Book Reviews

An Important Contribution to the History of Trotskyism in Bolivia: The Revolutionary Workers Party – Masas (POR-Masas) and the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces – Vivo Rojo A Review of ¡Abrir los cuarteles! Una historia de la Tendencia Revolucion

By Daniel Gaido

book cover bolivia


Matías J. Rubio, a historian from the National University of Luján, Argentina, as well as a Trotskyist militant, has recently published a book entitled ¡Abrir los cuarteles! Una historia de la Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas – Vivo Rojo (Bolivia – 1980–2001).[1] This work analyses the history of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces of Bolivia, linked to the Partido Obrero Revolucionario – Masas (POR-Masas), a Trotskyist organisation led by Guillermo Lora that edited, between 1980 and 2001, a clandestine bulletin entitledVivo Rojo with the aim of creating an organisation of officers and soldiers with revolutionary tendencies within the Bolivian army.

Rubio’s book is divided into three parts. The first part is a review of the history of Bolivia in the twentieth century based on classic works such as those of Dunkerley[2] and Klein,[3] while also incorporating new contributions such as those of Field[4] and Hernández and Salcito.[5] The second part is a review of the history of the POR-Masas between 1963 and 1991, including an analysis of its programme, its strategy, and its policy towards the Bolivian Armed Forces. This part is based on classic militant works such as the histories of the 1952 revolution written by Justo[6] and Lora,[7] as well as on Lora’s enormous literary production and on more recent academic works, in particular the history of Bolivian Trotskyism written by Steven Sándor John, a historian belonging to one of the splits of the Spartacist League called the Internationalist Group.[8] The third and last part of the book analyses the experience of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces led by the POR-Masas from 1980 until the publication of the final issue of Vivo Rojo in December 2001.

The Creation of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario (POR), the Bolivian Revolution of 1952, and the POR Split

Rubio begins by pointing out that the Bolivian POR emerged ‘in 1935, as a result of the confluence of two trends opposed to the Chaco War’.[9] The five issues of the founding magazine of Bolivian Trotskyism, entitled América Libre and published by Bolivian exiles in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, have been scanned and are available online at the Cedinci digital library.[10] Rubio also mentions the weakness of the POR a decade later, specifying that ‘by 1945 it had only seventeen militants in the strict sense of the term throughout the country’.[11]

The Pulacayo Theses adopted on 8 November 1946, by the congress of the Union Federation of Bolivian Mine Workers (Federación Sindical de Trabajadores Mineros de Bolivia, FSTMB), which had approximately 60,000 members, were drafted by the young Trotskyist militant Guillermo Lora. Together with a series of immediate and transitional demands, they laid out a political perspective of permanent revolution for the Bolivian proletariat, arguing that the bourgeois-democratic revolution could only succeed on condition that it became the first phase of a proletarian revolution culminating in a workers’ government.[12]

From this congress, the ‘Miners’ Bloc’ (Bloque Minero) POR-FSTMB was formed, which won three seats in the general elections held in Bolivia on 3 January 1947, including Lora andJuan Lechín Oquendo, the general secretary of the Union Federation of Bolivian Mine Workers from 1944 to 1987 and of the Bolivian Workers’ Central (Central Obrera Boliviana, COB) from 1952 to 1987. Rubio points out that since 1945 Lora ‘established a personal relationship with Lechín’, that both ‘even shared a pension for about six months’, and that in the years before the outbreak of the 1952 revolution Lora ‘wrote his speeches and worked with him in the Mining Federation’.[13]

On 6 May 1951, a presidential election was held in Bolivia that yielded a comfortable victory to the candidate of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, MNR) Víctor Paz Estenssoro, but on 16 May 1951 a coup was carried out to prevent the formation of an MNR government. The following year, on 9 April 1952, a revolution broke out, whose fate was decided two days later when contingents of miners descended on the city of La Paz armed with dynamite, disbanding the army and replacing it with workers’ militias. On 15 April 1952, Paz Estenssoro was appointed president of Bolivia, a position he held until 6 August 1956, with Hernán Siles Zuazo as vice president. On 17 April 1952, the Bolivian Workers’ Central (Central Obrera Boliviana, COB) was created. Juan Lechín was elected general secretary of the union federation, and at the same time, along with other union leaders, he joined the government of Paz Estenssoro as Minister of Mines and Petroleum, starting the MNR-COB coalition government.

Rubio notes that the 1952 revolution ‘surprised the POR, which was strongly disaggregated’, and that, consequently, ‘the POR could not position itself as the leader of the process and, in practice, supported the workers’ wing of the MNR headed by Lechín’.[14] This assessment is confirmed by the statements of Lora himself, who was in Paris at that time. In an interview entitled ‘Declaration of Guillermo Lora, Bolivian deputy, Trotskyist leader: The coup d’état has become a revolutionary insurrection’, published in the French Trotskyist organ La Vérité, Lora stated:

The spinning workers began to deliberate and then to impose their conditions on the right wing of the M.N.R.; that is how they forced it to accept in the new cabinet workers’ elements which constitute its left fraction. […]

Q. – Our party is in the vanguard of this struggle?

A. – Yes, and it supports the left fraction of the new cabinet [i.e., Juan Lechín].[15]

Rubio points out that the policy followed by the POR during the 1952 revolution consisted in ‘putting pressure on the left wing of the MNR (Lechín) to deepen the revolutionary course’.[16] This allowed the MNR leader Paz Estenssoro, who served as president of Bolivia until 6 August 1956 (when he was succeeded by Hernán Siles Zuazo until 6 August 1960), and who received financial support from the forces of US imperialism, to divert the course of the revolution through the adoption of reformist measures such as the introduction of direct universal suffrage, the nationalisation of the mines with compensation, and an agrarian reform that did not include the large cattle ranches in the Bolivian East. This allowed him to dismantle the workers’ militias created by the revolution and reconstruct the repressive forces of the army and the police. As Rubio points out, Lechín ‘ended up endorsing, despite the commotion generated within the COB, the proposed measures’.[17]

The failure of the workers’ revolution, to which the political disorientation of the POR contributed, led to the emergence, at its eleventh conference held in April 1954, of two factions led by Hugo González Moscoso and Guillermo Lora. Rubio points out that in ‘May of that year the two leaders attended the Fourth World Congress of the Fourth International, in which the debate was carried on without reaching a successful outcome’.[18] In reality, the Fourth International had split the year before, in 1953, and its ‘Fourth World Congress’ was the misleading designation Michel Pablo gave to the first congress of his own tendency, the Paris-based International Secretariat. Following a sectarian tradition that separated and continues to this day to separate the Trotskyist organisations from the mass Socialist and Communist Parties of the Second and Third Internationals, the proceedings of the congress were never published, but the resolutions adopted are available online at Quatrième Internationale 1954.

The absence of a serious political assessment of the errors committed and the ebb of the revolution led to the split of the POR in mid-1954: ‘González Moscoso kept the newspaper Lucha Obreraand most of the militants and formed the POR-Lucha Obrera. Lora, for his part, lost almost all of his militants, who joined the MNR, and formed the POR-Masas, named after the newspaper that he began publishing in October 1954.’[19]

Lora drew up a self-indulgent balance-sheet of the failure of the Bolivian revolution eleven years later,[20] and, four years after that, published a monumental History of the Bolivian Labour Movement (1967), of between five and seven volumes (depending on the editions), whose English editor, Laurence Whitehead, mercifully summarised into one volume published by Cambridge University Press in 1977.[21] Lora’s penchant for repetitive verbiage later became evident in his three-volume history of the POR, entitled Contribución a la historia política de Bolivia,[22] as well as in the 70 volumes of his Complete Works (Obras completas).

The POR-Masas of Guillermo Lora and the United Secretariat of the Fourth International on Guerrillas and foquismo (1963–72)

Rubio points out that ‘in the period from the Cuban Revolution (1959) to the end of the 1960s’ Lora ‘positioned himself against the foquista strategy, unlike González Moscoso (POR-Lucha Obrera), and produced a series of texts of capital importance for his organisation’.[23] In the section of the second part of the book entitled ‘Método ¿foquista o insurreccional?’, Rubio offers a detailed analysis of Lora’s writings on guerrilla warfare, collected in a volume published in Buenos Aires under the title Revolución y foquismo,[24] periodising them according to the political events in response to which they were written.

 According to Rubio: ‘Although we can say that, in general terms, Lora opposed the guerrilla strategy, we must specify that this rejection was not static and involved a series of nuances and movements.’ As an example, he cites Lora’s pamphlet Las guerrillas, written in June 1963 (two years after Che Guevara’s writingLa guerra de guerrillas), in which Lora adopted a lenient position towards guerrilla tactics, stating that ‘guerrilla warfare is a Bolivian tradition, which unfortunately has not yet been incorporated into the arsenal of the proletariat’.[25]

Lora’s attitude towards the guerrillas hardened after the failure of the guerrilla experience developed by Ernesto Che Guevara in Ñancahuazú, 250 kilometres from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, between 1966 and 1967. In response to these events, Lora published in October 1967 a pamphlet entitled Revaluation of the Guerrilla Method (Revalorización del método de las guerrillas), in which he harshly criticised the lack of articulation of the guerrilla group led by Che, known as the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN), with the real movement of the masses and in particular the Bolivian peasantry, due both to its foreign character and to the lack of clarity of its political objectives.[26]

Rubio reaches the following conclusion: ‘In general terms, we can say that the ideas defended by Lora in those years did not correspond to the blunt rejection of the guerrilla experience he developed later, but rather that he proposed something different: guerrillas were understood as a form of struggle subordinated to the insurrectionary strategy that should be carried out under a single political leadership, the revolutionary party of the working class and/or a leftist front depending on the specific historical circumstances.’[27]

In other words, Lora made partial concessions to the pressures of the foquist movements. These included not only Che’s ELN in 1966–7 but also its continuation led by Inti Peredo in 1970.[28] Even more insidious for the POR-Masas, as a Trotskyist organisation, was the foquist orientation of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, created in 1963 and led by Pierre Frank, Ernest Mandel and Livio Maitan. Its Bolivian section, the POR-Combate led by Hugo González Moscoso, sent militants to Cuba for training, who later joined the ELN.[29] The United Secretariat maintained its support for the foquist movements at least until 1976, when it adopted a ‘Self-Criticism on Latin America’ – a document which Maitan opposed with a dissenting vote.[30]

In general terms, Lora distinguished between foquismo (the political conception according to which the revolutionary subject is not the working class but the peasantry, which must be awakened to political life through an armedfoco in a rural area), on the one hand, and ‘armed struggle’ and guerrilla warfare on the other, which can take many forms and class contents in different historical contexts. Therefore, he refused to issue a blank condemnation of armed struggle or guerrilla warfare, which is sometimes historically progressive, and limited his condemnation to the use of foquist methods as detrimental to the struggle of the working class.

The essay in which Lora best articulated his criticism of foquismo was his ‘Notes onRevolution in the Revolution? by Régis Debray’ written in July 1967, in particular the third section entitled ‘Is the guerrilla today’s political party?’, where he stated:

Che Guevara argued that the guerrillas could by themselves generate and mature both the objective and subjective conditions of the social revolution and he stopped there. In another work we have analysed and criticised that revisionist thesis. The same idea – perhaps the most important of all in this discussion – was put in concrete terms by Debray when he said: ‘The vanguard party can exist in the form of the guerrilla focoitself. The guerrilla force is the party in embryo.’[31]

This thesis must be considered the cornerstone of Debray’s whole argumentation, because it refers to the crucial question of the revolutionary movement and revises all the conclusions of Marxism on this issue. When inaccuracies refer to secondary aspects they can be ignored, but we are obliged to carefully discuss what pertains to the political party of the working class, because we continue to consider it the key to the future of the working class and of humanity.[32]

Lora articulated this position only gradually and empirically, as attested by the shift from the indulgent titles of his pamphlets of 1963 (Las guerrillas) and 1967 (Revaluation of the Guerrilla Method) to the much more critical titles of the collection of writings in which they were later republished under the titleRevolución y foquismo: while the subtitle of the first edition of 1975 wasBalance Sheet of the Discussion on the ‘Guerrilla’ Deviation, the subtitle of the second edition of 1978 wasMarxist Criticism of Adventurous Ultra-leftism.[33]

The Popular Assembly of 1971 and the ‘Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Front’ (FAR)

During the government of General Alfredo Ovando, President of Bolivia from 26 September 1969 to 7 October 1970, and at the initiative of General Juan José Torres, then Chief of the General Staff of the Bolivian Armed Forces, the nationalisation of the Bolivian Oil Gulf Company, which monopolised about 80% of Bolivian oil production, took place on 17 October 1969. In addition to adopting this and other similar nationalist measures of state intervention in the economy, the Ovando government legalised the activity of the Bolivian Workers’ Central COB and the left organisations.

In this context took place, in May 1970, the Fourth Congress of the COB, in which a leadership composed of Lechín, Víctor López (an independent candidate supported by the POR-Masas) Simón Reyes (Communist Party of Bolivia) and Filemón Escobar (POR-Masas) was elected, and the Political Theses of the Bolivian Workers’ Central (Tesis política de la Central Obrera Boliviana) were approved. Drafted by the POR-Masas with concessions to the PCB, the Political Theses advocated the political independence of the working class and connected the anti-imperialist struggle with the struggle for socialism.[34] In addition to this programmatic agreement, a Political Command (Comando Político) was formed, composed of the COB, the main unions and the left-wing parties, with the aim of leading the popular mobilisation.

On 7 October 1970, General Juan José Torres assumed power in the context of a popular insurrection against an attempted coup, which was accompanied by a general strike called by the Political Command of the COB, although the latter rejected the co-government proposal made by Torres. During his brief government, Torres nationalised mining companies, increased the university budget, expelled the United States Peace Corps, and established links with the government of Salvador Allende in Chile. At the same time, there was a strong rise in popular mobilisations, with occupations of land, companies and workplaces, the formation of revolutionary committees and commandos, the taking over of police barracks and the seizure of hostages in public buildings, etc. Torres’ regime refused to order the police and the army to repress direct-action measures, but also to purge the Armed Forces and arm the workers.

The massive popular mobilisations prompted the Political Command of the COB to create a Popular Assembly, whose founding document, approved in February 1971, defined it as ‘an organ of popular power’ that would constitute a ‘dual power’ against the ‘bourgeois parliament’ and would execute its decisions ‘using the means of struggle of the working class, at the basis of which is the mobilisation and direct action of the masses’.[35] The Popular Assembly met for the first time on 1 May 1971, and closed its first session on 2 July 1971, choosing September 2 as the date for the opening of its second session. In the interim took place the coup led by General Hugo Banzer on 21 August 1971. The Political Command of the Popular Assembly declared a general strike and, on the night of 20 August 1971, they met with General Torres to ask him for weapons, but the president refused, thus sealing the fate of his government and signing his own death warrant. The workers raided the Army arsenals, but found few weapons and ammunition there, and were crushingly defeated. Banzer overthrew the government of Torres (who was assassinated in Buenos Aires on 2 June 1976, in the framework of Operation Condor) and established a brutal military dictatorship that lasted until 21 July 1978. As Rubio points out, ‘in this way the revolutionary cycle opened in 1946 was closed’.[36]

Lora, as a member of the Political Command of the Bolivian Workers’ Central COB, ‘played a very prominent role in the process that culminated in the formation of the Popular Assembly in 1971’.[37] In December 1971, the POR-Masas published in its newspaper a proclamation addressed to members of the army and the police, signed by General Torres among other officers in exile, which announced the formation an ‘Anti-Imperialist Revolutionary Front (Frente Revolucionario Antiimperialista, FRA)’, consisting of the main underground left-wing organisations, including the PCB and the two POR (Mases and Combate), with the aim of promoting a popular uprising to depose Banzer. In 1972, Lora published his bookFrom the Popular Assembly to the Fascist Coup (De la Asamblea Popular al golpe fascista), in which he defended the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Front, which he defined as an Anti-Imperialist United Front, despite the fact that the FRA had been unable to lead the masses to the conquest of political power by the working class.[38] According to Lora, the experience of the Anti-Imperialist Revolutionary Front of 1971 constituted an improvement over the Proletarian United Front outlined in the Pulacayo Theses of 1946, because the FRA recognised that ‘the revolution in backward countries must necessarily be national; if it were exclusively of one class, it would be a minority revolution made against the national majority’, since ‘imperialist oppression is national and not limited to the workers’.[39]

Two observations could be made about these statements by Lora. First, the anti-imperialist united front was a tactic included in the Theses on the Eastern Question adopted by the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, as an extension of the theses on the Workers’ United Front adopted by the Enlarged Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International held on 18 December 1921.[40] While it is true that, in a colonial country like Bolivia, it is appropriate to apply the first tactic, the anti-imperialist united front was not defined by the Theses of the Communist International as a revolutionary anti-imperialist front, but as an agreement with a view to mobilising the masses in a given situation. Trotsky gave as an example of a united front the mobilisation against the Kornilov coup during the Russian revolution of 1917, and the most famous example of an anti-imperialist united front is the second united front proposed by the Chinese Communist Party to the Kuomintang from 1937 to 1945 to resist the Japanese invasion of China during the Second Sino–Japanese War, even though a civil war was raging between them. In both cases, it was a tactic for the mobilisation of the masses at a specific juncture, and not a political agreement that led to the seizure of power by the proletariat in any straightforward way.

Secondly, it is worth pointing out a Latin American precedent for this transformation of the united front into a revolutionary united front: the ‘Theses on the Revolutionary United Front (“Leeds Theses”)’, submitted in 1958 by Nahuel Moreno to the Conference held by the organisations belonging to the International Committee of the Fourth International in the city of Leeds.[41]

The distinction is important, because the emphasis on the revolutionary character of the united front, such as Lora placed in the 1970s, can lead to illusions about the future political behaviour of the other members of the front – like those cultivated by Lora in relation to the left wing of the MNR in the Bolivian revolution of 1952, or Moreno’s illusions concerning the left-wing Peronist currents in the 1950s. In all three cases the experience ended in failure, and the inevitable disillusionment led to the development of ultra-left policies to compensate for the previous opportunism – namely, Moreno’s flirtation withfoquismo in the 1960s and Lora’s denial of the possibility of the restoration of bourgeois democracy during the 1980s.

Guillermo Lora on the ‘Non-viability of Bourgeois Democracy’

With the fall of the Banzer dictatorship in 1978, a string of coups and elections began in Bolivia that eventually led to the restoration of bourgeois democracy four years later. Hernán Siles Zuazo was again elected president of Bolivia on 10 October 1982 and was later succeeded by Víctor Paz Estenssoro (the MNR leader who had been elected president after the 1952 revolution), from 6 August 1985 to 6 August 1989.

For several years, the POR-Masas refused to recognise the new political reality. In his February 1979 pamphlet The Democratic Struggle and the Revolution (La lucha democrática y la revolución), Lora stated that ‘The continental cycle of military dictatorships has ended in exhaustion.’ According to Lora: ‘In most Latin American countries the masses are mobilised under the democratising bourgeois leadership’ due to the ‘scarce development of class consciousness’ and the ‘absence of strong revolutionary parties’. But Lora concluded by stating that ‘The electoral victory of the democratising sectors (bourgeoisie) would not mean the crushing of fascism, it would be nothing more than the postponement for a time of its rise to power.’[42]

The following year, in April 1980, Lora reaffirmed this idea with the publication of the pamphlet Non-Viability of Bourgeois Democracy (Inviabilidad de la democracia burguesa), where he stated that ‘bourgeois democracy and the generous flourishing of parliamentarism are impossible due to the extreme poverty of the country’.[43] The result of this political disorientation was, in the words of Rubio, that ‘the POR-Masas was isolated in the face of the overwhelming electoral process’.[44] In a May 1982 pamphlet entitled The Road to Victory (El camino a la victoria), Lora stated: ‘What is our goal in this new organisational orientation? To transform ourselves in a short time into a thousand or two thousand militants on a national scale.’ Since it added the rhetorical question ‘Is this a chimera?’, we must conclude that in the mid-1980s the POR-Masas had at most a few hundred members.[45]

This does not mean that the organisation led by Lora ceased to be active in the union and student movements. On the contrary: the distinctive characteristic of the POR (although deep down it never ceased to be a sect led by a guru) is that it had a greater impact on the labour movement of its country than any other Trotskyist organisation – with the possible exception of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party in Sri Lanka, which ended up in a genocidal popular front. During the 1980s, the student organisation of the POR-Masas, the Revolutionary Union of Socialist University Students (Unión Revolucionaria de Universitarios Socialistas, URUS), won the elections at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in La Paz, and the POR-Masas developed its trade-union activity through the Revolutionary Union of Teachers (Unión Revolucionaria de Maestros, URMA), which in 1986 took over the leadership of the Federation of Urban Teachers of La Paz.

As a consequence of Lora’s sectarian and ultra-leftist analysis, the POR-Masas suffered a series of splits during the 1980s. Daniel Campos, a leader of the La Paz region, proposed that the POR-Masas should open local chapters to strengthen the propaganda and political recruitment campaign, but Lora rejected the proposal, probably due to his conviction that democratic freedoms would be abolished in the short term. Lora submitted his resignation to the POR-Masas Central Committee and began editing his own magazine,La Colmena, which came out weekly. In 1983, he even submitted a motion to dissolve the party. Following this, Lora began to wage a kind of guerrilla war against the leadership of the POR-Masas that came to a head in February 1994.[46]

Notwithstanding its declarations concerning the supposed non-viability of bourgeois democracy, the POR-Masas took part in the Bolivian general elections, conducted on 14 July 1985, to elect the president of the republic and the senators and deputies of the national congress, with the formula Guillermo Lora Escobar as presidential candidate and Ascencio Cruz as candidate for vice president. On that occasion, the POR obtained only 13,712 votes, amounting to 0.91% of the electoral register.

As soon as he came to power in August 1985, the old nationalist caudillo Paz Estenssoro proceeded to apply a ‘neoliberal’ policy of deregulation of the economy and privatisation of public companies, which led to the dismantling of the Bolivian Mining Corporation (Corporación Minera de Bolivia, COMIBOL), the closure of most mines and the dismissal of some 27,000 workers, who had to relocate to other areas of the country. There was strong workers’ resistance to this policy, and in August 1986 the miners mobiliseden masse upon the city of La Paz, but the government declared a state of emergency and the workers preferred to avoid a confrontation with the army. As a result of this historic defeat of the labour movement, which opened up a new period in the history of Bolivia, both the trade unions and the left-wing parties were weakened. In Rubio’s words: ‘It marked the disappearance of that Bolivia where the Bolivian Workers’ Central COB and, particularly, the Union Federation of Bolivian Mine Workers FSTMB, led the popular mobilisations and the class struggles and were able to steer the course of the country’s politics, giving way to the rise of the peasant and Indigenous movement, which moved to the forefront’.[47]

Lora turned his back on the new political reality. In 1987 he published an 81-page pamphlet, ‘catastrophist’ in the bad sense of the word, entitled Bolivia 2000: The Dilemma – The Working Class Seizes Power or the Country is Destroyed.[48] The following year, Lora published a slightly longer work entitled The Masses Have Overcome Nationalism: The Evolution of Bolivian Politics from 1952 to 1988, in which he argued that the proletariat had not lost its political predominance as a result of Paz Estenssoro’s privatisation policies, because ‘only physical defeats (a massacre, for example) can result in the crushing and dispersion of the masses’. According to Lora, what had actually been weakened was the ‘union bureaucracy’, since ‘the unemployed mass’ continued to ‘fight against the capitalist system’.[49] This refusal to accept the new political reality led to new splits in the POR-Masas and, in particular, to the expulsion of Juan Pablo Bacherer in February 1994.

Lora’s Nationalist Drift: The ‘Exceptional Characteristics’ of the Bolivian Armed Forces and the Tactic of ‘Bolivianising the Army’

Already in his 1963 book La revolución boliviana, Lora introduced a characterisation of the Bolivian army as an institution that could be won over by the revolution, stating that ‘Certain layers of commanders and officers can serve as instruments of reaction, but their action will be limited if they do not have behind them the troops, who are part of the revolutionary people. The new rise of the masses should be able, not only to consolidate the militias and centralise them under a single national command, but to win over the army politically.’[50]

This characterisation determined the subsequent military policy of the POR-Masas. In his 1972 book entitled From the Popular Assembly to the Fascist Coup, Lora noted the existence of ‘anti-US nationalist tendencies in the military circles’ and stated that ‘At a certain point, the nationalists with epaulettes become allies of the working class and not their sworn enemies.’[51] And in an essay entitled ‘The Military Policy of the Proletariat’, written in early 1972, Lora further argued that ‘the revolutionary movement has to take into account the uniformed nationalists’ in order to ‘facilitate the work of disintegrating the army’. The task of the party consisted in ‘organising secret revolutionary groups within the army and the police, whose movements must be controlled by the party of the proletariat’.[52]

In his April 1980 pamphlet Non-Viability of Bourgeois Democracy, Lora stated that there was no possibility of restoring bourgeois parliamentarism, adding: ‘The Armed Forces cannot abandon politics in the near future and, from a revolutionary point of view, an army that deliberates, that openly takes political positions, is preferable, because this can allow the participation in the decision-making process of the lower-ranking officers and non-commissioned officers, who now limit themselves to blindly obeying the high military hierarchy.’[53]

Three years later, in 1983, Lora published a work entitled Causes of the Political Instability and Crisis of the Armed Forces (Causas de la inestabilidad política y de la crisis de las FF. AA.), in which he systematised these ideas and raised the need to develop political work within the army. Lora argued that the Bolivian Armed Forces were going through an irreversible crisis that was pushing them towards their definitive collapse, a process that would affect the state apparatus as a whole and the ruling class itself, giving way to a revolutionary situation. Lora emphasised that ‘The Bolivian army of our days, although it has some features common to bourgeois armed institutions in general, shows exceptional characteristics.’[54] This Bolivian exceptionalism would, in Lora’s view, allow the POR-Masas to win over part of the army to the revolutionary cause. This required ‘the constitution of a revolutionary tendency among the officers, the lower-ranking officers, the non-commissioned officers and the soldiers’.[55] Lora believed that by these means it would be possible to ‘educate the officers in Marxism’.[56]

In a pamphlet entitled Is the Proletarian Revolution Possible? also published in 1983, Lora stated that the implementation of ‘the slogan of Bolivianising the Armed Forces’ implied the creation of party cells in the army and the police.[57] To that end, the newspaper Masas reproduced in the early 1980s ‘multiple pronouncements of military groups that intervened in a deeply convulsed political situation’.[58]

It was on the basis of this characterisation of the Bolivian political situation, strongly tinged with nationalism, that the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces led by the POR-Masas began publishing the newspaper Vivo Rojo in 1980, initiating clandestine political work within the armed forces that would last for more than two decades.

The Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces – Vivo Rojo (1980–2001)

The third and last part of Rubio’s book begins by tracing the genealogy of the Trotskyist clandestine organisation in the army, recounting the history of the nationalist military organisations in Bolivia in the 1970s, in particular the Central General Staff of the Young Officers (Estado Mayor Central de la Oficialidad Joven, EMCOJ) and the Nationalist Military Organisation (Organización Militar Nacionalista, OMIN), through the use of written sources and, above all, of interviews with former members of Vivo Rojo, carried out under pseudonyms. The use of the methods of oral history is particularly important because, in Rubio’s words, ‘all this work prior to the publication of the first issue ofVivo Rojo, in February 1980, was totally clandestine, and we have not found any written sources about it’.[59] The work within the army was directed personally by Guillermo Lora and only a few members of the POR-Masas knew of its existence, the most prominent of them being Juan Pablo Bacherer, who was Lora’s right-hand man in the party during the eighties.

In the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces, everyone had a nom de guerre that did not correspond to their rank in the army, so that inside the cells ‘hierarchical grades were not valid’. In this way, a measure adopted for security reasons accidentally introduced a ‘greater democratic freedom in the debates’.[60]

The decision to publish a clandestine newspaper allowed the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces to make a qualitative leap. The first issue of Vivo Rojo appeared in February 1980 in an A4-size sheet of paper printed on both sides, with a print run of approximately 400 copies, of which multiple copies were later made. The name of the organisation, which until then was simply Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces, changed with the appearance of the newspaper, when the group became known as Vivo Rojo even by its own members.

The first issue of Vivo Rojo contained a call to build ‘a genuinely Bolivian army’ in order to ‘ensure our sovereignty’. The anti-imperialist propaganda was accompanied by an appeal for the ‘Bolivianisation’ of the armed forces, which had to be endowed with ‘their own ideology, an authentically Bolivian ideology that is not alienating or foreign-imposed [extranjerizante]’, in order to ensure that ‘our army is genuinely the people in arms and at the service of the people’.[61]

With ultra-leftist arguments similar to those used by Lora in his work Non-Viability of Bourgeois Democracy,[62] the second issue of Vivo Rojo, published in March 1980, rejected elections and coups alike, because it believed that neither of them could solve the country’s problems. The third issue, published in April of the same year, flatly denied the possibility of establishing a long-lasting bourgeois formal democracy.

Vivo Rojo also addressed problems specific to the Bolivian situation, and in particular its military institution. The fourth issue, published in June 1980, raised the question of access to the sea, stating that the only possible solution ‘to the problem of landlockedness [mediterraneidad]’ was ‘to fight for the unity and solidarity of the Latin American peoples’, as a fundamental step in breaking ‘the chains of imperialist oppression’.[63]

During the dictatorship of General Luis García Meza, who served as the de facto president of Bolivia from 17 July 1980 to 4 August 1981, one of the problems that affected the armed forces was drug trafficking, since both García Meza and a significant portion of the officers were involved in cocaine trafficking. The Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces echoed the denunciations of corruption but rejected any outcome whereby ‘the imperialists […] become the judges and use the pretext of cocaine to strengthen their dominance over the country’. Vivo Rojo proposed that the military themselves should be the ones to judge the drug traffickers in their midst, but argued that in order to do that it was necessary to obtain freedom of internal opinion and the possibility of denouncing superiors without being subject to reprisals.[64]

The fall of García Meza’s government was marked by a series of attempted coups, strikes, the seizure of military garrisons by the troops (acuartelamientos), and even a mutiny by the cadets of the Military College in La Paz in March 1981. In a note entitled ‘We Are Not Coup Plotters’,Vivo Rojo proposed ‘that a provisional government be formed, resulting from the deliberation of all the members of the Armed Forces, with the sole mission of handing over the destiny of the country to the decision of the Bolivians, that is, of the vast majorities’.[65]

Rubio points out that at the end of 1981 there appeared the first edition of The Army in the Revolution (El Ejército dentro de la revolución), the political programme of the organisation, which in 1984 was reissued under the titleArmy and Revolution (Ideological Bases of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces).[66] In keeping with the strategy outlined by Lora, the programme raised the slogan of the ‘Bolivianisation of the Armed Forces’ as ‘an integral part of national self-determination and liberation’, that is, of the emancipation ‘of the oppressed nation against imperialism’.[67] Even at the risk of clashing with military corporate sentiment, the organisation clearly stated that its programme should not be ‘understood as if we were only seeking to improve or reform the current Armed Forces (which are a creature of the bourgeoisie and imperialism) because our purpose is to replace them with new ones, corresponding to a new state and a new society. However, we have to wage the struggle for these new Armed Forces now, within an institution that is dying, in order to lay the seeds of the new institution.’ Among the ‘immediate demands’ outlined by the programme was control by all members of the armed forces ‘of the management of economic and other resources. An example: we must fight for the economic administration at all levels to be known and controlled by the members of the armed forces.’[68] The programme also proposed the creation of democratic bodies where soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers could not only deliberate together, but also judge their superiors.

Finally, the programme declared itself in favour of the workers’ and socialist revolution, asserting that the economic transformation of Bolivia could only be achieved ‘by insurrectional means, the culminating point of the great mobilisation of the masses’.[69] The fight for the ‘Bolivianisation’ of the armed forces implied that, in the face of a general strike or a popular insurrection, the military would refuse to obey orders to repress them issued by the High Command, since ‘No one can send us to commit violent butchery against our will.’ Disregarding the orders of their superiors, the military joining the insurgent masses would place themselves ‘adequately in the present convulsive and transformational process, so that they fight alongside the national majorities and join the people’.[70]

In the context of the restoration of bourgeois democracy, whose viability he denied, Lora even gave a lecture, in July 1984, at the School of Advanced National Studies of the Armed Forces of Bolivia (Escuela de Altos Estudios Nacionales de las Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia) in La Paz, published as a pamphlet with the title‘Political’ Syndicalism. Although, for obvious reasons, Lora did not mention the work of the clandestine organisation of the POR-Masas in the armed forces, he did not hide his revolutionary perspective, stating: ‘The displacement of one class by another in power, which is the meaning of a revolution, has always occurred in society and it would be absurd for us to be terrified every time it occurs. What we must do is to study it with due attention, in the certainty that our society is also heading in that direction.’[71]

On 10 October 1982, Hernán Siles Zuazo returned to power at the head of Democratic and Popular Unity (Unidad Democrática y Popular, UDP), a front which comprised, among others, the Communist Party of Bolivia (Partido Comunista de Bolivia, PCB), and formed a government that included as ministers several PCB leaders. The Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces dedicated an issue of its newspaper to ‘unmasking within the armed forces what this party […] of Stalinist pedigree means’. Delimiting itself from the ‘democratising’ (democratizante) left,Vivo Rojo affirmed that no workers’ and revolutionary party could ‘take part in bourgeois governments, no matter how progressive or worker-oriented it may be’. By adopting that policy, the PCB had ceased to be a revolutionary party and had become a counterrevolutionary one. The root of this political degeneration was the stageist conception of the revolution upheld by the PCB, according to which ‘the country must develop in a capitalist framework for a long period, propping up the bourgeoisie’. As a consequence, the PCB argued ‘that we are in the bourgeois stage of the revolution, and that it is premature and utopian to propose the organisation of all the masses under the command of the proletariat and to argue that the proletariat should put forward its own objectives: the proletarian revolution and dictatorship’.[72]

In a society highly stratified ethnically, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces also addressed the question of indigenism. Against the motto ‘the Army does not meddle in politics’, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces argued for the need to democratise and politicise the institution, asserting that all its members should recognise themselves as ‘sons of this people’ and, consequently, respond ‘to their true moral values’ as heirs of ‘the Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní culture’.[73] ‘TO LIBERATE BOLIVIA’ the members of the armed forces had to free themselves ‘FIRST FROM IGNORANCE, SERVILISM, CONFORMISM’ and stop blaming the country’s problems ‘on race’. Vivo Rojo exhorted the army members to get rid of their racism with these words: ‘don’t blame the Indians, we are all part of them, we have their blood in our blood, we are the same race’.[74]

The Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces denounced the degradation of military studies, in particular the ill-treatment of the troops and sadistic practices such as ‘performing death jumps, grabbing live snakes and all those stupidities worthy of mercenaries, thus frustrating the military career of young Bolivians’.[75]Vivo Rojo also criticised the debasement of the institution which represented the fact that ‘each military chief, as he passes through the high ranks, favours relatives, lovers and other (generally incompetent) people, dishonestly using the budget that the state assigns to the armed forces’. Given that the administrative staff was mostly civilian, women were particularly oppressed, as they were often forced into ‘refined prostitution to avoid dismissal or in search of promotions and better situations’.[76]

In a context of hyperinflation, economic crisis and huge popular mobilisations, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces raised the need for the lower ranks of the army to join the struggle to ‘impose the minimum living wage with a sliding scale’ that was being carried out by the workers’ and peasants’ unions. To that end, the lower-ranking members of the Armed Forces had to form ‘groups of officers to discuss our situation and demand from the superiors a solution to our problems’.[77]

On the occasion of the general elections held on 14 July 1985, in which the POR-Masas participated, Vivo Rojo openly supported Lora’s organisation, pointing out that it was ‘the only one loyal to its principles’ because it showed ‘its open and sincere programme by indicating that its objective is the proletarian dictatorship, without demagogy to gain votes’.[78] At that time, both the newspaper Masas and the organ of URUSUniversidad Revolucionaria reproduced material that had appeared inVivo Rojo. These public interventions forced the Revolutionary Tendency to reaffirm its status as an internal grouping of the Armed Forces and to deny the claims of its opponents, who described its members as agents of a political organisation.

In the context of the privatisation offensive of Siles Zuazo’s government, which resulted in the dismantling of the Bolivian Mining Corporation (COMIBOL) and the closure of most mines, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces launched a series of slogans that went beyond purely military issues, such as ‘non-payment of taxes’, ‘non-payment of the foreign debt’ and support for all the struggles to ‘keep the mines open’. In addition, it called to ward off repression by disobeying orders that would force them, ‘as in the past, to go out and massacre the starvelings that take to the streets’. The military who identified with the cause of the people should rather ‘hand over their weapons to the masses’.[79] Given that the members of the armed forces spent most of their time in the barracks waiting to receive the order to repress, Vivo Rojo launched the slogan ‘EACH REGIMENT MUST DELIBERATE TO DEMOCRATICALLY DECIDE WHETHER TO REPRESS OR NOT!’.[80]

The failure of the mass mobilisation of miners to La Paz in August 1986 marked the beginning of the end of the miners’ movement, and by October of that year it was already clear that the government’s policy was to let mining die. Despite that, in line with Lora’s analysis, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces argued that the miners had not been defeated because the repression had been ‘neutralised’, and that the labour movement had simply backed off to continue fighting with other methods of struggle, such as the hunger strike, even stating that the Bolivian political situation was in ‘full transition from a pre-revolutionary situation to a frankly revolutionary one’.[81]

The ebb of the labour movement after 1986, however, led the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces to put the internal issues of the military institution at the forefront of its agitation, focusing its attacks on the High Command of the Army and debating issues such as improper institutional management. For example, in August 1988 Vivo Rojo raised the slogan: ‘RESTRUCTURE THE E.M.I. [Military School of Engineering] WITH HONEST AND CAPABLE MILITARY. OUT WITH THE USELESS!’[82] At the same time, the organisation extended its anti-imperialist agitation to the ‘fight against drug trafficking’ launched by the US government, calling on the members of the Bolivian Armed Forces not to ‘allow the Americans to put their dirty hands on our army’, not to participate in joint actions and not to accept US soldiers in Bolivian army units.[83]

Following the political line laid out by the POR-Masas, the struggle waged by the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces against the privatisation policy, which threatened to spread to all state enterprises, as well as to the educational and health systems, and against the adjustment plans that were extended to the army and entailed the reduction of its personnel, was accompanied by sectarian and ultra-leftist abstentionism, with the argument that the population ‘in general rejects the electoral farce’.[84]

After the general elections held on 6 June 1993, Vivo Rojo celebrated the fact that 53.1% of the population had abstained or cast a blank ballot, affirming that Bolivia was as a consequence without a government.[85] In reality, the MNR candidate, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who had received 38% of the votes, won the presidency through the vote in Congress and governed Bolivia until 6 August 1997.

The growing identification of the military organisation with the POR-Masas forced Lora to declare publicly in the bourgeois press that ‘Vivo Rojo is not a clandestine military faction of the POR, although its existence is explained by the political and ideological influence of Trotskyism in the Armed Forces.’[86] Lora insisted that the Bolivian armed forces were different from those of neighbouring countries, and that he had even been invited by them to give a lecture.

The Dialectics of the Guru and the Sect

At the National Conference of the POR-Masas held in February 1994 there took place the expulsion of Juan Pablo Bacherer, Lora’s closest collaborator in the party’s leadership during the 1980s, accused of having been an informer for the police and the imperialist forces. That expulsion, which was approved by a majority of only three votes, was the product of an extortive ultimatum by Lora: either the National Conference accepted the denunciation of ‘betrayal’ (delación) or Lora would resign from the party and announce his resignation in the bourgeois press. This episode clearly shows that Lora was no stranger to slander or to the use of Stalinist methods in managing the party. The alleged ‘betrayal’ denounced by Lora never existed, as witnessed by the fact that no member of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces was arrested or expelled from the army for their membership of the organisation. For this National Conference, Lora wrote a draft political resolution entitledThe Revolutionary Situation Points towards Insurrection: The Role of the P.O.R. in the Popular Struggle against the Bourgeois Government, which combined ultra-leftism with nationalism, stating: ‘We want to underline another exceptional factor in the country: we are referring to the Trotskyisation of its culture, its history, and trade unionism itself.’[87] Lora reaffirmed that ‘the party’s task is to strengthen the revolutionary current of the armed forces and the police institution’, because ‘it is now that the question of armament, vital in the insurrectionary stage, must be resolved’.[88]

After his expulsion, Bacherer wrote a long document entitled ‘The POR has become a nationalist sect’ in which, after 24 pages of quotes from Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, and Trotsky, he closed with a description of the ‘internal regime of the sect’ which may be extended to many of the Trotskyist organisations. According to Bacherer:


In the sect, everything becomes a caricature, a counterfeit copy. For example, internal democracy, the right to disagree, the possibility of structuring a tendency or a fraction, although they are vindicated and defended as features that differentiate it from Stalinism, in fact do not exist. […]

Due to a series of historical circumstances, such as the one that separates the leader G. Lora from the rest of the militants by several generations, and above all due to the very conception of the sect, there has been a mystification of the leader, who is the only one authorised to formulate theory and lay down a political line. This mystification is based on the fact that G. Lora supposedly embodies the programme, in such a way that any discrepancy with the leader is automatically regarded as a discrepancy with the party programme. All the fetishisation of the programme mentioned above is embodied in the mystification of the leader.

The consequences of this deformation are disastrous, because there has been a marked division of labour, in which the militants at all levels are the ones who do the practical work and the leader is the one who hands down the line. That’s why there can never be a collective elaboration or an authentic self-criticism to overcome mistakes.

If the political line can only be developed by the undisputed leader, it is impossible to develop an adequate political line, because the leader is in fact completely isolated from the bases. Worst of all is the fact that the leader himself is the one who makes the self-critical balances, so the political line cannot be rectified under those circumstances. Also, and this is very important, the leader can never be wrong because he has to maintain his prestige before the rank-and-file militants. This forces the sect always to affirm the infallibility of the leader and the correctness of the political line applied in the previous period. It is a true vicious circle that definitively strangles the sect.

If the theory is always right and the policy laid down by the leader is always correct, a macabre logic is generated within the sect: the ones who must pay for all the errors are the rank-and-file militants and the mid-level leaders, because only they are susceptible to error. That is why in the sect there can only be organisational errors and organisational crises. If plans are not carried out, if a certain political line does not materialise, it is because the grassroots militants are to blame: they are lazy, imbeciles, they do not understand the line that the leader has handed down, in short, they are irremediable morons. The whip of organisational errors is in the hands of the sect’s chief-guru [jefe-gurú]. […]

This situation results in an absolutely vertical organisation, where the leadership instances are nothing more than transmission belts of the leader’s commands, without questions or discussion on the part of the militants that are part of those instances. Something similar happens with the cells, but to an even greater extent, because they become the blind executors of the decisions of the leadership, that is to say, of the supreme leader. Hence, the political education of the rank-and-file militants is null.

Bacherer concluded by stating:

In the sect, the life-long leader cannot be questioned, and the moment a militant or mid-level leader raises an objection, they are expelled or forced to submit in the most ruthless way. In extreme cases, if sheep-like subjugation has not been achieved, if the dissident remains critical, the leader uses one of his favourite weapons, namely the accusation that the rebel has committed a crime.[89]

In addition to its sect-like internal dynamics, the reasons for the crisis of the POR-Masas were the same that led to the decline of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Armed Forces during the final six years of its existence: the growing gap between the party line and political reality. From 1996 until its disappearance in 2001,Vivo Rojo significantly decreased its circulation, going down from an annual average of seven or eight issues to the publication of only two or three. Its content also deteriorated, as the repetition of preconceived formulas replaced political analyses and interventions in concrete problems of the military institution. The only novelty was the incorporation of the National Police into the fight for ‘Bolivianisation’ (although the policemen never managed to have their own publication similar toVivo Rojo), with slogans such as ‘The weapons are on their way. We will open the arsenals of the Armed Forces and the Police!’[90] The last issue of Vivo Rojo, № 123, published in December 2001, put an end to the publication of the clandestine military newspaper, which had lasted twenty-two years, an unprecedented experience in the annals of Trotskyism.


From the foregoing, it is clear that Rubio’s book is an important contribution to the history of Trotskyism in Bolivia, because it has been written as a serious historical monograph, based on a set of previously unresearched primary sources (including oral testimonies), with an exhaustive mastery of the relevant secondary sources, and critically reviewing the previously available materials, in particular the overabundant writings of Guillermo Lora. It therefore represents a fundamental contribution to the task of leaving behind the mythological stage of Trotskyist historiography and offering a critical history of the Trotskyist currents after Trotsky, a long-overdue political task.


América Libre 1935, América Libre: Crítica, arte, polémica, № 1 (June 1935) – № 5 (December 1935), Ciudad de Córdoba, Provincia de Córdoba, Argentina, available at: <>.

Bacherer Soliz, Juan Pablo 1997, ‘El POR se ha transformado en secta nacionalista’, En defensa del marxismo, Year 6, № 17, July: 91–117, available at: <>.

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Dunkerley, James 1984, Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia, 1952–1982, London: Verso. [Spanish edition:Rebelión en las venas: la lucha política en Bolivia, 1952–1982, La Paz: Quipus, 1987, translated by Rose Marie Vargas Jastram. Second Edition: La Paz: Plural, 2003. Third Edition: La Paz: Vicepresidencia del Estado Plurinacional, 2017, <;.]

Field Jr., Thomas C. 2014, From Development to Dictatorship: Bolivia and the Alliance for Progress in the Kennedy Era, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [Spanish edition:Minas, balas y gringos: Bolivia y la Alianza para el Progreso en la era Kennedy, La Paz: Centro de Investigaciones Sociales, 2016.]

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Justo, Liborio 2007 [1967], Bolivia, la revolución derrotada: del Tahuantisuyu a la insurrección de abril de 1952 y las masacres de mayo y setiembre de 1965: raíz, proceso y autopsia de la primera revolución proletaria en América Latina, Cochabamba: Rojas Araujo [Second Edition: Buenos Aires: Juárez Editor, 1971. Third Edition: Buenos Aires: Razón y Revolución, <>.].

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Lora, Guillermo 1963, La Revolución boliviana (Análisis crítico), La Paz: Editorial Difusión [Reissue: Buenos Aires: Ediciones proletarias Juan Yáñez, 2019, <>].

Lora, Guillermo 1972, De la Asamblea Popular al golpe fascista, First Edition, La Paz: Ediciones OMR [Second Edition: Buenos Aires: El Yunque, 1975], available at: <>.

Lora, Guillermo 1977, A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement 1848–1971, translated by Christine Whitehead and abridged by Laurence Whitehead, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lora, Guillermo 1978a [1974], ‘Puntualicemos algunos aspectos del frente único antiimperialista’ (Lima, April 1974), in Hacia la dictadura del proletariado, pp. 173–81, La Paz: Ediciones Masas.

Lora, Guillermo 1978b, Contribución a la historia política de Bolivia (Historia del P.O.R.), three volumes, La Paz: Ediciones ISLA.

Lora, Guillermo 1979, La lucha democrática y la revolución, La Paz: Masas, available at: <>.

Lora, Guillermo 1980, Inviabilidad de la democracia burguesa, La Paz: Masas.

Lora, Guillermo 1983a, Causas de la inestabilidad política y de la crisis de las FF. AA., La Paz: Masas.

Lora, Guillermo 1983b, ¿Es posible la revolución proletaria?, La Paz: Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales ‘Agenor Alfaro’.

Lora, Guillermo 1983c [1981], El camino hacia la victoria, republished inEl partido y su organización, pp. 153–86, La Paz: Ediciones Masas, available at: <>.

Lora, Guillermo 1984, Sindicalismo ‘político’: Conferencia pronunciada en la Escuela de Altos Estudios Nacionales de las Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia, La Paz: [s.n.], available at: <>.

Lora, Guillermo 1987, Bolivia 2000. El dilema: la clase obrera toma el poder o el país es destruido, La Paz: Ediciones ‘La Colmena’.

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Lora, Guillermo 2001 [1994], La situación revolucionaria apunta hacia la insurrección: El rol del P.O.R. en la lucha popular contra el gobierno burgués: Proyecto de resolución política, Conferencia 1994 del P.O.R., La Paz: Ediciones ‘Muela del Diablo’; reproduced inObras completas, Volume 59: 1993–4, La Paz: Ediciones Masas.

Lora, Guillermo 2011 [1975], Revolución y foquismo: Balance de la discusión sobre la desviación ‘guerrillerista’, Buenos Aires: El Yunque Editora [Second Edition:Revolución y foquismo: Crítica marxista al ultraizquierdismo aventurero, La Paz: S.P.I., 1978; Third Edition:Revolución y foquismo: Balance de la discusión sobre la desviación ‘guerrillerista’, Buenos Aires: Razón y Revolución], available at: <>.

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Rubio, Matías J. 2022, ¡Abrir los cuarteles! Una historia de la Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas – Vivo Rojo (Bolivia – 1980–2001), Buenos Aires: Editorial Newen Mapu.

Sándor John, Steven 2012, Bolivia’s Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. [Spanish edition:El trotskismo boliviano: revolución permanente en el Altiplano, La Paz: Plural Editores, 2016.]

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[1] Rubio 2022.

[2] Dunkerley 1984.

[3] Klein 2011.

[4] Field 2014.

[5] Hernández and Salcito (eds.) 2007.

[6] Justo 2007.

[7] Lora 1963.

[8] Sándor John 2012.

[9] Rubio 2022, p. 43.

[10]América Libre 1935.

[11] Rubio 2022, p. 44.

[12] Hernández and Salcito (eds.) 2007, pp. 49–66.

[13] Rubio 2022, p. 45.

[14] Rubio 2022, p. 45.

[15]La Vérité, № 294, 17 April to 7 May 1952.

[16] Rubio 2022, p. 46.

[17] Rubio 2022, p. 28.

[18] Rubio 2022, p. 46.

[19] Rubio 2022, p. 46.

[20] Lora 1963.

[21] Lora 1977.

[22] Lora 1978b.

[23] Rubio 2022, p. 47.

[24] Lora 2011.

[25] Lora 2011, p. 112.

[26] Lora 2011, pp. 175–282.

[27] Rubio 2022, p. 51.

[28] Rodríguez Ostria 2006.

[29] Rubio 2022, pp. 51–2.

[30] International Internal Discussion Bulletin 1976.

[31] Debray 1967, p. 90; emphasis in the original.

[32] Lora 2011, p. 266.

[33] Lora 2011.

[34] Hernández and Salcito (eds.) 2007, pp. 205–20.

[35] Hernández and Salcito (eds.) 2007, pp. 220–26.

[36] Rubio 2022, p. 38.

[37] Rubio 2022, p. 47.

[38] Lora 1972.

[39] Lora 1978a, p. 175.

[40] Riddell (ed.) 2011, pp. 1164–73, 1187–8.

[41] Moreno 1958.

[42] Lora 1979, pp. 6–7, 15.

[43] Lora 1980, p. 18.

[44] Rubio 2022, p. 60.

[45] Lora 1983c, p. 163.

[46] Rubio 2022, p. 63.

[47] Rubio 2022, p. 73.

[48] Lora 1987.

[49] Lora 1988, pp. 31–5.

[50] Lora 1963, p. 274.

[51] Lora 1972, p. 82.

[52] Lora 2011, pp. 100, 97.

[53] Lora 1980, pp. 29–30.

[54] Lora 1983a, p. 70.

[55] Lora 1983a, p. 110.

[56] Lora 1983a, p. 114.

[57] Lora 1983b, p. 39.

[58] Rubio 2022, p. 70.

[59] Rubio 2022, p. 86.

[60] Rubio 2022, p. 87.

[61]Vivo Rojo, № 1, February 1980, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 90.

[62] Lora 1980.

[63]Vivo Rojo, № 4, June 1980, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 97.

[64]Vivo Rojo, № 8, April 1981, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 99.

[65]Vivo Rojo, № 9, May 1981, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 100.

[66]Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas 1984.

[67]Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas 1984, p. 44.

[68]Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas 1984, p. 53.

[69]Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas 1984, p. 69.

[70]Tendencia Revolucionaria de las Fuerzas Armadas 1984, p. 56.

[71] Lora 1984, p. 17.

[72]Vivo Rojo, № 26, April 1984, cited in Rubio 2022, pp. 110–11.

[73]Vivo Rojo, № 21, September 1983, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 113.

[74]Vivo Rojo, № 24, February 1984, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 112.

[75]Vivo Rojo, № 22, November 1983, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 114.

[76]Vivo Rojo, № 30, October 1984, cited in Rubio 2022, pp. 114–15.

[77]Vivo Rojo, № 33, March 1985, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 116.

[78]Vivo Rojo, № 35, July 1985, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 117.

[79]Vivo Rojo, № 40, July 1986, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 120.

[80]Vivo Rojo, № 40, August 1986, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 120.

[81]Vivo Rojo, № 40, August 1986, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 122.

[82]Vivo Rojo, № 53, August 1988, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 126.

[83]Vivo Rojo, № 49, April 1987, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 126.

[84] ‘We soldiers join the majority: we will not vote in the next elections!’, Vivo Rojo, № 86, November 1991, quoted in Rubio 2022, p. 137.

[85]Vivo Rojo, № 90, June 1993, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 137.

[86]Última Hora, 31 December 1992, p. 10.

[87] Lora 2001, p. 337.

[88] Lora 2001, pp. 342–3.

[89] Bacherer Soliz 1997, pp. 115–17.

[90]Vivo Rojo, № 110, September 1996, cited in Rubio 2022, p. 175.