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Bolivia’s Two Decades of Socialism and Its Dire Effects on the Americas

El golpe de Estado en Bolivia y sus funestos efectos para las Américas, EFE

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On October 17, 2003, when the constitutional president of Bolivia was overthrown after more than a year of conspiracy, violence, falsification of narrative, external intervention and drug trafficking, it was decided to accept the version of constitutional succession whereby the vice-president assumed the functions of the president he had overthrown. It was the seizure of power to turn Bolivia into the dictatorship/narco-state it is today and which has serious geopolitical effects in the neighboring countries of Chile, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and in the Americas.

In 1966, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara decided to “establish a guerrilla focus in Bolivia, a country that being in the heart of South America and bordering Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, allowed to easily extend the guerrilla war throughout the subcontinent”, as stated in the ” Statement number 3 of the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Bolivia”. Violence broke out on March 23, 1967 with the first guerrilla ambush on Bolivian soldiers and ended with the shooting of Che Guevara on October 9 of the same year.

At that time, the Castro dictatorship in Cuba expanded its violence with guerrillas creating “national liberation armies” and rural and urban guerrilla groups with which it bloodied the entire region and continues to sustain, such as the FARC and the ELN in Colombia. Guerrillas, terrorism, drug trafficking, conspiracies and all kinds of crimes are the characteristics of Castroism expanded in the Americas from 1959 until the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and the disappearance of the Soviet Union USSR on December 26, 1991. The history of violence in the Americas during the Cold War is the history of the crimes of the Cuban dictatorship.

In 2003, Bolivia celebrated 21 years of return to democracy. From 1985 to 1989, President Victor Paz Estenssoro ended hyperinflation by applying the new economic policy and ended the narco-state with the fight against drug trafficking. President Jaime Paz continued the economic and anti-narcotics policies of the State, preparing the constitutional reform.

From 1993 to 1997, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada created the social capitalization, Bonosol, educational reform and more, and finalized the constitutional reform. The presidency of Gen. Hugo Banzer from 1997 to 2001 (who did not finish his term due to illness) made the success of the fight against drug trafficking a reality with the reduction of illegal coca crops that his predecessor had begun.

Democratic Bolivia had at least 3 state policies: 1. Democracy as a system in a Republic founded on a single nation, the Bolivian nation; 2. The economic policy of social liberalism, freedom of entrepreneurship and investment of its fruits in the fight against poverty; 3. The fight against drug trafficking with social prevention, eradication of illegal coca crops, interdiction, and alternative development.

These historical references show the importance for 20th century Castroism turned into 21st-century Castro-Chavismo of taking and controlling Bolivia and the overthrow of October 2003, with which it set in motion an agenda that would later become common for the Latin American countries where it penetrates: constituent assemblies and referendums, persecution, imprisonment and political exile, plurinational state, narco-state, state terrorism, violation of human rights, impunity and disappearance of all the essential elements of democracy.

Nineteen years after the breakdown of democracy, the Republic of Bolivia has been supplanted by the plurinational state, a project attempted in Chile –defeated last September 4– but in which they persist; proposed and so far rejected in Peru; imposed in Ecuador by Correa. In 2003, Bolivia had 3,000 hectares of illegal coca which were 50,000 in 1993 and today has close to 100,000, has expelled the DEA, and is a narco-state.

In 2003, Bolivia was the gas power of the Southern Cone and today it has no gas, and its lithium and strategic mineral reserves are controlled by Russia, Iran and China. It is the geopolitical center of destabilization of its neighbors and the region, as evidenced today by Chile and Peru, it is the silent platform of penetration of world dictatorships and is the hub of drug trafficking directed to Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Argentina with destinations in the United States, Europe and Asia.

These consequences and worse are those produced by the loss of democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship and narco-state of 21st-century socialism, which began in Bolivia with the overthrow of October 2003.

This article is part of an agreement between The American and the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Carlos Sánchez Berzain es abogado, politólogo, máster en ciencia política y sociología. Catedrático. Estadista perseguido y exiliado político. Director del Interamerican Institute for Democracy // Carlos Sánchez Berzain is a lawyer, political scientist, with a master's degree in political science and sociology. Professor. Persecuted statesman and political exile. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

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