The Movement for Socialism, MAS, Victory in Bolivia
On October 18, Luis Arce, the candidate of former President Evo Morales’s political party, the MAS, appears to have won a decisive victory in Bolivia’s presidential elections. The results of the twice-postponed election were confirmed today. Carlos Mesa, a neoliberal former president, and Jeanine Áñez, the head of the present coup government, conceded defeat quickly after the overwhelming victory. This is a remarkable turn of events. In November 2019, the MAS president, Evo Morales, was overthrown in a police- military coup that installed a rightwing government that used assassinations, arrests, and intimidation against the MAS supporters.
What explains such an outcome? What is the universal and regional significance of the MAS victory? Bolivia was the bottom-most country in South America for economic growth, but out of the fourteen years that Evo Morales was president, Bolivia was in first-place for six of them. What distinguishes the MAS is its commitment to use the country’s national resources for the benefit of the poor and working people of Bolivia and making basic social services a human right for all Bolivians. During this period, poverty was reduced from 65% to 35%, while the levels of equality and social justice dramatically increased. In voting for the MAS, the people of Bolivia have shown that they understand and support a peaceful socialist revolution. Their message is clear: they will not go back to the corrupt neoliberal policies of the past and are determined to continue the experiment of building socialism in their country.
The MAS victory in Bolivia sends a message of hope across the globe that there is a more human, rational, alternative to capitalism that works, and is needed now more than ever before. It is also a significant lift to the spirits of the people of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua who are struggling to persist in building their own versions of socialism in spite of the brutal campaigns against them by the US imperialists. The wisdom of the MAS and the people of Bolivia might give us a clue as to why the people of Venezuela and Cuba in spite of tremendous sacrifices necessitated by the US empire are defending their socialist revolution and supporting their leaders. They too understand that a return to capitalism means untold pain and widespread misery to the majority of their people while the current path has the potential for a brighter future.
For other articles of interest on the victory of the MAS see: