Tuesday, June 27, 2006

BOLIVIA Another desperate obsession for the empire

Elections for Constituent Assembly July 2
BY NIDIA DIAZ— Granma International staff writer

WHEN Bolivians go to the polls this Sunday, July 2 to elect their representatives in the Constituent Assembly, responsible for giving the country a new Charter whose words and spirit protect their equal rights and defend their national heritage from foreign plunder, attempts by the opposition and Washington to bring down the first indigenous government of Latin America and close the door on further experiences of this kind in the region could be interred.

Since Evo Morales, demonized by campaigns against him and manipulations of surveys won the elections last December with 54% of the vote, another thorn has been embedded in the side of President Bush and his principal advisors in the White House.

Getting rid of that irritation has become one of the main tasks of this administration, which in its second and final terms has accumulated more failures than it ever imagined when it capitalized on the tragedy of the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

At that time Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba were perceived as "dark corners" of the earth which could be swept away with a simple thumbs down.

Evo Morales’ electoral victory was unthinkable and giving him a minute’s thought in relation to its strategy of global domination was unnecessary.

When the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) won the elections last December Washington had suffered several reverses: it had failed to pacify Afghanistan, more and more U.S. soldiers were dying in actions by the Iraqi insurgency, Iran was refusing to bend to its will and Cuba and Venezuela were continuing to advance on the road to socialism.

The options on its destabilizing menu have included attacking Bolivia, creating problems for the nation, subverting internal order by backing the bourgeois opposition, fuelling the flames of the fabricated separatist issue, and inventing defamation campaigns against president in the context of his alleged subordination to the Caracas government and its Bolivarian leader.

On May 1 this year the MAS government nationalized hydrocarbons, announced the intensification of its agrarian reform program and a review of miners’ contracts in order that benefits would go to the people and not to the transnationals that having been draining the country of its profits. It also intends to recover vital enterprises, such as electricity and telecommunications, where the state is to control 51% of decision making and profits; as well as taking education and health to the most remote and needy parts of Bolivian geography. For the empire’s liking, these are too many attainments for a people who have lived with their heads bowed by so many centuries of domination and colonization.

Among other maneuvers to deter those actions, it has pulled a minor player out of the props box: Antonio Franco, none other than the head of the Latin America Department of the U.S. Aid for International Development (USAID), a euphemism concealing a veritable network of calumnies, discredit and subversion which serves all administrations against the continent.

Franco expressed U.S. fears of supposed "anti-democratic dangers" in Bolivia, opinions reproduced with great fanfare by the ultra-conservative and right-wing daily The Miami Herald.

He added that on many occasions, the new Bolivian government had demonstrated an inclination to consolidate executive power and promote potentially anti-democratic reforms via the Constituent Assembly and other means. He also charged Evo Morales with pressuring for the Constituent Assembly to be similar to the one that Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, fostered in Venezuela.
Among the arguments quoted by Franco and which he presents as evidence of Morales’ anti-democratic intentions is the decision to nationalize natural resources, including those in the energy sector, as well as his alleged decision to interfere in judicial and electoral issues. And as if those statements were not sufficient, Franco announced with the certainty of a White House ventriloquist that USAID would support a counterweight to the control of one sole party, as much in the judicial sphere as in terms of media independence, as well as the training of leaders of a strong and educated civil society.

Those interventionist threats are compounded by the camouflaged presence of U.S. soldiers in La Paz posing as academics, who were at the center of the attention and condemnation of the Bolivian media last week.

It was the state Bolivian Information Agency (ABI) that affirmed that the above infiltration has been going on for months, a charge for which the Bolivian president himself demanded an explanation from the U.S. ambassador in that country, given that the information had been confirmed by national intelligence reports that a large part of the 23 U.S. citizens participating in a course on "internal conflicts" in La Paz are from the military.

The exposé was backed by Vice President Alvaro García and Alicia Muñoz and Walker San Miguel, ministers of government and defense, respectively.

The revelations are exemplified by the already confirmed cases of Sergeants Mark Patric Peláez and Michael Humire, the latter, in addition to having been trained as a sharpshooter, being an explosives and special operations expert.

The Bolivian leader has reiterated condemnation of a conspiracy against his government by the Bush administration that involves not only the internal opposition, representatives of the defeated traditional parties but the oil transnationals that can see their interests adversely affected. That corroborates Franco's astonishing statement when, in the height of arrogance, he threateningly warned that the president of the United States is losing his patience with Bolivia.

After the result of the elections of this Sunday, July 2 we shall see how far U.S. impotence at the decision of a people like that of Bolivia to take over its own destiny without interference and without fear, might lead the empire.