After the Bolivian military massacred anti-coup protestors in the working-class city of El Alto on Tuesday, former President Evo Morales accused Bolivia's right-wing regime of carrying out "genocidal policies" against the most vulnerable in partnership with the United States.
"The dictatorship... today caused 6 deaths of fellow brothers in a coordinated operation with the U.S.," Morales tweeted late Tuesday. "Let the new generations and the world know that this is how the right-wing conducts genocidal policies against the humble people."
In a separate tweet Wednesday morning, Morales called on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and United Nations to "denounce and stop this massacre of indigenous brothers who ask for peace, democracy, and respect for life on the streets."
Videos posted to social media Tuesday showed the Bolivian military open fire on pro-Morales demonstrators outside the Senkata gasoline plant in El Alto. The death toll remains uncertain, but CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin said she "saw 5 dead with my own eyes" while on the ground in Bolivia.
A journalist for the New York Times also reported seeing "the bodies of five young men with gunshot wounds in a church in El Alto."
"Family members of at least two of the dead men said they were merely walking to work when they were shot by the soldiers," the Times reported. "Hundreds of residents gathered to pay their respects to the victims, whose bloodied bodies lay on pews in San Francisco de Asis Church, covered with Bolivian flags and topped with the large-caliber bullets that killed them."
(Warning: Graphic Video)
— Página Siete (@pagina_siete) November 19, 2019
URGENT: Massacre in Senkata, El Alto, Bolivia. At least 3 confirmed dead at the hands of the illegitimate government of Jeanine Añez. The mass indigenous protests at major roads leading to La Paz in response to the murder of 23 campesinos in Cochabamba.#GolpeDeEstadoEnBolivia pic.twitter.com/fLuMHDNsmM
— Denis Rogatyuk (@DenisRogatyuk) November 19, 2019
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Horrifying massacre today in post-coup Bolivia: The military junta just killed at least 8 protesters in the community of Senkata
The area is surrounded by military and policepic.twitter.com/j35bGwAN5c
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 20, 2019
While it is unclear what role the U.S. may have played in the Bolivian military's massacre of demonstrators on Tuesday, the Trump administration has voiced enthusiastic support for the right-wing coup that ousted Morales earlier this month.
Following the overthrow of Morales, right-wing Senator Jeanine Añez declared herself interim president of Bolivia and issued a presidential decree exempting the nation's military and security forces from prosecution.
"The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia's constitution," U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement posted to the White House website last week.
As CodePink Latin American policy expert Leonardo Flores wrote for Common Dreams last week, the "desire to overthrow Morales has existed for years, but more immediate plans were finalized in the weeks before" the October 20 presidential election.
"Bolivian media outlet Erbol published leaked audio of conversations held from October 8 and 10 between civic leaders, former military officials, and opposition politicians who discussed 'a plan for social unrest, before, and after the general elections, with the aim of preventing President Evo Morales from remaining' in office," Flores wrote. "One opposition politician mentioned being in close contact with Sens. Marco Rubio [R-Fla.], Ted Cruz [R-Texas], and Bob Menendez [D-N.J.]."