US meddling in Bolivia’s internal affairs was soundly defeated when Luis Arce scored a decisive victory in the presidential election on October 20.
His socialist party, Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) also retained its majorities in both houses of congress.
Arce’s opponent was Carlos Mesa, a right-wing candidate who was vice-president in the regime of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.
He (de Lozada) fled to Miami in 2003 after trying to privatize the country’s natural gas for the benefit of US corporations by carrying out a series of massacres in the Indigenous city of El Alto.
The recent electoral defeat of the US-backed presidential candidate in Bolivia should not be viewed only as socialism’s victory over neo-liberalism.
It signals a notable geopolitical shift and is another step towards multipolarity in global politics.
Historically, the US has treated South America as its exclusive sphere of influence.
Washington was so confident of its primacy, that it arrogantly established a political framework called the Monroe Doctrine.
It dates back to the 19th century that declared South America off limits to other powers.
Throughout the Cold War, the US orchestrated military coups installing brutal dictators in power.
The coups were carried out by US-trained and financed death squads that worked with ruthless efficiency in eliminating leaders harboring illusions of democracy and freedom.
Bolivia’s recent elections show that even if the US has the power to destabilize a region where it had a strong foothold, it has lost the ability to hold ground and capitalize on its destabilization achievements.
Technically speaking, every nation state can destabilize another if it puts enough effort and resources into it.
However, not every state actor can capitalize on destabilization.
The US has attempted to destabilize Venezuela for decades and has invested much political and financial capital in doing so.
However, it has not been able to achieve most of its political objectives.
The return to power in Bolivia of a political party opposed by Washington is a major blow to the US-imposed paradigm.
The American model no longer appeals to others.
The fact that this blow has been delivered in the region where the US was once the dominant power, is a significant geopolitical event.
For the anti-imperialist camp in South America, the successful return to power of Movimiento al Socialismo is likely to be emulated by others in order to defeat US-instigated destabilization attempts and coups.
Bolivia’s example shows how a political movement with mass support, coherent socio-political program and determined leadership can successfully challenge and defeat US-instigated coups.