After Week of Violence and Unrest, Warren Criticized for Conciliatory Remarks on Post-Coup Bolivia

Top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren is under fire from progressives and Indigenous activists for her comments Monday about the recent coup in Bolivia—remarks her critics called too conciliatory to the right-wing un-elected government that seized power after President Evo Morales was forced to resign and flee the country.

“The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible,” Warren tweeted Monday afternoon. “Bolivia’s interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia’s security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit violence against them.”

“Sometimes silence is better,” replied journalist Katie Halper.

“Please get a better foreign policy advisor and condemn the coup,” said attorney Eva Golinger.

The coup on November 10 resulted in the democratically-elected Morales being forced to resign from office. Morales fled Bolivia for Mexico days later after Sen. Jeanine Añez, a right-wing Christian extremist, unilaterally declared herself president. 

Jacobin‘s Luke Savage pointed out that Warren’s statement appeared to be an attempt to downplay the violence of the coup and reframe the conflict as a purely political conflict.

“This isn’t an issue of process,” said Savage. “A right wing military coup deposed Bolivia’s sitting president and the U.S.A. supported it.”

Chief among progressive criticiques of Warren’s statement were the Massachusetts’ senator’s apparent endorsement of the legitimacy of the coup government. 

“Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to call yourself a progressive who stands up for the little guy you might want to start calling a right wing coup that’s resulted in the curbing of democratic freedoms and onslaught of violence… well, a right wing coup,” tweeted Al Jazeera host Sana Saeed. “And condemn it.”

Protests against Añez’s government have spread across Boliva over the past week. On Friday, as Common Dreams reported, police and military forces killed nine Indigenous protesters in the city of Sacaba, near Cochabamba.