Who killed 21F?

Hugo Marcelo Balderrama

On February 21, 2016, a referendum was held to consult the population if they agreed to change article 168 of the Political Constitution of the State, which establishes that there can only be presidential re-election once. The results were not what the regime expected, since 2,682,517 Bolivians (51.3% of the votes) said No to the modification of the CPE.

Evo Morales was absent on that Sunday night. Álvaro García Linera, then vice president, was the only one who referred to the subject. Obviously, he denied having been defeated, and even dared to speak of a “technical tie.” On February 24, 2016, Morales, in a press conference ―apart from accepting his defeat―, promises to respect the results of 21F.

As expected, the Castrochavista franchise could not afford to accept such a setback. For this reason, on December 17, 2016, the IX Ordinary Congress of the Movement for Socialism approved the application of four ways to enable a new candidacy of Evo Morales. Finally, it was requested that the constitutional court make an interpretation of the re-election protected by the San José pact.

On November 28, 2017, magistrates Macario Lahor Cortez, Ruddy Flores, Mirtha Camacho, Osvaldo Valencia and Zenón Bacarreza decided that indefinite reelection was a “human right” of Evo Morales. From that moment, to the cry of: “Bolivia said no”, the country experienced a series of protests. However, the MAS had dealt the first mortal blow to the 21F.

On December 4, 2018, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that the presidential binomial Evo Morales – Álvaro García Linera, along with seven from the opposition, were authorized to participate in the primary and general elections of the year 2019. The MAS dealt the second blow to the 21F.

In the electoral process of October 2019, what we all know happened: the fraudulent elections, a people that took to the streets, a police force that took the right side of history, and the resignation of Morales and García Linera. At that time, despite the violence unleashed by masismo, Bolivia had become an example to the world.

It is in these circumstances that Jeanine Añez assumes power. A woman who was projected to restore the republic and rescue Bolivian democracy. But the worst thing that can happen to a president happened to him: he surrounded himself with people whose moral quality leaves much to be desired.

In a recent interview with the digital newspaper Página Siete, Roxana Lizárraga, former communications minister during the Añez government, stated the following:

In 2019, Arturo Murillo, Yerko Núñez and then-Senator Óscar Ortiz agreed with the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) the tenure of the State Attorney General, Juan Lanchipa. They also ordered the safe conduct for Luis Arce to go to Mexico. There is a false opposition. Murillo was one of those chosen by the masismo. He has a half brother, Vladimir Sánchez, a former Morales minister, who was an important link with the regime. The MAS chooses its opponents, does them favors, gives them privileges and impunity. The best thing that Evo and the current president have is the “opposition”.

For her part, Milena Soto, activist and political prisoner of the Bolivian dictatorship, in a contact with the Mexican journalist, Raúl Tortolero, recounted details of Arturo Murillo’s actions in 2020:

During his administration, Arturo Murillo completely distanced himself from the citizen platforms of Cochabamba. Many activists asked him to meet in person, but he always said he was busy. In August, several Cochabamba leaders began to demand the annulment of the MAS acronym. It was at that moment that Murillo cut off any contact with platforms and activists. Then the meetings that the minister had with people from the MAS were made public, although he always argued that they were business matters. Those of us who risk our lives to defend democracy in Bolivia feel abandoned and betrayed.

It’s sad, but the final blow to 21F was dealt by who, in theory, should have defended it.

Personally, I never believed in 21F. The reason is very simple: in a dictatorship, any electoral process is a farce where the citizen votes, but does not choose.

However, despite my pessimism, I must admit that the referendum served to unite the citizenry against the regime. For that very reason, it pains me that that hope has been trampled underfoot by the old dinosaurs of national politics. Those people, who have been inducing the Bolivian population to make the same mistake over and over again, should retire. But I know that’s not going to happen.

You bleed Bolivia!

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