United Tesla Company: Widespread Condemnation of Elon Musk’s Bolivia Coup Comments
Telsa CEO Elon Musk is once again under fire, this time for tweeting “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” in reference to the 2019 US-backed coup in Bolivia.
(By: Alan Macleod, Mintpress News) Multibillionaire Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk once again proved that he does not know how to keep silent. After being challenged on Twitter about his alleged involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Evo Morales in Bolivia last November, Musk responded, “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”
Although he later deleted his statement, he doubled down on his stance, tweeting “Congratulations to the people of Bolivia!” on Morales’ ouster.
The pushback to Musk’s apparent confession that he was intimately involved in the violent overthrow of a foreign government and its replacement with a far-right dictatorship was swift. “I’ve been silently fuming about this ever since he tweeted it. It just chokes me up with so much rage I can’t think of anything to say about it. I write for a living and I am still completely without words for this,” wrote independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone. “All oligarchies are composed of trash, but there does seem to be something special about this one,” said writer Justin Podur. Assistant editor of The Grayzone Ben Norton agreed, tweeting, “The fascist Bolivian coup dictatorship has already invited billionaire imperialist Elon Musk to exploit the country’s lithium reserves. When this capitalist oligarch brags “We will coup whoever we want,” take the fascist criminal at his word.”
Paulo Drinot, summed up the event, describing it as the “United Tesla Company.” Drinot, a Professor of Latin American History at University College, London, is referencing the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’etat, where the United Fruit Company, now known as Chiquita, conspired with the U.S. government to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz, chiefly because the popular leader had initiated land reform that was hurting the company’s bottom line, ensuring the country would return to being nothing more than a banana republic.
Musk’s comments seemed to confirm what many had been saying since the coup took place. Barely 24 hours after the events, Indian academic and writer Vijay Prashad wrote that they “cannot be understood without a glance at the nation’s massive reserves of this crucial mineral.” Morales himself labeled his ouster a “lithium coup d’etat” last year. The former president, who was forced to flee to Argentina or face a lifetime in prison, said that Musk’s words were “more proof that the coup was due to Bolivian lithium; and two massacres as a balance. We will always defend our resources!”
The Bolivian people are organising to take back control of the lithium that the US-imposed regime is trying to give to Elon Musk. pic.twitter.com/df5rYMNgsW
— Ollie Vargas (@OVargas52) July 25, 2020
Musk’s company, Tesla, relies on lithium batteries for its electric vehicles. Bolivia is right in the center of the Lithium Triangle” — a region high in the Andes mountain range where over half of the world’s known deposits of the metal lie. With the world beginning to transition away from fossil fuels, the need for energy storage devices is expected to grow exponentially. Morales, a resource nationalist, had for a long time seen lithium as the way forward to industrialize and improve the country’s economy, hoping to keep the technology and profits from battery generation inside Bolivia. Musk’s plans to open a car plant in Brazil and use cheap Bolivian lithium had hit a snag with the defiant president refusing to give him a sweetheart deal. Morales’ successor, the military-backed Jeanine Añez, immediately began privatizing the country’s key resources, and there is widespread speculation that such a deal is imminent after Añez’s running mate in the now-suspended 2020 elections asked Musk to build a factory inside the country.