Human Rights Watch supports US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, whitewashes massacre of indigenous protesters

Human Rights Watch refused to call the US-backed military overthrow of Bolviva’s President Evo Morales a coup, and director Ken Roth praised the “transitional moment” against the elected “strongman”

How Human Rights Watch Whitewashed a Right-Wing Massacre in Bolivia

Burials of Indigenous people killed in the right-wing coup and during the protests are now a daily picture in Bolivia.

While some may be surprised by its response to the Bolivia crisis, Human Rights Watch’s support for a U.S.-backed right-wing coup is no aberration.

By Alan Macleod - 20. November 2019

Bolivia is in turmoil after President Evo Morales was deposed in a U.S.-supported coup d’état on November 10.

The new coup government forced Morales into exile, arrested left-wing politicians and journalists, and then pre-exonerated security services of all crimes committed during the “re-establishment of order,” effectively giving soldiers a license to kill all resistance to the military junta’s rule.

Dozens have been killed. Indigenous protesters were massacred in the city of Cochabamba and the small town of Senkata.

Horrifying massacre today in post-coup Bolivia: The military junta just killed at least 8 protesters in the community of Senkata

The area is surrounded by military and

— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 20, 2019

In confusing and alarming situations such as these, millions of people around the world look to international human rights organizations for leadership and guidance.

However, far from standing up for the oppressed, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has effectively endorsed the events. In its official communiqué, HRW refrained from using the word coup, insisting Morales “resigned.”

HRW Americas director José Miguel Vivanco claimed President Morales stepped down “after weeks of civil unrest and violent clashes,” and did not even mention opposition violence against his party or the role of the military in demanding, at gunpoint, that he resign.

Therefore, Morales mysteriously “traveled to Mexico,” in the organization’s words, rather than fleeing there to escape arrest. HRW tacitly endorsed the coup government, advising it to “prioritize rights.”

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth went further, presenting the elected head of state fleeing the country at gunpoint as a refreshing step forward for democracy.

Roth wrote that Morales was “the casualty of a counter-revolution aimed at defending democracy… against electoral fraud and his own illegal candidacy,” claiming that Morales had ordered the army to shoot protesters.

Bolivia's Evo Morales was "the casualty of a counter-revolution aimed at defending democracy..against electoral fraud & his own illegal candidacy. The army w/drew its support because it was not prepared to fire on people in order to sustain him in power."

— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) November 18, 2019

Roth also described the coup approvingly as an “uprising” and a “transitional moment” for Bolivia, while presenting President Morales as an out-of-touch “strongman.”

The most important thing now in this transitional moment for Bolivia is ensuring that authorities reestablish the rule of law and protect fundamental rights, including to protest peacefully and to vote in transparent, competitive, and fair elections.

— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) November 13, 2019

New self-declared President Jeanine Añez, whose party received just 4 percent of the vote share in the October elections, has already expelled hundreds of Cuban doctors, broken off ties with Venezuela, and pulled Bolivia out of multiple international and intercontinental organizations and treaties.

Añez describes the indigenous majority of Bolivians as “satanic” and insists they should not be allowed to live in cities, instead, being sent to the desert or the sparsely populated highlands.

Añez also declared that she is “committed to taking all measures necessary to pacify” the population.

"I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous practices. The city is not for the Indian: they should go to the highlands or the desert" – new US-backed self-declared President of Bolivia Jeanine Añez.

— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) November 13, 2019

Human Rights Watch described the law giving Bolivian security forces complete impunity to kill dissenters as a “problematic decree,” as if Añez had used racially insensitive language, rather than ordering a massacre.

In its statement, HRW noted that “nine people died and 122 were wounded” during the Cochabamba demonstration, leaving its readers completely in the dark about who died and who was responsible for the killing.

A long history of ‘human rights’ double standards

Human Rights Watch was originally established in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, an American organization dedicated to exposing the crimes of socialist Eastern Bloc countries and monitoring their compliance with the Helsinki Accords.

Since its establishment, HRW has consistently been criticized for acting as a de facto vehicle for U.S. foreign policy, employing former U.S. government officials in key positions, and displaying bias against leftist governments unfriendly to the United States.

A 2008 report on human rights violations in Venezuela authored by Jose Vivanco, for example, was immediately panned by hundreds of academics and Latin American scholars, who said the “grossly flawed” document “did not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy, or credibility.”

Indeed, Vivanco openly stated his biases, revealing that he wrote the report “because we wanted to demonstrate to the world that Venezuela is not a model for anyone.”

In contrast, Human Rights Watch was relatively silent on the Honduran coup d’état that deposed leftist President Manuel Zelaya, and the repression that came after, effectively carrying water for U.S.-backed regime change.

As writer Keane Bhatt, who now works as Bernie Sanders’ communications director, argued in 2013, “Human Rights Watch’s deep ties to U.S. corporate and state sectors should disqualify the institution from any public pretense of independence.”

Likewise, Amnesty International’s image as a defender of human rights hides a dark past of being effectively a front organization for Western governments.

As MintPress News revealed earlier this year, a co-founder of the organization, Peter Benenson, was an avowed anti-communist with deep ties to the British Foreign and Colonial Offices, propping up the apartheid regime of South Africa at the UK government’s request.

Another Amnesty International co-founder, Luis Kutner, was an FBI asset who was linked to the U.S. government’s assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Kutner went on to form an organization called “Friends of the FBI”, dedicated to countering and combating criticism of the bureau.

While some may be surprised by Human Rights Watch’s response to the Bolivia crisis, the organization’s applause for the U.S.-backed right-wing coup against a democratically elected socialist head of state is not an aberration or a mistake.

HRW is performing its duty in reinforcing U.S. hegemony by condemning any leftist challengers in America’s “backyard.”

This article was first published at Mintpress News.

Alan MacLeod

 is an academic and journalist. He is a staff writer at Mintpress News and a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is the author of Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting.


Bolivia: The Most Nefarious Coup in History


Bolivia massacre coup bodies

Freshly killed Indigenous Youth in Bolivia - just minutes ago they were full of hope and aspirations.


CIA Installed Dictatorship Replaces Democracy in Bolivia

By Stephen Lendman - GR - 17. November 2019

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s democratically elected and three-times reelected Bolivian president. Picture: OneWorld

In cahoots with Bolivian fascists, military and police, along with US imperial tool Organization of American States (OAS), CIA forces toppled Morales for not subordinating the country’s sovereign rights to US interests.

Morales’ majority Movement for Socialism (MAS) legislators were intimidated and threatened not to interfere with the coup.

In response to the OAS’ Big Lie about electoral fraud, none occurring, Pompeo congratulated the organization for serving US interests over the rights and welfare of Bolivia and its people.

Separately, he thanked self-declared, unelected, illegitimate usurper president Jeanine Anez for “lead(ing) her nation through this democratic transition (sic)” the Trump regime went all-out to eliminate, CIA-installed fascist tyranny replacing it.

An unnamed senior state department official called transition to despotism in Bolivia “a significant moment for…democracy in our hemisphere” — a notion both extremist right wings of the US one-party state abhor, especially at home.

Anti-Morales Bolivians in the streets post-election, “standing up for (the) legitimacy of their electoral process,” were CIA-recruited thugs.

Key Bolivian military and police officials were enlisted to support the coup. At first, majority pro-Morales legislators couldn’t enter parliament because security forces refused to guarantee their safety.

Days later, they formed a legislative quorum, swearing in MP Monico Eva Copa as Senate president and Sergio Choque as lower house Chamber of Deputies president.

Pro-Morales supporters control of Bolivia’s Legislative Assembly for now, tenuous at best without military and police support.

Anez illegally self-declared herself president, breaching the constitutional requirement for a parliamentary quorum to be in session for approval.

She breached articles 161, 169 and 410 of the Constitution.

Article 161 lists the Legislative Assembly’s functions, a quorum required for them to be performed. They include “accept(ing) or reject(ing) the resignation of the president (and) vice president.”

Article 169 states the following:

“In the event of an impediment or definitive absence of the President, he or she shall be replaced by the Vice President and, in the absence of the latter, by the President of the Senate, and in his or her absence by the President of the Chamber of Deputies. In this last case, new elections shall be called within a maximum period of ninety days.”

“In case of temporary absence, the Vice President shall assume the Presidency for a term not to exceed ninety days.”

Article 410 states:

“Every person, natural and legal, as well as public organs, public functions and institutions, are subject to the present Constitution.”

“The Constitution is the supreme norm of Bolivian law and enjoys supremacy before any other normative disposition.”

Anez is a US-anointed hard-right political nobody, elected to Bolivia’s Senate in 2014 with 91,895 votes – 1.7% of 5,171,428 ballots cast.

Until the CIA coup, most Bolivians knew little or nothing about her. Telesur noted that “Latin America recorded a new ‘self-swearing’ in coup script that, without a doubt, seems familiar,” adding:

“Violence in the country continues by radical opposition groups that have burned indigenous population symbols.”

“Meanwhile in La Paz, (the country’s political capital) thousands of supporters of Evo Morales are being mobilized in rejection of the coup d’etat and its discriminatory and racist acts.”

“Over 4,500 Twitter accounts (were) created to legitimize (the illegitimate) coup (with) almost no followers,” Telesur reported, citing Menta Communication’s Luciano Galup, adding:

“These action have scant effect on domestic politics…But worldwide they can function as (pro-coup) propaganda” — a way for dictatorships and their sponsors to legitimize what’s illegitimate.

Calling Twitter’s action “a scandal,” Galup noted that 3,612 accounts have “between zero and one follower,” adding:

“(T)he most scandalous thing is there are 4,492 accounts that were created between yesterday and today to participate in the (coup). They created 4,492 accounts in two days.”

Images released support it. On Friday, illegitimate coup d’etat regime communications minister Roxana Lizarraga threatened independent journalists reporting accurately on what’s going with “sedition,” saying:

“Law will be fully enforced against those journalists or pseudo-journalists who are seditious, whether they are nationals or foreigners (sic),” warning:

The (illegitimate) interior ministry is compiling a list of journalists opposed to the coup d’etat regime.

Arrests were made, more likely to follow. The coup d’etat regime cut diplomatic ties to Venezuela, ordered its embassy staff to leave the country — one day after Anez usurped power, likely acting on orders from Washington.

Separately, she warned that if Morales returns to Bolivia, his legal right, he’ll face charges, falsely saying:

“He knows he has to answer to justice (sic). There is an electoral crime (sic). Nobody has thrown him out, but yes, there’s a need for him to respond regarding electoral fraud (sic), in addition to many allegations of corruption (sic).”

Earlier she said her (illegitimate) foreign ministry will file an official complaint with Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government for granting Morales asylum.

Coup d’etat regime foreign minister Karen Longaric announced Bolivia’s withdrawal from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

Established in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba, other regional nations joining the alliance. The international organization is all about cooperative social, political and economic integration of Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Large-scale pro-Morales protests continue in La Paz and elsewhere — demanding Anez resign, calling for reinstatement of Morales as Bolivia’s legitimate president.

CIA-installed usurpers control things. Resistance continues. The US got another imperial trophy if its dark forces can keep it — no guarantee given Bolivia’s long history of resisting tyranny.


* Note to readers: Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at . He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at

The original source of this article is Global Research - Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2019


Media Support for the CIA Coup in Bolivia

By Stephen Lendman - GR Global - 14. November 2019

Without establishment media support, US planned aggression, color revolutions, old-fashioned coups, and other hostile to peace, equity and justice actions wouldn’t get out of the starting gate. Picture: OneWorld

Propaganda support is crucial, manipulating the public mind. Media operate as gatekeepers, proliferating the official narrative, suppressing vital hard truths essential for everyone to know.

Orwell called it “reality control,” substituting managed news misinformation and disinformation for truth-telling.

Discussing the coup in Bolivia, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) said the following:

Bolivian “(a)rmy generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup,” adding:

“And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia. No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup,” concealing reality, exclusively reporting state-approved propaganda, saying the following:

NYT: An “infuriated population” was angry about “election fraud” — ignoring Bolivia’s free, fair and open process, Evo Morales elected and reelected four times.

Fox News falsely called his government a “full-blown dictatorship” — ignoring Bolivian democratic rule under his leadership.

When establishment media refer to a “coup,” Morales and his government are falsely accused of the made-in-the-USA plot to topple him.

FAIR: “The New York Times did not hide its approval at events, presenting Morales as a power-hungry despot who had finally ‘lost his grip on power,’ ” adding:

Removing him from office marked “the end of tyranny.”

CNN highlighted the Big Lie of “election fraud,” proving again why it’s the most distrusted name in so-called television news.

Across the board, establishment media suppressed how Morales was “forced (from office) at gunpoint by the military,” FAIR stressed.

CBS News falsely said Morales resigned over “election fraud and protests.”

FAIR: “Delegitimizing foreign elections where the ‘wrong’ person wins, of course, is a favorite pastime of corporate media.”

FAIR: “No mainstream outlet warned its readers (or viewers) that the OAS is a Cold War organization, explicitly set up to halt the spread of leftist governments.”

USAID earlier said the organization “promotes US interests in the Western hemisphere, countering the influence of” sovereign independent governments in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia under Morales.

The same script followed the US 2016 presidential election, establishment media furious about Trump’s triumph over Hillary.

Russia Denounces Bolivia Coup, Moscow’s Ambiguous Statement Regarding Illegitimate Self-Proclaimed President

Russiagate and Ukrainegate scams are all about wanting him delegitimized and weakened for winning an election he was supposed to lose.

Over-entertained, uninformed Americans are so out of touch with reality they’re easy to fool no matter how many times they were duped before.

Famed imperial state critic Gore Vidal once said:

“We are the United States of Amnesia, which is encouraged by a media that has no desire to tell us the truth about anything, serving their corporate masters who have other plans to dominate us.”

Noted oral historian Studs Terkel responded to Vidal, saying:

“Gore, it’s not the United States of Amnesia. It’s the United States of Alzheimer’s.”

Information passes through the public mind like water through a sieve — understanding something today, erased from memory when new or dissimilar information replaces it.

Vidal railed against establishment media, calling them “bandits,” adding “(t)he infantilizing of the republic is one of the triumphs of American television.”

“Everybody with an IQ above room temperature is onto the con act of our media. They are obeying bigger, richer interests than informing the public—which is the last thing that corporate America has ever been interested in doing.”

Commenting on the nation’s ruling class, Vidal said he was “around (its members) all (his) life,” stressing his awareness of “their total contempt for the people of the country” — serving their own interests exclusively, supported by dominant media.

In its latest edition, the NYT falsely claimed self-declared, unelected, coup d’etat president in Bolivia Anez aims “to reconstruct democracy.”

Like other establishment media, it failed to explain that toppling Morales was all about eliminating democratic rule under his leadership, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing him.

The Times and likeminded media support what demands denunciation. No election “fraud” occurred as falsely reported.

General Carlos Orellana Centellas replaced Williams Kaliman as Bolivian military chief, both officials and other key ones in their chain of command trained at the infamous School of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA.

According to Bolivia’s Ombudsman’s Office, street violence since October 20 resulted in eight deaths, over 500 injuries, and hundreds arrested.

On Wednesday, Telesur reported that “legitimate” Senate President Adriana Salvatierra “was violently assaulted by the police as she was trying to enter the Senate on Wednesday in order to comply with the constitutional rule that automatically proclaims the head of the upper chamber the Interim President when the President steps down, after Evo Morales was forced to resign on Sunday.”

During a Wednesday press conference, she said that she’s ready to convene parliament and assume the presidency as constitutionally mandated, adding:

“After the attack, we can observe that we have no guarantee for us to fulfill our legislative mandate.” Separately, she tweeted:

“#Bolivia | Senate President Adriana Salvatierra was assaulted and her entrance to the senate was blocked by police officials and coup supporters.”

Telesur tweeted:

“After a violent attack by coup supporters and police, Bolivian President of the Senate suffered minor injuries, but she was not able to go back to work and fulfill her mission at congress.”

On Wednesday, Pompeo issued a statement, expressing support for Bolivia’s coup d’etat president Anez, saying:

The Trump regime “applauds (her) for stepping up…to lead her nation through this democratic transition” — what the CIA orchestrated coup went all out to eliminate.

In response to events in Bolivia, the anti-imperial Black Alliance for Peace expressed solidarity with its population, urging that “people of conscience in the West join us to defeat the US/EU/NATO Axis of domination for the good of humanity,” adding:

“People of Bolivia, you are not alone.”

Note: On November 16, anti-imperial demonstrations are planned in Washington, New York, and other US cities against the CIA orchestrated coup in Bolivia — in coordination with similar actions abroad.

They’re all about wanting legitimate Bolivian President Evo Morales restored to the office he democratically won.

* Note to readers: Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at . He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at

The original source of this article is Global Research - Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2019



WATCH Bolivian police fire tear gas at mourners carrying coffins of protesters killed in previous clashes

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