Sanders has denounced coup, but Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg so far silent on Bolivia crisis

"Don't the other candidates have a position about a destabilizing, right-wing takeover of a neighboring country?"

By Jake Johnson
November 13, 2019 9:56PM (UTC)
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Manchester, NH. (Getty Stock/ AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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In the nearly three days since Bolivia's elected President Evo Morales was deposed in a military coup, leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg have not said a word about the assault on democracy that U.S. President Donald Trump has enthusiastically endorsed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remains the only 2020 Democratic presidential contender to condemn Morales' ouster, which followed weeks of violent right-wing protests against the results of Bolivia's October presidential election.


"I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales," Sanders tweeted Monday. "The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions."

Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg did not respond to Common Dreams' request for comment on the current situation in Bolivia. This story will be updated if we hear back.

Targeted searches on Google News for "Warren + Bolivia"; "Biden + Bolivia"; and "Buttigieg + Bolivia" turned up no relevant results, while a search for "Sanders + Bolivia" returned numerous stories about the Vermont senator's comments on Monday.


"This is EXACTLY the time, when there is a blatant coup in Bolivia, that we need to hear from the presidential candidates," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group CodePink, wrote in an email to Common Dreams. "Why is Bernie Sanders the only one who has spoken out, expressing his concern about the military pushing Evo Morales out? Don't the other candidates have a position about a destabilizing, right-wing takeover of a neighboring country? We need to hear from them."

The coup sparked swift condemnation from left-leaning political leaders around the world, including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Morales' ouster left a political vacuum that was filled late Tuesday by right-wing Bolivian Sen. Jeanine Añez, who declared herself interim president despite lacking support from the constitutionally required number of lawmakers.

The New York Times reported that Bolivia's "military high command met with Ms. Añez for more than an hour at the government palace Tuesday night in what her aides described as a planning session to keep the peace."

In a tweet Tuesday night, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, called out the silence of U.S. human rights organizations and foreign policy analysts in the wake of the Bolivia coup.

"Where are the people in U.S. foreign policy and human rights circles who claim to care about the rule of law?" asked Weisbrot. "Nobody denies that Evo was democratically elected in 2014, and his term doesn't end until January. How can the military have the right to tell him to resign?"

Jake Johnson

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