Monday, January 09, 2006

great article on evo morales' victory in bolivia

and the US webs of influence...

Bolivia: Revolution Through the Ballot?

By Aijaz Ahmad 9 January 2006

here's just a taste from toward the end:

"...[T]he U.S. has been intimately involved in the military affairs of the Bolivian state since the revolutionary days of the 1950s and 60s when it became obsessed with what it called "internal subversion" in Bolivia. Initial training programmes were conducted through U.S. surrogates in Argentina. By 1963, however, Bolivia had more graduates from the United States Army Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, than any other country in Latin America, while direct military aid increased, in currency values of that time, from $100,000 in 1958 to $3.2 million in 1964. In 1962-63 alone, a total of 659 officers were trained at the School of the Americas while 20 of the 23 senior-most officers of the Bolivian army were brought there for extended visits. The killing of Che was the high point of their success, and these men and their subordinates, backed by U.S. agencies, destroyed the revolutionary and populist forces of Bolivia and imposed a brutal military dictatorship which paved the way for oligarchic rule and neoliberal regimes for the next two decades. Since then, the Bolivian army has been the creature of the U.S. At present, that U.S. stranglehold on the security apparatus of Bolivia is conducted under the name of "war on drugs" upon which "war on terrorism" has been grafted more recently.

"Over the past four years, as popular uprisings engulfed Bolivia, the U.S. is said to have poured more than $150 million a year in military and `social' aid, largely in the name of containing drug trafficking, though the real amounts are likely to be much higher. The main focus in the so-called "war on drugs" is of course on Colombia, which shares a strategic border with Venezuela, but in Bolivia itself this "war is conducted by about a dozen different agencies, all funded by the U.S., which go far and wide into Bolivian society to conduct this "war." Even so, and in addition to all that, U.S. training and equipping of Bolivian military and police forces skyrocketed again from 2003 onwards, as the rise of Morales became imminent, just as it had escalated in the revolutionary days of 40 years ago. Bolivia again became, next to Colombia itself, the second largest Latin American recipient of U.S. military training, and the number of Bolivian personnel receiving such training went up from 531 in 2000 to 2,054 in 2003. Meanwhile, the U.S. has also been positioning weapons and personnel in neighbouring Paraguay. The point here is that the combination of this U.S.-trained army and the U.S.-aligned oligarchic power is quite formidable. Morales may be able to defeat them but the going shall be tough. In comparison to the ordeals ahead, the heady ride to power at the head of a historic people's uprising may begin to feel like a mere picnic before tremors of an earthquake set in."

from: Centre for Civil Society, January 9, 2006.


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