Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Supporters of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales march during a protest from El Alto to La Paz on November 13, 2019. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Sanders Has Denounced Coup, But Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg So Far Silent on Overthrow of Bolivia's Morales

"Why is Bernie Sanders the only one who has spoken out? Don't the other candidates have a position about a destabilizing, right-wing takeover of a neighboring country? We need to hear from them."

Jake Johnson

In the nearly three days since Bolivia's elected President Evo Morales was deposed in a military coup, leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg have not said a word about the assault on democracy that U.S. President Donald Trump has enthusiastically endorsed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remains the only 2020 Democratic presidential contender to condemn Morales' ouster, which followed weeks of violent right-wing protests against the results of Bolivia's October presidential election.

"This is EXACTLY the time, when there is a blatant coup in Bolivia, that we need to hear from the presidential candidates."
—Medea Benjamin, CodePink

"I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales," Sanders tweeted Monday. "The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions."

Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg did not respond to Common Dreams' request for comment on the current situation in Bolivia. This story will be updated if we hear back.

Targeted searches on Google News for "Warren + Bolivia"; "Biden + Bolivia"; and "Buttigieg + Bolivia" turned up no relevant results, while a search for "Sanders + Bolivia" returned numerous stories about the Vermont senator's comments on Monday.

"This is EXACTLY the time, when there is a blatant coup in Bolivia, that we need to hear from the presidential candidates," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group CodePink, wrote in an email to Common Dreams. "Why is Bernie Sanders the only one who has spoken out, expressing his concern about the military pushing Evo Morales out? Don't the other candidates have a position about a destabilizing, right-wing takeover of a neighboring country? We need to hear from them."

The coup sparked swift condemnation from left-leaning political leaders around the world, including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Morales' ouster left a political vacuum that was filled late Tuesday by right-wing Bolivian Sen. Jeanine Añez, who declared herself interim president despite lacking support from the constitutionally required number of lawmakers.

The New York Times reported that Bolivia's "military high command met with Ms. Añez for more than an hour at the government palace Tuesday night in what her aides described as a planning session to keep the peace."

In a tweet Tuesday night, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, called out the silence of U.S. human rights organizations and foreign policy analysts in the wake of the Bolivia coup.

"Where are the people in U.S. foreign policy and human rights circles who claim to care about the rule of law?" asked Weisbrot. "Nobody denies that Evo was democratically elected in 2014, and his term doesn't end until January. How can the military have the right to tell him to resign?"

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·

Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·

Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·

Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·

Ocasio-Cortez: Maloney Should Quit DCCC Post If He Runs Against Mondaire Jones

"It's completely inappropriate" for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to be in charge of the House Democrats' campaign arm "if he's going to challenge another member," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo