It is difficult to imagine that Evo Morales would have left office when and how he did — in a civic-military coup — if the Organization of American States had not found that Bolivia’s Oct. 20 election was fraudulent. To be sure, the OAS did not single-handedly bring down Morales. In the weeks before the coup, Morales faced large protests and a devastating police mutiny.

The protests did not focus solely on the election. Many were upset Morales was allowed to run at all after losing a 2016 referendum asking voters to approve his bid to seek a fourth term. The police mutiny centered on officers’ disgruntlement over pay and being asked to contain the protests. And the Bolivian right had declared that Morales could win the October election only through fraud for months before the vote, i.e., well before the OAS stepped into the fray.

Yet, the OAS actions were undoubtedly important in creating a climate within which a coup could not only succeed, but be applauded as a necessary step toward restoring Bolivian democracy, as the U.S. government and mainstream media did. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Following Morales’s ouster, Bolivia has come under the control of a right-wing authoritarian regime that has killed dozens of unarmed protesters, detained hundreds, blocked international human rights investigators, systematically repressed political opponents, threatened journalists and media outlets, embraced racism, and enacted a far-right agenda for which it has no electoral mandate nor constitutional legitimacy.

The question of whether the OAS was justified in declaring the October election fraudulent looms large. In a recent article published in The Post, John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, researchers with MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab, conclude the answer is no. Curiel and Williams used statistical analysis to analyze a central claim made by the OAS — initially in an Oct. 21, 2019, news release — that there was a “drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results” following an election-night suspension of the unofficial rapid vote count. According to the OAS, this is one of numerous pieces of evidence showing fraud. Curiel and Williams unequivocally reject this, writing: “As specialists in election integrity, we find that the statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud in Bolivia’s October election.”

The OAS is an organ of the US regime change mousketeers.

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