Global News Dispatches: Bolivians Defeat Another Coup

Morales called on the Bolivian people to mobilize in defense of democracy.

by Globetrotter and Peoples Dispatch

France Heads to Second Round Showdown Between Left Alliance and Far Right

The far-right National Rally, which is Marine Le Pen’s party, is in the lead after the first round of parliamentary elections in France. The party and its allies secured 33 percent of the votes, largely aligning with preelection polls. The New Popular Front (Nouveau Front Populaire, NFP), a left-progressive alliance formed after the snap elections were announced by President Emmanuel Macron earlier in June, recorded the second-largest share of votes—approximately 29 percent. Macron’s liberal coalition lagged far behind at 21 percent.

An aerial drone photo taken on June 26, 2024 shows a plaza near the government palace in La Paz, Bolivia, June 26, 2024. (Photo by Javier Mamani/Xinhua)

The election on June 30 was marked by the highest turnout since the late 1980s. The second round of elections will be held on July 7.

To win in the first round, a candidate must secure more than 50 percent of the votes cast, representing at least 25 percent of registered voters. In these elections, more than 60 candidates were elected in the first round: two from Macron’s list, 21 from the NFP, and as many as 38 from the National Rally.

More than 500 seats remain to be filled in the second round, giving the left another chance to minimize the gap between them and the National Rally.

Demonstrations protesting the rise of the far right were reported in Strasbourg, Lille, and Paris, among other cities. In Paris, candidates from France Unbowed (La France Insoumise) who are leading the NFP alliance, addressed the crowd. “Tonight’s mood is not one of joy or sadness, but of struggle,” said Manuel Bompard, national coordinator of France Unbowed.


The Bolivian People Defeat Another Coup

“No one can take away our democracy!” Bolivian President Luis Arce addressed the people of Bolivia on June 26 to declare that an attempted military coup had been defeated.

On the afternoon of June 26, hundreds of military personnel mobilized under the orders of General Juan José Zúñiga in the center of La Paz, surrounded the Quemado Palace (the government palace) ahead of a ministerial meeting. They proceeded to break down the main door to the palace with a tank and attempted to enter by force.

Zúñiga then announced that the military personnel would free Bolivia’s “political prisoners” including Jeanine Áñez and Luis Fernando Camacho who are imprisoned over their involvement in the 2019 coup against former President of Bolivia Evo Morales. Áñez later wrote on X that she rejected the attempt by the military to destroy constitutional order and that “MAS [Movement of Socialism] with Arce and Evo should leave through the ballot box in 2025. We Bolivians will defend democracy.”

Morales called on the Bolivian people to mobilize in defense of democracy.

While the army attempted to storm the palace, hundreds of Bolivian people began to mobilize to demand that democracy be respected and the army stand down. These protests, which saw members of mass organizations, trade unions, and the public participating, were met with heavy repression by the military police officers, who shot tear gas indiscriminately and blocked off access to the Plaza Murillo.

The Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB) representing more than 2 million workers, declared an indefinite general strike and “the mobilization of all social and union organizations to the city La Paz to defend and restore the constitutional order and our legally established government in Bolivia.”

After an hour of the military encirclement of the palace, President Arce held a press conference to name José Sánchez as the new military command to replace Zúñiga. Sánchez ordered the military personnel to return to their stations to avoid any bloodshed of the Bolivian people and affirmed that he supported the legal and constitutional government of Luis Arce.

A video also emerged of Arce confronting Zúñiga in the palace and firmly telling him to stand down and respect democracy.

Shortly after the pronouncement by Arce and Sánchez, the tanks that had initially blocked off the plaza and surrounded the palace began to withdraw, and thousands of people flooded the area to affirm their rejection of the attempted coup and show support for Arce. “Arce you’re not alone! Long live democracy!” they declared.

COB and other organizations in Bolivia have celebrated the people’s victory but also called on the Bolivian people and the international community to continue their vigil against any further coup attempts.


Expertise, Continuity, and Political Alignment: Mexican President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum Shapes Her Incoming Cabinet

Mexico’s president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum announced the first two rounds of cabinet appointments on June 20. Sheinbaum intends to form a progressive cabinet that comprises people from various profiles including those who have qualified technical skills, loyalty to her and to MORENA (Sheinbaum’s political party), experience working in the state, political relationships with international organizations, and continuity from AMLO’s administration. So far, there have been no major political surprises in Sheinbaum’s decisions, and she has not chosen political profiles outside the social democratic thinking that characterizes MORENA.

Marcelo Ebrard, who served as the secretary of foreign affairs from 2018 to 2023, was appointed secretary of economy by Sheinbaum.

The current coordinator of Claudia Sheinbaum’s transition team, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, an important academic, was selected as the future secretary of foreign affairs (foreign minister). Rogelio Ramírez de la O will remain as the head of the secretary of finance, a position he currently holds in López Obrador’s government.

The Ministry of Health will have David Kershenobich, a doctor and researcher, as its health minister. He has studied and worked at Mexico’s prestigious National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and has also been president of several medical associations in Mexico. Kershenobich’s experience means that he is familiar with the social and political situations of physicians and health workers in the country.

Julio Berdegué Sacristán was chosen as the future secretary of agriculture and rural development. Sacristán is an engineer with expertise in rural development and issues related to the economy of small producers.


Activists Call Megaproject on India’s Great Nicobar Island Ecocide

India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, joined the rising chorus of voices against the multi-million construction project at one of the country’s environmentally sensitive islands, the Great Nicobar Island. 

The project has been proposed by the right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Groups opposing the project have demanded the immediate suspension of all clearances given so far and a thorough review of the project, which threatens the natural habitat of rainforests, rare species of animals, and endangered tribes. The island is located at the southernmost tip of India and is the home of dense rainforests and a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

India’s NITI Aayog, a government think tank, conceptualized the project in March 2021. The project, worth more than $9 billion, is officially referred to as “Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island at Adman and Nicobar Islands.”

Implemented by a government undertaking named Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO), the project will comprise the building of an international transhipment terminal, an international airport, which will be used both by the military and the civilians, a power plant, and a township for more than 300,000 people. Currently, there are only around 8,000 people living on the Island.

The project requires the diversion of around 130 square kilometers of forest land and the felling of around 1 million trees. It will ultimately require clearing of nearly 244 square kilometers, almost a fifth of the Great Nicobar Island.

Jairam Ramesh, Congress leader, demanded an impartial review of the project by the parliamentary committee. He had earlier alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was committing “ecocide” by defying environmental and constitutional norms.