Open letters about the coup in Bolivia

The coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia took place with kind support of the so-called Organization of American States, OAS, based in Washington. Not only the deposed Morales criticized the US-funded OAS, which gladly participates in coups d’état against elected governments in the service of US interests, such as in 2002 against Hugo Chávez. US-congressmen, scientists and statisticians also criticize the role of the OAS in the coup against Morales in open letters. Here is the letter of the scientists and statisticians:


We the undersigned call for Bolivia’s democratic institutions and processes to be respected.


The Trump administration has openly and strongly supported the military coup of November 10 that overthrew the government of President Evo Morales. Everyone agrees that Morales was democratically elected in 2014, and that his term does not end until January 22; yet many outside of the Trump administration seem to accept the Trump-supported military coup.


Many people who supported the coup have claimed that Morales stole the election. This story of fraud was given a very big boost by a statement issued by the Organization of American States the day after the October 20 election, which it subsequently repeated in similar forms. The statement, from the OAS Electoral Observation Mission for Bolivia, announced »deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results after the closing of the polls.« No evidence in support of this statement was included. However, it was widely interpreted as an allegation of fraud, and such allegations became common in the largest media since the election.


In fact, it is easy to show with election data, which is publicly available, that the change in Morales’ lead was neither »drastic« nor »hard to explain.« There was a pause in the »quick count« of the vote results — when 84 percent of the votes were counted — and Morales’ lead was at 7.9 percentage points. At 95 percent, his margin had increased to just over 10 percent, which allowed Morales to win in the first round, without a runoff. By the end, the official count showed a lead of 10.6 percent.


It is not uncommon for election results to be skewed by location, which means that results can change depending on when different areas‘ votes get counted. No one argued that there was fraud in Louisiana’s November 16 gubernatorial election, when the Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards, pulled out a 2.6 percentage point victory, after being behind all night, because he won 90 percent of the vote in Orleans County, which came in at the end of the count.


And the change in Morales’ lead was not »drastic« at all; it was part of a steady, continuous increase in Morales’ lead for hours before the interruption.


The explanation for the increase in Morales’ margin was therefore quite simple: the later-reporting areas were more pro-Morales than earlier-reporting areas.


In fact, the final result was quite predictable on the basis of the first 84 percent of votes reported. This has been shown through statistical analysis and also by even simpler analysis of the differences in political preferences between later and earlier-reporting areas.


We call upon the OAS to retract its misleading statements about the election, which have contributed to the political conflict and served as one of the most-used »justifications« for the military coup. We ask the Congress of the United States to investigate this behavior of the OAS, and to oppose the military coup, the Trump administration’s continuing support for it, and the continuing violence and human rights violations of the de facto government.


Media outlets and journalists also have a responsibility to seek independent experts who are at least familiar with the election data and can offer an independent analysis of what happened, rather than simply take the word of OAS officials who have now repeatedly shown to be wrong about this election.


Many lives may depend on getting this story straight.


Signers (in alphabetical order)

  • Alan Aja, Brooklyn College (CUNY)
  • Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Greg Albo, York University
  • Gar Alperovitz, The Democracy Collaborative
  • Yali Amit, Department of Statistics, University of Chicago
  • Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Mariano Arana, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento
  • Michael Ash, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Winston Alarcón Athens, Profesor retirado, Escuela de Matematicas, Universidad de Costa Rica
  • Venkatesh Athreya, Adjunct Professor, Asian College of Journalism
  • Dario Azzellini, Visiting fellow, LASP, Cornell University
  • Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata
  • Dean Baker, Co-Founder, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Nesecan Balkan, Hamilton College
  • Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Rafael Bianchini, Teacher at GVLaw
  • Peter Bohmer, The Evergreen State College
  • Mario Boido, President, Canadian Association of Hispanists, University of Waterloo
  • Korkut Boratav, Turkish Social Science Association
  • Pablo Gabriel Bortz, Universidad Nacional de San Martín
  • Manuel Branco, University of Évora
  • David Brotherton, City University of New York
  • Jorge Buzaglo, Independent researcher
  • Rogelio Caballero, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Andrea Califano, IUSS Pavia
  • Al Campbell, University of Utah
  • Jim Campen, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, UMass/Boston
  • Gian Enrico Casartelli, World Bank (retired)
  • Shouvik Chakraborty, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Ha-Joon Chang, Director of the Centre of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Professor (Retired), Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Anis Chowdhury, Western Sydney University
  • Savvina Chowdhury, The Evergreen State College
  • Alan B. Cibils, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento
  • Nathaniel Cline, University of Redlands
  • Andrew Cornford, Geneva Finance Observatory
  • Anthony D’Costa, University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Dante Dallavalle, Adjunct Lecturer, John Jay College, City University of New York
  • Peter Dorman, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, Evergreen State College
  • Mathieu Dufour, Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Amitava Dutt, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of Notre Dame
  • Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts
  • Jeff Faux, Founder, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute
  • Chiensan Feng, National Cheng Chi University
  • Julia Martinez Fernandez, Observatorio de la Sostenibilidad en la Región de Murcia
  • James Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Clara Garcia, Complutense University of Madrid
  • Jayati Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Sam Gindin, Retired, UNIFOR Staff
  • Daniele Girardi, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Carmine Gorga, President, The Somist Institute
  • Daphne Greenwood, University of Colorado
  • Josué Guzmán, American Statistical Association
  • Guillermo Hang, economist, Universidad Nacional de La Plata
  • GC Harcourt, UNSW Sydney
  • Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, Universidad de La Habana
  • Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University
  • Gustavo Indart, University of Toronto
  • Ian J Seda Irizarry, John Jay College, City University of New York
  • Raja Junankar, University of New South Wales
  • Arne Kalleberg, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Stephanie Kelton, Stony Brook University
  • Farida C. Khan, Chair and Associate Professor of Economics, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Mary C. King, Professor of Economics Emerita, Portland State University
  • Cedric Koch, WZB Berlin
  • Conrad J Koeneke, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, University of York
  • Susan Lambert, University of Chicago
  • Michael A. Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Simon Fraser University
  • Thea Lee, Economic Policy Institute
  • Stephan Lefebvre, American University
  • Dominik A. Leusder, Economist and Independent Consultant
  • Oliver Levingston, Postdoc, Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparée, Sciences Po
  • Noemi Levy-Orlik, Economic Faculty, UNAM
  • Gilberto Libanio, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • J. W. Mason, John Jay College, City University of New York
  • Inderjeet Mani, Georgetown University (retired)
  • Kathleen McAfee, Professor, International Relations, San Francisco State University
  • Pankaj Mehta, Associate Professor of Physics, Hariri Institute for Computing, Boston University
  • Nicola Melloni, Visiting Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Lara Merling, International Trade Union Confederation
  • Josep Amer Mestre, European University Institute
  • John Miller, Wheaton College
  • Alexis Sánchez Miño, Lecturer of Statistics and Probabilities, Technical University of Ambato
  • Mritiunjoy Mohanty, IIM Calcutta
  • Anu Muhammad, Jahangirnagar Universty
  • Kamal Munir, University of Cambridge
  • Isabel Ortiz, President, Global Social Justice
  • Mustafa Özer, Professor, Anadolu University
  • Leo Panitch, York University
  • Francisco Javier Pantoja Pantoja, Universidad del Cauca Colombia
  • Christian Parenti, John Jay College, City University of New York
  • Mark Paul, New College of Florida
  • Eleuterio Prado, University of São Paulo
  • Renee Prendergast, Reader, Economics, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Alicia Puyana, FLACSO MÉXICO
  • Rahim Quazi, Prairie View A&M University
  • Rodrigo Quiroga, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
  • R. Ramakumar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Andrés G. Mejía Ramón, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Miriam Rehm, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Hye Jin Rho, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Joseph Ricciardi, Babson College
  • Alfredo M Rosete, Central Connecticut State University
  • David Rosnick, Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • C Saratchand, Satyawati College, University of Delhi
  • Gonzalo A. Saraví, CIESAS – México
  • Angshuman Sarma, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Saskia Sassen, Professor, Columbia University
  • Antonio Savoia, Global Development Institute, The University of Manchester
  • John Schmitt, Economic Policy Institute
  • Stephanie Seguino, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont
  • Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
  • Marcie Smith, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Kannan Srinivasan, Independent Scholar, Wertheim Study, New York Public Library
  • Kendra Strauss, Simon Fraser University
  • Donald Swartz, Associate Professor (retd.), School of Public Policy and Administration
  • Matt Templeton, American University
  • Martha Tepepa, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  • Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning and Sociology, UCLA
  • Alissa Trotz, Professor, Women and Gender Studies and Caribbean Studies, University of Toronto
  • Oscar Ugarteche, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas UNAM
  • Antonio Urbina, Technical University of Cartagena
  • Matias Vernengo, Bucknell University
  • Scott Weir, Economics (retired), Wake Technical Community College
  • Mark Weisbrot, Co-Founder, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Jack Williams, MIT Election Data and Science Lab
  • John Willoughby, Professor of Economics, American University
  • Richard Wolff, The New School
  • John Womack Jr., Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, emeritus, Harvard University
  • Anna Zalik, York University
  • Ben Zipperer, Economic Policy Institute