by Linda Farthing and Thomas Becker
In three dramatic weeks in October and November 2019, the fourteen years of progressive change that Evo Morales' pink tide government had worked to implement in Bolivia and beyond came to a screeching halt. President Morales was forced to resign after protests against his re-election to a fourth term in allegedly fraudulent elections erupted among the urban middle classes, anti-indigenous racists, and prominent conservative politicians. The country's far right used the ensuing crisis to orchestrate a successful coup, with military and police backing, paving the way for a repressive "transition" government led by Jeanine Áñez to take power. The Áñez government quelled popular protests with lethal force, shut down critical media outlets, and targeted members of Morales' political party, the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS). Despite postponing elections three times, the Áñez government was eventually forced to call elections in October 2020. The MAS swept back into power, winning elections with 55% of the vote and returning democracy to the country.
This book tells the story of this year of upheaval in Bolivia, providing a critical analysis of the 14 years of the MAS government that preceded it as well as the MAS return to power in 2020. It includes personal stories and commentary from women and men on the streets, leaders in social movements, members of the MAS party and government, survivors of Áñez's abuses, and intellectuals.
"Measured and methodical, Farthing and Becker's analysis of the right-wing coup d'état in Bolivia is mandatory reading for anyone attempting to come to grips with the country's recent past. Sharp, expeditious prose mirror the often-frenetic pace of political developments in recent years. Rooted in a blend of on-the-ground reportage and a mastery of the best local sources of journalism and social-scientific inquiry, Coup: A Story of Violence and Resistance in Bolivia, contextualizes the socio-political gains and contradictions of the era of Evo Morales, unearths the root causes of his ouster from office, and surveys the violent regime of Jeanine Áñez installed in the coup's aftermath. In a period of recurring crises of global capitalism and an attendant rise in authoritarian forms of right-wing rule, the significance of this book extends well beyond the borders of Bolivia." --Jeffery R. Webber, author of Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia
About the Authors:
Linda Farthing is a journalist and independent scholar who reported and commented from Bolivia during the 2019-2020 coup for The Guardian, The Economist, Al Jazeera, Americas Quarterly, NPR and the BBC. She is the co-author of three books on Bolivia.
Thomas Becker is an activist, attorney, and academic who has worked on human rights issues in Bolivia for over 15 years. He spent much of 2019-2020 in Bolivia investigating abuses carried out after the 2019 coup for Harvard Law School.