Latin American Response to Bolivia’s Political Unrest

Following the right-wing coup in Bolivia and the resignation of Evo Morales, the governments and people of several Latin American countries have let their thoughts and opinions be heard. One of the main countries voicing their opinion is Mexico, which granted Morales political asylum following his coerced resignation by the military in an order to return the country to peace. A Mexican Air Force G550 was sent Monday morning to pick up Morales in a proactive effort, not a reactive effort. There was uneasiness in the journey because the plane took off from Lima, Peru it was not allowed to land in Bolivia and had to return and wait for hours. After Morales was picked up, the plane was not able to refuel in Peru “due to political evaluations.” The plane was then able to land in Paraguay after a discussion between Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez and Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo. Following his departure, Morales tweeted “Sisters and brothers, I am leaving towards Mexico… It hurts to leave the country for political reasons; however, I will always be watching. Soon I will return with more strength and energy.”

Many left-leaning Latin American governments have expressed their thoughts that this was coup, while right-leaning governments like the US and the UK have expressed this as a return to democracy. Nicaragua’s left-leaning president Daniel Ortega has called this a coup and shows his unwavering support for Morales. Argentina’s foreign minister agrees with the recommendation from the OAS about holding new elections, but its President-elect Alberto Fernandez describes what has been happening a coup, saying “It was a coup perpetrated against the president who had called for a new electoral process”. There have even been huge protests in Buenos Aires against the coup. Venezuela’s Maduro condemned this suspected coup and added his support for the Native Bolivian people who he calls “victims of racism,” while Juan Guaido describes this as a continuation of the “democratic hurricane in Latin America”. Cuba has also called this a coup. Countries with more center and/or right-leaning governments have not called this a coup, but do call for a peaceful transition and process, these countries include Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.

Latin America as a whole is portrayed differently in all the articles I looked at. It depends on which news site, but these sites seem more or less neutral and just reporting on an event that could be considered a coup or not, which also depends on which government leader people are asking. This is very important to our class discussion because Latin America has a lengthy history of right-wing coups that have taken out democratically elected governments. We are seeing history in the making, and a history that has clearly repeated itself.



Class Notes 11/4

Class began with the daily announcements:

  • Lecture: Tuesday 11/5 @ 7 Dr. Leiby on “immigrants in Ohio” Science Café, Spoon Market
  • Election Day: Tuesday shuttles from Babcock Hall
  • Global Engagement Fair: Tuesday 10-2 in Lowry
  • Peer review of full Wikipedia articles: Wednesday )bring your computers)

After the announcements, we talked about the midterm. There is one major change to the format of the midterm; instead of prepping four primary sources and choosing out of the three that are on the Midterm we will prepare two primary sources and get presented one instead of choosing on the Midterm. After announcements, Shahroz presented on the murder of an Indigenous man from the Amazon by illegal loggers. Shahroz discusses how since the election of the right-winged Bolsonaro, the Amazon has suffered greatly. There have been big chunks of the Amazon sold off to corporations by the President instead of protecting the rainforest. Because of this, there have been efforts by Indigenous people to become “forest guardians” who take it upon themselves to ward off the illegal loggers. The news article goes into the death of one of these forest guardians. After the presentation, there were questions about the ideology of Bolsonaro and Professor Holt explained that he did not run on a platform of Indigenous rights and believes that the Native people who reside in the Amazon should be integrated and “modernized” into the rest of the country. Professor Holt talked about a NYT video on the environmental issues going on in Brazil.

Before we were put into our HAP groups, we discussed what the historical analysis was for the day with regards to the readings

  • Historical Context: What has happened since the FSLN took power?
  • Historiography: How have historians interpreted the lived experiences of  Nicaraguans under the Sandanista government? After the return to contested elections?
  • Your interpretations: How revolutionary were the changes in Nicaragua?

Professor Holt then showed a powerpoint with an important timeline of events and explained that we must also think about and understand the natural disasters that destabilized the nation. It was also noted how there was a political change with a non-Sandanista president, but right after Daniel Ortega was elected once again. We were then put into our HAP groups to have a small debate about the readings that were assigned. When we came back together we discussed the two different articles and how they compared.

Key Terms

  • Sandanistas- a socialist political party that gained power of Nicaragua in 1979
  • Violeta Chamorro- center-right, US-backed former president of Nicaragua that precede Daniel Ortega
  • Central American Free Trade Agreement- similar to NAFTA, CAFTA  consists of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic




  • What were the reasons to elect two non-Sandanista presidents in a row?
  • What were the ramifications of Chamorro being the one and only woman president to date and why does it matter that she was backed by the United States?
  • What were the ramifications of the CAFTA?