It looks as if Bolivia elected a new president today and not only is Elon Musk getting thoroughly dunked on, but Tesla stock is down. Why? Because Elon set himself up for failure on Twitter, of course.
The news itself is that the left-wing Luis Arce has declared victory in the Bolivian presidential election. Arce is the former finance minister to Evo Morales, who had been head of the country for over a decade until what he denounced as a right-wing coup forced him out of the country last year. Who else called this a coup, a U.S.-backed coup no less? Elon Musk!
LeftVoice has a pretty good explanation of the Twitter drama from July and explained how Musk was illustrating how capitalism and imperialism go hand in hand:
Last Friday, Elon Musk caused a stir on Twitter when he suggested that he supports coups which benefit his companies. Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, had first tweeted that a second government stimulus package would not be “in the best interests of the people.” A Twitter user replied, “You know what wasn’t in the best interest of people? the U.S. government organising a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there.” In a since deleted tweet, Musk fired back, “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” The comment is a clear illustration of the capitalist motivations behind imperialist aggression.
To reiterate, Elon deleted the tweet and Tesla doesn’t even get its lithium from Bolivia. It mostly sourced lithium out of Australia, as the sympathetic site Electrek was quick to point out at the time. Elon said the same:
Also, we get our lithium from Australia
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2020
Still, something about it stuck. We could all see how Elon felt about it because, well, he told us loud and clear. He thinks that he deserves everything in the world, like it’s his right. Like it’s his manifest destiny.
Elon could have kept his mouth shut, but why? He clearly felt untouchable. He is a billionaire, after all. He has been rewarded richly for every loud idea he’s had thus far.
But aligning himself online with the immediate success of the 2019 coup meant that he’s now aligned with its failure:
how it started how it's going pic.twitter.com/1lqFPwXqZV
— ☀️???? (@zei_squirrel) October 19, 2020
And because we’re talking about Tesla, that means we should mention Tesla stock:
This year has been a good one for Tesla as a business, with deliveries up and the Model 3 an enduring success. This drop will likely be a blip, but a memorable one.
The reason why any of this is even popping up in American news feeds is that Bolivia is not a rich country but is rich in natural resources. Lithium is at the centre of this particular drama. Tesla cars use lithium batteries, and certainly exploiting Bolivian lithium is on the radar for anyone looking to make batteries cheaper. Which is exactly what Tesla is focused on. Does Elon in particular need Bolivian lithium? He says he doesn’t, but he also championed a U.S.-backed coup there, so he’s getting drawn into the whole mess anyway.
When you remember all the lithium in Bolivia pic.twitter.com/bnvP8fWCAj
— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) October 19, 2020
Again, Elon didn’t have to get himself into this, but I’m glad he did. It tells us where his head is at in a way that no PR team can deny. Not that Tesla has one anymore, but still.
Correction: This article initially stated Evo Morales had been head of the country for decades. This election was, in fact, the first time Morales had not been on the ballot in decades, as noted by the BBC. Morales had held office since the ‘90s, but was only elected president in 2006.