Argentinian journalist Sebastian Moro was found unconscious, left for dead, covered in bruises, scratches and other signs of violence on November 10. Moro was wearing a vest identifying him as press covering the dramatic U.S.-backed coup against democratically elected President Evo Morales in Bolivia.
The 40-year-old worked for the influential Argentinian newspaper Pagina/12. Hours earlier he had denounced what he saw as a far-right takeover of power. His last known words, published in his newspaper hours before he was found, were denouncing the kidnappings of government officials, and mob attacks on journalists and media outlets. He had been one of the only voices exposing the local opposition’s campaign of terror to the world. Moro spent six days in a La Paz hospital before finally succumbing to his injuries.
Despite the world’s attention being focused on the Andean country, media has steadfastly ignored the likely beating to death of a foreign journalist for political reasons. No mention of Moro has been made in the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or any mainstream Western outlet, despite his story being well known in his native Argentina. Nor has his case been mentioned by the major human rights networks such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Even the Committee to Protect Journalists has not acknowledged his killing. Its list of deceased journalists in 2019 shows none across South America.
In fact, both media and the human rights industry have been leading a campaign to legitimize the new coup administration of Jeanine Añez and whitewash her crackdown on independent media. Taking their line from the Trump administration, corporate media refused to call the events in Bolivia a coup, preferring instead to frame it as Morales “resigning.” The New York Times welcomed the end of the “increasingly autocratic” Morales and expressed its relief that the country was in the hands of more “responsible” leaders. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal’s headline read “a democratic breakout in Bolivia.”
Human Rights Watch, too, has been key in pushing through the U.S.-backed overthrow of a democratically elected head of state and whitewashing the violence that still engulfs Bolivia. Its director Ken Roth claimed that the coup was an “uprising” aimed at “defending democracy” from a “strongman” while the organization described Añez’s law giving Bolivia’s notorious police and armed forces complete immunity from all crimes while they massacred protestors as merely a “problematic decree.”