Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Thousands march during a protest against Bolivian President Jeanine Añez on July 28, 2020 in La Paz, Bolivia. (Photo: Gaston Brito/Getty Images)

'Our Obligation Is to Defend Democracy': Bolivians Join Mass Marches Against Election Delay by Right-Wing Coup Government

With threat to postpone America's elections, said one Bolivian journalist, Trump is "taking lessons from his puppet dictator in Bolivia."

Jake Johnson

Thousands of Bolivians took to the streets this week in mass demonstrations and marches against the coup government's decision to postpone the country's presidential election until October, further extending the brutal reign of unelected right-wing President Jeanine Añez as the coronavirus continues to ravage the Latin American nation.

The presidential contest was originally scheduled to take place Sept. 6, but Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal—headed by Añez appointee Salvador Romero—opted last week to push the election back to Oct. 18, citing Covid-19 fears. Recent polling shows Añez trailing both Movement for Socialism (MAS) candidate Luis Arce and conservative Carlos Mesa.

The decision to delay the election sparked immediate backlash from the Bolivian left. Former President Evo Morales, who was ousted in a military coup last November, accused the Añez government of botching its response to the coronavirus pandemic and warned that "postponement of the election date will only cause more suffering for the Bolivian people."

On Tuesday, at least 5,000 Bolivians took part in a massive demonstration in El Alto organized by the Bolivian Workers' Center (COB), the country's largest trade union federation.

"The election date of September 6 must be respected," mining leader Lucio Padilla told AFP. "Our obligation is to defend democracy."

Bolivian unions are threatening to launch a general strike if the tribunal refuses to allow the presidential election to take place on Sept. 6 as originally scheduled.

"If this council is not heard," said COB executive secretary Juan Carlos Huarachi, "the indefinite general strike begins."

Bolivian journalist Oliver Vargas wrote in the socialist magazine Tribune on Tuesday that while "October 18th is the new date" for Bolivia's presidential contest, "civil society has lost faith that it will be respected."

"Bolivia shows how the ideologues of the free market are more than happy to toss out any semblance of democratic rule if they feel threatened," Vargas added. "It also exposes the true character of interventions by governments like the U.S. and U.K. in international affairs to 'promote democracy.' If the rest of us want to ensure that their coup in Bolivia doesn't result in the end of democracy for good, those demanding free, fair, and immediate elections will need all of our solidarity."

After U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to postpone America's presidential elections, Vargas tweeted that Trump is "taking lessons from his puppet dictator in Bolivia."

"If behind in the polls," Vargas tweeted, "cancel the election on the basis of the pandemic you've done nothing to tackle."


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.

'Intentional Vandalism' Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

Kenny Stancil ·


GOP Silence on Trump's Call to Axe Constitution Reveals 'Full Embrace of Fascism': House Dem

"Last week the leader of the Republican Party had dinner with a Nazi leader and a man who called Adolf Hitler 'great,'" said Rep. Bill Pascrell. "Yesterday Trump called for throwing out the Constitution and making himself dictator."

Kenny Stancil ·


Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo