Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

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.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo