The Hybrid War on Bolivia: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change
The socialist state of Bolivia is the latest target of the US’ regime change efforts after a preplanned Hybrid War was launched against its leadership following President Morales’ razor-thin victory in the first round of elections last month, with the situation having rapidly deteriorated in the several weeks since then to the point where a military coup and/or civil war appear imminent, especially after the US-backed OAS’ “recommendation” to hold another election since the previous one’s results supposedly can’t be “verified”.
The Bolivian Time Bomb
Bolivia is on the brink of becoming South America’s worst crisis in recent history if the ongoing US-backed Hybrid War against its democratically elected and legitimate leadership continues to spiral out of control. President Morales’ razor-thin victory in the first round of last month’s elections was the trigger that “justified” publicly rolling out the preplanned destabilization against him that was being prepared for years already in the event that Latin America’s longest-serving leader sought a fourth term in office. Bolivians narrowly voted against his initiative in 2016 to change the constitution to give him the right to run once again, but the Supreme Electoral Court reversed the results in December 2018 and he was thus able to do so during the latest election. The “opposition” expected that he wouldn’t receive the more than 10% margin of victory needed to prevent a second round since they were planning to unite in that scenario and therefore ensure his electoral defeat soon thereafter, which is why they were so surprised that this didn’t come to pass and therefore immediately cried foul.
Hybrid War Basics
Per the strategic precepts described in the author’s 2015 book about “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change“, the US is flexibly adapting its proxy warfare strategy to account for this turn of events, having already had a back-up plan to rely upon if this happened. The original plan was to remove President Morales peacefully through elections, but since that’s no longer possible, violence is the only recourse for the US and its supporters in the country. The North American hegemon has always felt threatened by any successful socialist state, and it also despises the fact that Bolivia is both Russia’s close regional partner nowadays and a central transit state along China’s envisaged Trans-Oceanic Railroad (TORR), so there are political and geostrategic reasons why it wants to overthrow him in line with the author’s “Law of Hybrid Warfare“. It should be said that Bolivia, like most Latin American and especially South American countries (both historically as well as in the present day), is extremely polarized, even more so than its peers because the differences between the left- and right-wings largely overlap with ethno-regional divides. The left-leaning indigenous population is mostly located in the lithium-rich highlands while the right-leaning mestizos are in the gas-rich lowlands.
It’s therefore comparatively easy to mobilize destructive mobs inspired by demagogic rhetoric, such as the ones that have been rioting throughout the country in the weeks preceding the US-backed OAS’ “recommendation” on Sunday that another election be held because it supposedly can’t verify the results of the original one after completing their audit. Luis Fernando Camacho, a civil society leader from the “opposition” stronghold of Santa Cruz who’s on the path to becoming “Bolivia’s Guaido”, is leading the disturbances. He’s called on his followers to “paralyze government institutions and block the borders”, according to Reuters, “with strikes and road blockades in cities”. Being landlocked, Bolivia is very vulnerable to being cut off from the rest of the world through these means, which could immediately trigger an economic crisis that could ultimately end up having very serious humanitarian consequences if it interferes with food shipments. That’s likely what Camacho’s US patrons want since it would radicalize the population even more than they already are and make civil war a fait accompli. There are already signs that the country is hurdling down that path after a mob lynched a female mayor from the governing party, doused her in red paint, forcibly cut her hair, and dragged her through the streets before handing her over to police.
The military declared that it won’t get involved in resolving the current crisis, which is arguably a betrayal of the constitution mandating them to maintain law and order in the country. Their decision not to intervene in dispersing the riotous mobs tacitly suggests that this institution was infiltrated by US intelligence prior to the onset of the preplanned unrest, which is extremely troubling because it means that President Morales’ life might be in danger if there’s even a single traitor among their ranks who would be willing to detain him in the name of the so-called “revolution” or worse. This isn’t pure speculation either since it’s been reported that some of the police guarding the presidential palace have abandoned their posts and joined the regime change movement, just like some of their colleagues elsewhere across the country over the weekend whose dereliction of duty prompted President Morales to warn against an impending coup.
Crisis In The Capital
The weekend’s calamitous events also saw rioters storming the state’s television and radio offices, effectively seizing control of one of the instruments of state power. The situation is unprecedentedly serious at the moment and appears set to escalate even further if Camacho once again attempts to “peacefully” lead a “march” to the presidential palace in order to have President Morales sign a pre-written “resignation letter”, considering that the head of state can no longer depend on the police to protect his residence and seeing as how the “opposition” might attempt to forcibly seize it just like they did with the state’s media outlets. If Morales is forced to flee and relocate his government to another city just like his Ecuadorian counterpart did at the height of the protests against him last month, then it might fuel rumors that he’s a lame duck who’s about to be pushed out of power. It’s very difficult for him to prevent this scenario after the military said that it wouldn’t intervene since it means that those uncertain number of forces who might still be loyal to the constitution and dedicated to protecting the country’s president would be accused of “insubordination” by their superiors even though it’s their higher-ups who are the ones betraying the state.
Military Coup, Right-Wing Separatism, And Civil War Scenarios
Any visible split in the armed forces would almost certainly either lead to a military coup or civil war, the latter scenario of which could predictably transpire because President Morales’ largely indigenous base risks having their historic socio-political gains over the past decade and a half reversed if the “opposition” forcibly comes to power and are therefore inclined to literally fight for the preservation of their rights. The “opposition” previously threatened during a prior crisis to have the “Media Luna” (“half moon”) crescent of regions under their influence secede from the state, so even in the highly unlikely event that President Morales regains control of the capital, then he’d still have to contend with the even more daunting challenge of reuniting the country under that scenario. Considering that there’s an ethnic dimension to this Hybrid War crisis, it can’t be discounted that the “opposition’s” most extreme right-wing members won’t take a page from history by organizing into death squads and carrying out ethnic cleansing against President Morales’ indigenous supporters, especially in the “Media Luna” scenario where they might be accused of being “fifth columnists” of the “communist dictator”.
There is no realistic chance that the Hybrid War on Bolivia will be “peacefully” resolved unless President Morales resigns since the US-backed “opposition” is braying for blood and will do whatever they have to in their pursuit of power. Even if he’s deposed (be it by resigning under pressure or being overthrown by the military), however, there’s no telling whether his mostly indigenous supporters will simply surrender or if they’ll organize to defend the hard-earned rights that they received during his tenure but which are at risk of being rolled back by the “opposition”. Given everything that’s at stake, it’s understandable why President Morales is holding firm in defense of his state’s sovereignty and the interests of the people who he was elected four times already to represent, but it’ll be nothing short of a miracle if he’s able to succeed without the support of the armed forces. The US-backed OAS’ “recommendation” to hold another vote is an attempt to “delegitimize” his victory and fan the flames of further unrest, so agreeing to it would be a tacit admission that the first round was “fraudulent” and thus revive the original plot to unseat him by electoral means, which in turn might infuriate his supporters per the aforementioned scenario. Whichever way one looks at it, the Hybrid War on Bolivia is still far from over.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World