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.

Bolivia's ex-President Evo Morales speaks during an interview with AFP in Buenos Aires on December 24, 2019. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Evo Morales Says He Is 'Absolutely Convinced' US Led Coup in Bolivia to Exploit Lithium Reserves

"It was a national and international coup d'etat... it's a coup against lithium."

Jake Johnson

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said in an interview Tuesday that he is "absolutely convinced" the United States orchestrated the military coup that removed him from power last month with the goal of exploiting Bolivia's enormous lithium reserves.

Morales told AFP that he believes the U.S. had not "forgiven" him for pursuing lithium partnerships with China and Russia over Washington.

"Transnational companies are behind the coup. The United States, too, because of the lithium issue."
—Evo Morales

"It was a national and international coup d'etat," said Morales. "I'm absolutely convinced it's a coup against lithium. We as a state had begun industrializing lithium... As a small country of 10 million inhabitants, we were soon going to set the price of lithium. They know we have the greatest lithium reserves in the world of 16,000 square kilometers (over 6,100 square miles)."

U.S. President Donald Trump and officials in his administration have openly and enthusiastically celebrated the coup in Bolivia, but it is not yet clear whether the White House played a direct or indirect role in Morales' ouster, which brought to power a right-wing anti-indigenous government.

Morales was initially granted asylum by Mexico following the coup, but earlier this month he moved to Argentina after that country's leftist leaders granted him refugee status.

The former Bolivian president has been outspoken about the coup and its aftermath since his ouster last month. On Twitter and in interviews, Morales has condemned the interim government of Jeanine Añez for giving the Bolivian military and security forces a blank check to gun down peaceful indigenous protesters.

Morales has also accused the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) of deliberately misleading the public about the results of the November presidential election.

"Luis Almagro deserves to be put on trial for being responsible for so many massacres and deaths in Bolivia," Morales told AFP, referring to the OAS secretary general.

The Tuesday interview with AFP was not the first time Morales has alleged that Bolivia's lithium reserves were a key factor in last month's coup.

"Transnational companies are behind the coup," Morales told The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald in an interview earlier this month. "The United States, too, because of the lithium issue."

Watch the full interview:


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