End of an illiberal populist era in Bolivia?


The illiberal populist regime of Bolivia President Evo Morales regime has sought to suppress voices of dissent within the media and civil society.

One of the targeted journalists, Raul Peñaranda, whose book “Remote Control” details Bolivia’s creeping state stranglehold over the media, said he and his colleagues had merely reported what various sources, including some in the government, were saying about the Zapata case, The Washington Post reported.

“There is freedom of speech in Bolivia,” added Peñaranda, currently a Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

“You can stand in the town square with a megaphone and say what you like. But getting into the media is a different matter. There are less and less spaces for opposition activists.”

Uncertainty about a possible political transition looms large as the country prepares for presidential elections in 2019.

Despite losing a referendum in 2016 that would have permitted a fourth term in office, President Evo Morales remains intent on exerting his vast influence over the country’s judiciary, media, and civil society apparently as a way of legitimizing an alternative means to retain power beyond 2020, when he is scheduled to leave office. Delayed national elections, violence, and increasing social polarization could occur during this process.

In a forthcoming presentation, journalist and political commentator Raul Peñaranda will address Bolivia’s possible political and economic future and reflect on the rise of Morales’ populist administration. His presentation will be followed by comments from former Bolivian Cabinet minister and La Paz Mayor Ronald Maclean-Abaroa.


June 13, 2017 – 3:00 pm – 04:30 pm.


Raul Peñaranda, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Ronald MacLean-Abaroa, Former Mayor of La Paz

moderated by

Fabiola Cordova, Associate Director for Latin America and Caribbean Programs, National Endowment for Democracy.


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