Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Supporters of Bolivian ex-president Evo Morales clash with riot police during a protest against the interim government in La Paz on November 15, 2019. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

'It Was—Then as Now—Clearly a Coup': NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

"For those paying close attention to the 2019 election, there was never any doubt that the OAS' claims of fraud were bogus."

Eoin Higgins

More than seven months after claims of fraudulent elections sparked an undemocratic coup that led to the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales, the New York Times late Sunday reported on new research showing the U.S.-led Organization of American States used flawed data and analysis to support its widely cited contention the voting was rigged.

"It was clear from the start, but now even the NYT is admitting: what happened in Bolivia was nothing short of a coup by the U.S. and its OAS puppet, deposing one of the most successful democratically elected leaders in modern Latin American history," tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald in response to the tTimes reportin.

As Common Dreams reported in November, U.S. officials cited the OAS report on the election as a justification for backing the coup that deposed Morales, the left-wing Indigenous former president.

Despite reporting from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) casting doubt on those claims within 24 hours of the OAS making them, the Times only covered the problems with the U.S.-dominated organization's analysis after a study (pdf) from three independent researchers found the same results. 

As the Times reported Monday:

The authors of the new study said they were unable to replicate the O.A.S.'s findings using its likely techniques. They said a sudden change in the trend appeared only when they excluded results from the manually processed, late-reporting polling booths.

This suggests that the organization used an incorrect data set to reach its conclusion, the researchers said. The difference is significant: the 1,500 excluded late-reporting booths account for the bulk of the final votes that the O.A.S. statistical analysis claims are suspicious.

In a statement, CEPR research associate Jake Johnston said that the OAS "continued to repeat its false assertions for many months with little to no pushback or accountability" despite his organization's finding to the contrary.

"For those paying close attention to the 2019 election, there was never any doubt that the OAS' claims of fraud were bogus," said Johnston. 

Since the coup, the human rights situation in the Latin American country has gone from bad to worse as the government of far-right interim president Jeanine Áñez has rolled back reforms put in place by Morales, opened the country's resources to private exploitation, and delayed scheduled elections under the pretext of public health due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

"The OAS bears responsibility for the significant deterioration of the human rights situation in Bolivia since Morales' ouster," said CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot.

Weisbrot warned that if the OAS and its leadership is "allowed to get away with such politically driven falsification of their electoral observation results again, this threatens not only Bolivian democracy but the democracy of any country where the OAS may be involved in elections in the future."


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.

'No More Hiding': Sanders Says Make GOP Vote on Popular Policies

"The American people have a right to know where their senators stand on the most important issues impacting their lives."

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Demands End to Medicare Premium Hike From Alzheimer's Drug

Biogen's original price for the controversial drug, he argues, "is the perfect example of why Medicare should be negotiating drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Monumental Victory' as Biden Cancels Boundary Waters Mining Leases

Rep. Betty McCollum called the administration's decision "a rejection of the deeply flawed and politically motivated process under the Trump administration."

Brett Wilkins ·


Rights Groups Demand Hearings on the 'Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act'

"The longer Congress waits," warned one advocate, "the stronger and more dangerous this industry will become."

Kenny Stancil ·


Democrats Urge Biden to Abandon Dangerous Trump Policies on Nuclear Weapons

With the Nuclear Posture Review, say congressional lawmakers, the president can ensure "future generations can finally be free from the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over all our heads."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo