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How long shall we stand the disturbing arrogance/ignorance of this magazine? That the Busy Administration has plotted to destabilize Morales' government is an ABSOLUTE FACT.
Check out the following for example: http://www.bigwood.biz/Bolivia_docs/20011129-BO-DoS-USAID-Talking_points...
The Economist is also pretending to ignore that US AID was used as a CIA front in the past, based on official records that anyone can review (see the so called “Church” Senate Committee investigating illegal CIA activities in the 1970s.)
The US embassy in La Paz is fully involved with this effort and President Morales was wholly entitled to expel the American ambassador.
The Economist evidently has no idea how American public reacted in the past to the simple suspect that foreign countries were meddling in their politics.
straightpath: why is anything about our children their job? Too bad for us that we never learned to secure a border, and can't seem to convince enough of those "children" that cocaine isn't a great way to party.And I'd wager just about any country with a DEA presence would take your last paragraph and say it back to us: it's our street crimes (buyers) that send the hundreds of millions of dollars which sustain their organized crime.
Although I am far from being a fan of Evo's, I have to somewhat agree with his stance on Coca growing. Coca in Bolivia, contrary to in most wealthy Western nations, is not used mainly for reacrational drug purposes, but rather, the leaf is used (and has been used since the time of the Incas) to make Mate (a type of tea infusion) and to chew. The Incas chewed this leaf when they traveled through the high plateaus or hiked up strenuous trails, as it is a sort of stimulant. It is also used for medicinal purposes, to the extent that a majority of tourists landing at the El Alto International Airport in La Paz, as well as other airports around the nation, are greeted with a cup of Mate de Coca to ease the digestive problems and nausea caused by the altitude. This is not to say I agree in any way with Evo or Chavez's expulsion of American ambassadors to their countries, nor any of their political agendas, really, but it does seem to me that Western cultures have a lot of trouble understanding why Bolivians and other Andes dwellers are so insistant on continuing their Coca farming.And I have to agree with QA_2 and killremoval. We are providing the market. Rather than focusing so much on what other countries grow on their own land, we should focus more on what people consume on ours.
"He talks the far-left language of ending dependence on the American “empire”, the IMF, the World Bank and the like." "far-left language"? It sounds like common sense to me!!!
What nasty comments about the United States. I don't support the covert activities that some agencies have conducted there, and nobody asked me about them, or the rest of the American people. The taxpayers of America have provided billions of foreign aid to many countries of the world to help with clean water and provide food during famines, drugs during disease. For this, the United States is universally condemned and insulted. There is a growing movement here to cut ALL foreign aid, and use it to help those who are homeless in our own country. After reading these comments, I must say that seems like a good idea. With friends like these, who needs enemies. As for me, my family won't ever be buying any Bolivian products again. We can grow everything we need here.
I thought that President Morales sounded paranoid when he claimed some years back in an interview with Pablo Stefanoni that students coming to Bolivia to study Quechua were spying for the US. Later, Alex Schaick, a Fullbright scholar in Bolivia, reveals that he was asked to spy by someone in the US Embassy. I think that even if this incident was counter to the official US policy, it demonstrates that Bolivians in general may have legitimate concerns over US involvement in their country, especially given the history of US intervention in Latin America.
President Morales desires good trade relations with the US. I find it strange that he would give the DEA the boot unless he felt he had good reason. Perhaps President Morales does not always make the best policy decisions for his country but is he really so capricious as to throw away his trade relationship with the US for no good reason at all? Why is it so mad to think that some officials in the US would have less than angelic intentions toward a socialist president in their so called "back yard"? Having economic policies that may or may not pan out for Bolivia does not mean that President Morales is a paranoiac.
I think it is important to remember that Venezuela is not the only friend of Bolivia. The leaders of Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and the other nations of South America support and are on good terms with President Morales. As far as I know the US is reasonably isolated in its worsening relationship with Bolivia, which is a peaceful nation that has a history of working with the US, even during the last few years.
As to the question of illegal Bolivian coke being imbibed by Americans, that's not Morales's problem. He did not create the demand, and at best he only allows his countrymen to meet it. We as Americans need to accept the fact that drug addiction is not due to some poor third world coca growers, but rather to our own domestic desire to get high. Stop blaming them for our problems. At the same time, Morales has decided to go back in time, presumably to the point where any left wing government that towed the Moscow line would have received funding from the USSR. That's no longer the case, and Caracas is definitely not Moscow. With oil prices having been cut in half over the last six months, it is unlikely that Chavez will be able to cover governmental outlays for much longer, and may even find himself in the red. Once there, I seriously doubt any government will be willing to front him the money he needs to fund his revolution. At that point, things will get very interesting, and I suspect, very violent.
if you believe that the U.S. does not interfere with the internal affairs of Bolivia (or against a host of other countries around the world), then you must believe in Santa Claus and that he is a white man with beard who brings good cheers around the world. but what can a small poor country like Bolivia do against the behemoth? but a publication like the Economist should be brave enough to at least be a witness to the truth?
Evo is a clown in the pocket of Chavez. He made his choice and sold his soul. I would not waste to much time worrying about our relationship w/Evo & Bolivia. The winds of change are around the corner for these democratically elected leaders.Let's wait him out and wait for the NEW leader.
To All:We proudly call ourselves "Americans." We know that we are North Americans, and that takes nothing away from our friends in Central America and South America. Please feel free to use the term also if you like!I think the old imperialist/communist terms are dead. Now, there is a multinational globalism that is a concern to those in all countries. It can both help and hurt, depending upon how the trade is managed. It is a balance to open trade up and still protect critical and important national cultural treasures. As someone who has travelled in Mexico and Central America, I very much like the culture, and hope it stays true to its roots. I do not want to see a replication of American culture everywhere.However, some elements of the United States I think are great for everyone, the most important is the Constitutional Bill of RIghts, which guarantees each citizen certain rights even the government cannot run over. This includes freedom of speech, religion, right to bear arms, freedom of assembly, and a due process before taking away ones property, to name a few. This is what makes us citizens instead of subjects.
To all:As far as I and many here are concerned, to have a friend one must be a friend. I bear no ill will toward the people of any country, nor do I have any thoughts of "imperialist" or any other old, worn out propaganda phrases you may use about me and those who think like me. I do know that if a country is a friend of ours, I will be happy to be a friend. I will not patronise goods and services from ANY country that works against the interests of America.Americans love their homes, love their families, and love their country. They are not stupid. They read the same books, watch the same world television news, and read the same internet pages.This is the country that put men on the moon, developed nuclear power, developed flight, and many more things. This is the most inventive, most gracious, and most giving country in the history of the world.Many who are in foreign countries and read internet information, and hear the propaganda in their own countries think they know the United States. Obviously you do not. Have you ever travelled to the United States? As far as hate, it seems you are an expert on that. This country exports hope.
Well thanks to the stupidity of the United States (a poor “victim” nation which only wanted to help a poor one asking nothing in return), Bolivia is now poised to quadruple cocaine production, lowering their prices and making the consumption of this substance no longer prohibitively expensive. Maybe the best thing out of all this will be better rock music, better looking models, and a better funded CIA and Border Patrol, as we all know, that treating the disease (battling drug trade) is highly profitable, as oppose to no profit when a cure is found (winning the drug war). Presidente Morales will surely pay a dear price for expelling a US diplomat. Will this end up like the US invasion of Panama by Bush I?
If Bolivia wishes to be a friend to the United States, I am sure we will welcome with open their friendship. However with the new economic realities in the United States, we can no longer afford to support those who do not support us. Favored trade and ability to make money in this country should depend on cooperation with the people of the United States, not opposition to them.You can keep your drugs thank you. Its your job to make sure that they are not contaminating our children and street corners. Why should we have to send aid to you to contain your own problem? Countries want to be treated like equal partners, so be it. Let them also act like responsible global citizens by getting their own internal crime in order so it does not affect other countries.
What is it about the USA that 300 million people, a very small part of the world's population, consume over 80% of the illegal drugs????????????
I think it shows a rather bizarrely inverted perspective to assert that, firstly, the US is involved in Bolivian affairs to help the Bolivians.This is a secondary concern to them, if not an out and out excuse.Even declassified CIA documents (see Golinger's excellent book on Chavez) show the involvement of USAID and the NED as means to filter money to covert operatives on the ground in Latin America without congressional scrutiny as well as using the same means to fund, by means of smear campaigns and panic-stoking lies - both of which I witnessed ad nauseam when I lived in Bolivia - the anti government opposition, including the Santa cruz Civic Committee, an unelected body of local businessmen/rotary club types who have, with mysterious help from somewhere we can only guess at, managed to train a neo-fascist fighting force of local white boys to go after the local indian population as well as attacking local human rights lawyers and the like.
Whilst the US goverment has expresssed consternation at at Moprales and worried about 'democracy' under him, it has never commented on the fascist and racist attacks against he and his supporters.Must be because the fascists - I've seen the swastikas and had the conversations about 'fucking nigger presidents' and the like with their supporters on many occasions - represent democracy in their eyes.
I can't remember the figures off hand but they are there if you want them: the aid (read: US taxpayers' money) poured into funding groups to topple both Chavez and Morales by any means necessary including assassination attempts, kidnaps and coup d'etats (Chavez 2002 being the most celebrated example) has run into the 10s of millions in the last 10 years.All of it squirreled away from the eyes of prying Congressmen by it going through USAID and NED amongst other groups.
Bolivia had never, to anyone's knowledge, ever waged war on or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, so I consider it slightly unfair.As do most Bolivians, in fact.
Did you know there was an attempted military coup against the recently elected Morales in Autumn 2006 led by an ex General called Antezana?I lived there.I watched it.It wasn't reported in the anglophone media at all.I know because I looked.You think a military coup against a democratically elected government might get a mention, wouldn't you?From what I saw, the US got involved once this happened.That was the week Goldberg turned up, astonishingly.Morales recently told the UN General Assembly that, upon taking office, he found a CIA office inside the Presidential Palace.Explain that.
The so called War on Drugs is just the latest way to punish the Bolivians for voting in a government that represents the interests of the country's poorer people, much as Obama does in the US.
I sincerely hope that even if Gates does stay in place as Defense Secretary, Biden will reach out to Morales (and Chavez and Correa).They are not America's enemy.
These countries,incidentally, have, in turn, said nothing to indicate they will do anything other than respond in a spirit of concord.
Evo Morales: just another politician.
It is a simple fact that Bolivia needs the US more than the other way around. Morales, for all his charisma and full of populist charm in an admittedly poor country, made the lamentable choice of allying himself with the despot Chavez and his ilk. I'm sure he will use this charm on friend Hugo (and Rafael, and Mahmoud, and Daniel) to pawn off the goods which will no longer go duty free to the US. He may succeed, or he may end up with a vastly improved wardrobe. In any case, it is doubtful Obama would look good in bolivian altiplano clothing...good luck evo!
Illegal drugs are subject to the standard Laws of Supply and Demand. If the USA did not consume well over 600 tonnes of cocaine in its drug habit per year, the coca growers of Bolivia, Colomia Ecuador and Peru would not have a market to sell their product to and production would collapse. The on-going fight against the producers should be re-directed to the ultimate consumers....
If the Economist has taught me anything about the blurred relationship between international and domestic politics it is this: When a national government is facing an episode of serious internal strife it is highly likely that it will attempt to shift the concern of its citizens away from that issue and to either (1) the perception of some external threat or (2) the nation’s immigrant population.
Bolivia already tried a socialist regime from 1950-1985 and it plunged the country into an economic basket case. Due to the gigantic government apparatus and low private sector incentives, the government was unable to increase its natural resources exports thus plunging the country into bankruptcy. asa former coca planter himself, Morales' twist is to include coca planter unions into its government calling them "social movements". The result is a government absolutely beholden to coca planters with nefarious results: 1/3 of the population has chosen to quasi secede, its natural gas exports that provide most of the gov revenue have plunged as result of capital flight and lack of investment. Mr. Morales' to date has no coherent government program and is increasingly isolated from global markets fot its few exports. The jury is still out on Mr. Morales' revolution.
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