Monday, September 15, 2008

Bolivia and other points south of the border

Vete, embajador estadounidense subversivo (Pictured, Bolivian President Evo Morales)

I suppose with the failure of the private financial system in the United States grabbing headlines, it's understandable that events in South America wouldn't always be on page one.

But lots of news is happening there, anyway. The UNASUR organization of South American nations is meeting in Chile today (Monday) on the Bolivian situation. (Evo Morales acude hoy a la cumbre regional que analizará la crisis en Bolivia El País [Spain] 15.09.2008) Leaders of the hydrocarbon-wealthy "Media Luna" rebel provinces in eastern Bolivia tried but failed to get themselves formally invited to participate in the UNASUR talks.

El País quotes a Chilean professor of international relations, Ricardo Israel, saying:

"Una guerra civil en Bolivia sería terrible no solo para Bolivia sino para toda la región. Afectaría a la seguridad de muchos países. Las expectativas son muy altas. Pero lo único que los líderes pueden hacer es animar a ambas partes a que negocien, y tampoco está claro que logren ese objetivo".

[A civil war in Bolivia would be terrible, not only for Bolivia but also for the whole region. It would affect the security of many countries. Expectations are very high. But the only thing the [UNASUR] leaders can do is encourage both parties to negotiate, but it's not clear that they will achieve this objective.]
Some of the less militant leaders are not happy about the bolstered profile this crisis gives to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.


But the basic position of all the countries so far is to support the democratic Bolvian government of Evo Morales. Venezuela's is the same, but with more verbal venom directed toward the US government.

Brasilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has publicly stated that his government will not "tolerate" the disintegration of Bolvia toward which the eastern Bolivian oligarchy is heading with their rebellion. (El polvorín de Evo sacude Suramérica por Jorge Marirrodriga El País [Spain] 14.09.2008)

And speaking of Chávez, El País (Spain) also reports on the alleged coup attempt that his his government thwarted this past week, El supuesto golpe contra Chávez se salda con cinco militares detenidos por Clodovaldo Hernández 15.09.2008. Hernández writes that several times since the failed coup of 2002 against him, Chávez has claimed various conspiracies against him, but the concrete proof has generally been thin. But, he writes, the evidence Venezuela is producing on this one is more convincing, so far. Five of the alleged conspirators were recorded supposedly discussing the coup plan.

In short, the crisis in Bolivia is really serious stuff, with far-reaching implications for all of South America, and for the relationships of the UNASUR countries with the United States.

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