Former Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday called for an international truth commission to examine the role of the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States in the military coup on November 10 that brought a right-wing anti-indigenous regime to power.
“We invite international organizations, Pope Francis, to form a truth commission about the October 20 [presidential] elections,” Morales said during a press conference in Mexico, where he was granted asylum after the Bolivian military forced him to resign earlier this month.
“Luis Almagro and the OAS joined the coup d’etat in Bolivia,” Morales said, referring to the OAS secretary general. “The Truth Commission will show the role of the OAS in the coup.”
The day after Bolivia’s October 20 presidential election, the OAS—which receives 60 percent of its funding from the U.S.—issued a statement casting doubt on preliminary election results showing that Morales prevailed outright over right-wing former President Carlos Mesa.
“The OAS Mission expresses its deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results revealed after the closing of the polls,” the organization said.
But a statistical analysis of the election results by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) published on November 8 found no evidence of irregularities or fraud.
“The OAS isn’t all that independent at the moment, with the Trump administration actively promoting this military coup, and Washington having more right-wing allies in the OAS than they did just a few years ago.”
—Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research
“There is simply no statistical or evidentiary basis to dispute the vote count results showing that Evo Morales won in the first round,” CEPR senior policy analyst Guillaume Long said in a statement at the time. “In the end, the official count, which is legally binding and completely transparent, with the tally sheets available online, closely matched the rapid count results.”
OAS did not back away from its claim of election fraud by Morales. On November 10, just hours before Morales was forced to resign, OAS issued a report (pdf) claiming there were “irregularities” in the election and questioning the “integrity” of Morales’ win.
In an op-ed for MarketWatch on Tuesday, CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot accused OAS of misleading the Bolivian public about the results of the presidential election and helping to spark the coup that ousted Morales.
“The consequences are quite serious; this misrepresentation (or lie) has already played a major role in a military coup in Bolivia,” Weisbrot wrote. “I would regard with great skepticism the allegations presented in their preliminary audit, and further publications—unless these can be verified by independent investigators from publicly available data.”
“And the OAS isn’t all that independent at the moment,” Weisbrot added, “with the Trump administration actively promoting this military coup, and Washington having more right-wing allies in the OAS than they did just a few years ago.”
In a scathing open letter last week, renowned Uruguayan-American writer Jorge Majfud called on OAS Secretary General Almagro—a Uruguayan lawyer—to resign from his post.
“In light of your repeated failures and continued abuse of the functions of ‘secretary’ of the States, we request that you, for the sake of the little honor that remains to you, resign your position and thereby allow someone more fitting to continue, at least in a more disguised fashion, with the OAS’s well-known and fundamental mission of pursuing the interests of Washington (not to say the interests of the U.S. public, which tends to shine in its radical ignorance of what is happening in the world),” Majfud wrote.
“We kindly ask for your resignation,” Majfud added, “because we know that you will not be brought down by any coup d’etat, since the OAS does not have an army of its own.”
Read the full letter: