By Alan Macleod
November 18, 2019
via Mintpress News
Both the corporate media and human rights groups have been silent as journalists and indigenous protesters have been targeted as Bolivia’s self-declared right-wing government uses violence to secure its tenuous hold on power
Despite having been in power for only one week, the new Bolivian coup government of Jeanine Añez has already turned the powers of repression onto the population, using live rounds on demonstrators protesting the forceful removal of President Evo Morales from power on November 10. Morales has sought asylum in Mexico. The death toll, according to Bolivia’s national ombudsman, has risen to 23, with more than one thousand people arrested. That figure includes the victims of the Cochabamba massacre, where soldiers and police killed nine indigenous protesters Friday.
The full scope of the armed forces has been unleashed on demonstrators, with security forces using live ammunition, tanks and even attack helicopters to destroy resistance to the coup. Much of Bolivia’s security state, including many of the leaders of the coup, were trained by the FBI and by the notorious School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA, a U.S. Army installation where many of the most brutal death squads and torturers in Latin American history cut their teeth. Those skills are now on show in Cochabamba.
“Death squads unleashed in Bolivia: the coup regime has granted immunity to soldiers who shoot protesters. In just days they’ve shot hundreds of people,” announced Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein via Twitter. Images and video of the deadly events immediately began circulating on social media. The scenes of panicked protesters fleeing gunshots or desperately checking dead or dying bodies shocked many: “We’re watching the rounding up and killing of indigenous people in Bolivia in real time by right wing forces supported by the US. This should be a top story,” said journalist Rania Khalek.
But the massacre is largely being downplayed in the mainstream press, who overwhelmingly supported former President Morales’ ouster, framing events not as a coup, but as Morales “resigning” from office. When reported on at all, the events are often euphemistically referred to as a “clash” between Morales supporters and government forces, removing all agency and culpability from their headlines. To date, no mainstream Western outlet has used the word “massacre” or similar words, in headlines to describe the event.