpected event gives rise to cacophony among mainstream media experts and editorialists. The uniformity of thought involves an authority setting the tone, and that’s exactly what has happened with the election of Evo Morales, which, while not a surprise, it has exposed poorly prepared analysts.

As a matter of principle, for a large left-wing side which has traditionally supported parties of social vocation and re-nationalization programs for national wealth, Morales’s election is good news, though questioned by some minorities. Some neo-liberals become alarmed at the policy he could follow, while others think there is no much to fear from an individual they consider as very moderate or poorly supported by his people to undertake political transformations in his country. The press is also divided as regards to his alliances. Although most dailies present him as Hugo Chávez’s ally, the French daily Le Monde says that they both are very upset with each other [1].

The US extreme right, on the contrary, has already an opinion on the new Bolivian President. In a leading article dated December 22, 2005, Reverend Moon’s daily – the Washington Times – stated that “a US enemy” had been elected in Bolivia and it was alarmed at the legalization of coca production and the re-nationalization of oil resources.
This point of view is shared and even developed by the vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police Jim Kouri (an adviser for the “anti-terror fight”) in the MenNews Daily and the Free Republic. Kouri is already calling to overthrow Evo Morales, whom he accuses, among other things, of being a “communist”, “a US enemy” and an ally of drug dealers. He lashed out at the US left media which applauded Morales’s election, by identifying them as drug addicts. Noting the weakness of the Bolivian army, Kouri suggested “actions”to prevent that country from developing the cocaine traffic to the US – an invasion pretext that was already used to attack Panama in 1989. Despite his excesses, Kouri’s text is not to be taken for granted. In fact, while running for president, Evo Morales revealed that President Eduardo Rodríquez had handed the Bolivian army missiles to the US, thus disarming his country and green-lighting a US military intervention, to which we dedicated an article. Kouri did not limit himself to one column, just a few days later he wrote about the same subject again in the MenNews Daily. This opinion and the way he reflects President Morales has not been spread by the whole press yet. The time is one to wonder.
The Spanish conservative media outlets also hesitate somewhere between prudence and light concern.

The Spanish conservative representative Jesús López-Medel advised the new president, somehow paternalistically, about a good government in the Madrid’s daily El Mundo, in which he said that, first of all, Evo Morales should restore the order in his country, break with nepotism and open Bolivia to foreign investments; in short, ignore his political commitments and follow his predecessors’ policy. López-Mendel regretted the new president’s clear admiration for Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez but without further ado. Speeches make no difference as long as Morales does as he told! But, will he do it?
Researcher Carlos Malamud shows himself reassuring to the readers of the strongly conservative Spanish daily ABC. It’s true that Morales is well acquainted with Chávez and Castro but the analyst thinks that he is not really anchored and that he was elected by the middle class only to restore order. Any attempt to venture off the beaten track will reduce his term to nothing.

Peruvian researcher Álvaro Vargas Llosa’s analysis is being widely spread by the New York Times international service. Llosa also said in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Argentinean daily Clarín, that Evo Morales will not have the means, a priori, to apply his policy and that his rhetoric is deceitful for Bolivians. According to Llosa, Bolivia badly needs foreign investors, why then implement a policy to distance them? Bolivia depends on Brazil – a country with a moderating influence – and power is too unsteady for Evo Morales to be able to take radical actions. However, everything is up to Washington. In fact, if the US attacked Morales, the national unity might strongly gather around the President for radical measures.

However, the above writers analyze the Bolivian issue without taking into account the regional dynamics. For the time being, rather than Evo Morales’s actions, what really matters is the signal given by this election that something is changing in the continent. Latin-American voters can choose en masse candidates who promise more social fairness, re-nationalization of the national wealth, and the independence from the US, which is particularly relevant due to the rejection of the FTAA. Evo Morales’s election is not an isolated case. Through different ways, Chile, Peru, Mexico and other countries could soon take the same direction.
In the Colombian daily El Tiempo, Colombian writer Oscar Collazos highlights this trend and Washington’s loss of influence. He regrets that the Colombian right-wing associated to Washington should analyze the situation in South America through the obsolete and distorting prism of the Cold War and of the 1960’s – 1970’s communist movements. The world has changed, Collazos tells them, and it is no longer possible to impose military dictatorships to fight a pseudo- “communist” subversion.
On the other hand, former Argentinean President Raúl Alfonsín also stressed this tendency and expressed his concerns in a forum spread by Project Syndicate and equally published by the Daily Times (Pakistan) and the Taipei Times (Taiwan), among others. In fact, the announced victories of different Latin-American left-wing movements that support an autonomous South American integration in relation to Washington’s dictates could lead the US to get back to the hemisphere issue with all its strength. Alfonsín thus fears the return of the stick policy and a hardening of US positions in its old influence area.

In analyzing the impact of Bolivia’s elections, French alterworldist and political scientist Eddy Fougier expressed his satisfaction in Libération for the victory of Evo Morales whom he compares to Hugo Chávez. Fougier thinks that Bolivia will play an exemplary role for the alterworldist movements, showing the French alterworldists that they should also aim at power and introduce a candidate to the presidential elections.

[1] See “Le Monde pétrit la pâte à modeler latino-américaine”, by Renaud Lambert, Acrimed, January 5, 2006.