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Evo Morales, Bolivia’s ‘Chapo’?

¿Evo Morales, el "Chapo" del Chapare?, EFE

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In the almost fourteen years that Evo Morales was president via MAS (Movement Towards Socialism), the convergence of politics, ideology and criminality was consolidated in Bolivia. It is what has been called “narco-socialism”.

Not only were criminal and corrupt actions carried out on Bolivian soil, but ideopolitical objectives were also pursued as strategic companions that ensured selective impunity. It was the authoritarian enthronement of criminal organizations on the basis of political power. The remarkable thing is that – in a certain replica to the Venezuelan phenomenon of chavismo – the ideological component played a role in giving a justifying framework to the project that boasted of “fighting against social injustices”, “racism”, “discrimination” and even “imperialism” (the expulsion of the anti-drug DEA in 2008, for example, served precisely to irreversibly strengthen the expansion of drug trafficking).

Is Evo Morales a narco, a variant of Mexico’s “Chapo” Guzman, but with real political power? For several international investigators and journalists and their sources in the DEA and other anti-crime and security agencies, the former coca grower-president is the leader of a drug trafficking cartel with its epicenter in the Chapare area, the Bolivian VRAEM en route to becoming Sinaloa.

In the Chapare province (Cochabamba), Evo is a lifetime leader of the six powerful coca growers’ federations. “In that region, Bolivia’s laws on private property do not apply. No one can sell or buy real estate without the consent of the corresponding ‘union’. And all the unions, gathered in federations, answer to Morales. A dictatorship that the coca grower wanted to extend to all of Bolivia” (Vacaflor Ganam 24/10/2022). Evo’s hegemony in its maximum expression is at work in that territory.

In November 2019, in connection with the electoral fraud that ousted Evo from the presidency, Peruvian journalist Jaime Bayly used a report from the US State Department and DEA sources to comment on the huge sums of money that the Bolivian had been gambling for years; And that the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, the Mexican Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán had been his main client on an industrial scale (there is also a record that two of Chapo’s sons were on Bolivian territory taking piloting lessons with false licenses and under official protection in 2009 and 2015).

In sum, a series of information in which the connection with the civil-military command structure that has controlled Venezuela for more than two decades under the name of Cartel de Los Soles could not be missing.

The evidence accumulated over the years regarding Evo Morales and his relationship with drug trafficking (even used as a tool for “asymmetric combat” against his enemies in liberal democracies) is not minor and only naivety or a covert agenda could deny it.

Of course, every time these issues have come up for public discussion, the unpunished multimillionaire coca grower Morales boldly victimizes himself by resorting to the hackneyed discourse of “racial discrimination”.

“What happens is that when you mess with Evo they accuse you of being a racist. If you criticize him, if I say he was a dictator, ‘I am a racist’. If I say he did electoral fraud, ‘I am a racist’. If I say he sold cocaine in Bolivia to the Sinaloa Cartel, ‘I am a racist’. Then nobody dares to criticize Evo because he plays the race card to be invulnerable to criticism,” warned Peruvian journalist Jaime Bayly (2019).

Today, after neutralizing -with luck- the authoritarian plan of Pedro Castillo and his co-governing partner Vladimir Cerrón, Evo Morales has unleashed, together with a series of internal and ideological accomplices, a process of gradual violence in the south of Peru, even with secessionist aims. Just as he proceeded to intervene in the Chilean context, Morales is inciting the “constitutional refoundation” polarization on the basis of a dangerous “plurinational” authoritarianism and “class and race struggle”. A lethal politics of resentment.

The nature of this elaborate and infiltrated system of tensions of transnational scope should not be confused: it is a mixture or superimposition of criminal conflicts (with economic objectives and with narcoterrorism as its maximum resource) and political conflicts (with the aim of concentrating power and impunity).

Political analyst and columnist focused on issues of risk and political conflict, radicalization and violent political extremism // Analista político y columnista enfocado en temas de riesgo y conflictos políticos, radicalización y extremismo político violento