DR SISHUWA Sishuwa says Bolivian President Evo Morales was overthrown for nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry.
Early yesterday, President Morales resigned after nearly 14 years in power, amid turmoil following his disputed re-election last month.
According to RT, Morales resigned shortly after the military urged him to do so. Two officials next in line to take over the government also stepped down following weeks of protests.
“I resign from my position as President so that (Carlos) Mesa and (Luis Fernando) Camacho do not continue to persecute socialist leaders,” Morales said during a televised address, mentioning the leaders of the opposition.
Morales said he decided to step down in the hope that his departure would stop the spate of violent attacks against officials and indigenous people, “so that they [protesters] do not continue burning the houses [of public officials]” and “kidnapping and mistreating” families of indigenous leaders.
“It is my obligation, as the first indigenous President and President of all Bolivians, to seek this pacification,” he said, adding that he hopes the opposition will “understand the message.”
Shortly after the announcement, Vice-President Alvaro García Linera also submitted his resignation. The next person in line to take over the government, the president of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, resigned soon afterwards.
But Dr Sishuwa argued that President Morales was victim of Western corporate interests.
“Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalising the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations,” charged Dr Sishuwa.
Activist Eva Golinger said: “Let’s be clear: Evo Morales resigned as president of Bolivia to avoid further bloodshed, violence and destruction by a right-wing coup backed by powerful interests. Evo stepped down and put his country and people’s well-being and safety before his own desire to remain in power.”
On June 19, 2019, TeleSur published a story on Morales’ intentions to industrialise lithium for battery exports.
TeleSur wrote: “Bolivia’s Evo Morales isn’t exporting the raw material to the Global North, but industrialising the metal to sell on the international market.
Through state-led investments, Bolivia is making large strides in industrialising the country’s natural resources, namely lithium. During a new announcement Tuesday, Bolivian officials said the state has the reserves and capacity to produce up to 400,000 lithium batteries per year.
The announcement signals a departure from the country’s exportation of raw materials and the industrialisation for the international market.
Juan Carlos Montenegro, an official at Bolivia’s nationalized energy company, Bolivian Oil Fields (YPFB), announced Tuesday that the company will soon be able to produce up to 400,000 lithium batteries per year, in partnership with the German firm, ACI Systems GmbH.
Lithium is expected to become an extremely important material in manufacturing over the coming years as it’s a component part of electric cars, aircraft, batteries, cell phones and even medicines.
Bolivia has huge reserves of the maleable metal in its iconic Salar de Uyuni salt flats in southern Potosi.
Bolivia is thought to have 43 percent of the world’s known natural resource supplies.
However, Bolivia’s leftist government under President Morales is not simply exporting the raw material to the global north for high-end manufacturing, as has been the case throughout much of the colonised Latin American region for decades.
Morales’s administration is determined to industrialize Bolivia and has invested huge amounts to ensure that lithium is processed within the country to export it only in value-added form, such as in batteries.
Evo has also turned around the nation’s natural gas industry that used to export the raw material and import refined gas for cooking and heating.
Since Morales took office in 2006, the now state-owned YPFB exports refined gas to Argentina, Peru and Paraguay, meaning far larger revenues for the public purse.
Bolivia has known of its large lithium reserves since the 1970s, but failed to capitalise on the mineral during the neoliberal era.
The pro-government group, La Resistencia, says this was caused by “economic instability, lack of political decision and subordination to the United States.”
The group says that Morales has brought about the change to how lithium is handled.
“Bolivia is now the fastest growing country in the region, has political, economic and social stability for almost a decade and … has the political will to continue growing and developing its productive base using the Bolivian economic model,” said La Resistencia.