Washington Balas

George Grosz, Air Attack (Fliegerbombe), 1915


Foreword to the newly edited book by Vijay Prashad

This is a book about bullets, says its author. Bullets that assassinated democratic processes, that assassinated revolutions and that assassinated hopes.

The brave Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad uses all his will to explain and order in an understandable and totalizing way the obscure interest with which imperialism intervenes in countries that try to build their own destiny.

The pages of this book document the participation of the United States in the assassination of social leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in the massive massacres of peoples who are opposed to paying with their own poverty for the delirious business of multinational corporations.

Prashad says these bullets from Washington come at a price: “The highest price is paid by the people. Because in these murders, in this violent intimidation, it is the people who lose their leadership in their locales, a peasant leader, a union leader, a leader of the poor”.

Prashad gives us a documented account of the CIA's participation in the 1954 coup d'état against Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Arbenz had the intolerable audacity to oppose the interests of the United Fruit Company.

In Chile, the author shows how the US government, through the CIA, finances, with 8 million dollars, strikes and protests against Allende.

What happened in Brazil, in the parliamentary coup that ended with the dismissal of President Dilma Roussef, in August 2016, is a complete example of the perverse practice of lawfare, that is, "the use of the law as a weapon of war." The same instrument was used against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who suffered 580 days in prison as a result of a trial in which the prosecution did not present concrete evidence, but only “convictions”.

Times have changed and business has changed, but the forms and responses of imperialism have only changed.

We Bolivians know this perverse policy very well. Even long before almost 14 years of our administration of the plurinational State of Bolivia, we had to face operations, fears and reprisals coming from the United States.

In 2008, I had to expel the US Ambassador Philip Goldberg from the country, who was conspiring with separatist leaders to give them instructions and resources to divide Bolivia. At that time, the US State Department said that my allegations were unfounded. I don't know what they will say now, when the US embassy's participation in the coup d'état that overthrew us at the end of 2019 is so evident. What will future researchers who dedicate themselves to reading the now secret CIA documents say?

The so-called Monroe and “National Security” doctrines try to turn Latin America into their backyard and try to criminalize any organization that opposes their interests and tries to build an alternative political, economic and social model.

Over the decades, they invented a series of pretexts and built a narrative to try to justify their criminal political and military interventions. First, there was the excuse of the fight, added to the excuse of the fight against terrorism.

This book brings to mind countless occasions when Washington's bullets shattered hopes. Colonialism has always used the idea of ​​progress according to its own parameters and reality. This same colonialism that today puts our planet in crisis, that devours natural resources and that concentrates the wealth arising from devastation, says that our Good Living laws are utopias.

But if our dreams of balance with Pachamama, of freedom and social justice are not yet a reality or have been blocked, this is mainly due to the intervention of imperialism to block our political, cultural and economic revolutions that promote sovereignty, dignity, peace and fraternity with all peoples.

If humanity's salvation is far away, it's because Washington persists in using its bullets against the people.

We wrote these lines and read these texts in very tense moments for our planet. A virus is putting the world economy in quarantine, and capitalism, with its usual voracity and its need to concentrate wealth, is showing its limits.

It is likely that the world that emerges from this troubled year of 2020 will no longer be what we know. Every day the duty to continue our fight against imperialism, against capitalism and against colonialism is imposed. We must work together for a world where more respect for people and Mother Earth is possible. For this, the intervention of the States in favor of the majorities and the oppressed is important. We are convinced that we are the majority. And that the majorities, in the end, will win.

*Evo Morales Ayma is a former president of Bolivia.


Vijay Prashad. Bullets from Washington: A History of the CIA, Coups and Assassinations. Translation: Rafael Tatemoto. São Paulo, Popular Expression, 2020, 168 pages.


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