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The Week That Was – Bolivian Blogs

The concept of sovereignty was a fundamental pillar during the Movimiento Al Socialismo’s (MAS) victorious campaign in last year’s elections. Claims of interference by foreign governments, most notably by the United States, in the internal affairs of Bolivia were the foundation for calls of increased sovereignty. A little more than 4 months since President Evo Morales took office, there are claims that a different type of interference is taking place but by different foreign governments. Many bloggers are increasingly worried about the close relationship between Morales, President Fidel Castro of Cuba, and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

The government of Cuba has provided medical doctors to provide services to Bolivians, especially after the terrible flooding in many parts of the country. However, Jonathan Olguin of Business and Politics in Bolivia blog refers to these service providers as “super doctors.” This label wasn’t given because these doctors possessed any super skills, but rather because of their claims of how many Bolivians served in such a short period of time. The 590 Cuban doctors have declared that approximately 570,000 patients have been attended to in a period little less than two and a half months. According to Olguin, the calculations do not add up, but perhaps these “super doctors” will be able to cure every imaginable disease in the world.

Another group of foreigners that may be operating in the country may be the Venezuelan military. Briegel Busch, who writes in his blog Bolivia Eclipse (ES), said that the Organization of American States (OAS) announced that it will address the issue of the presence of Venezuelan military officers in Bolivia. Busch believes that this should truly be investigated and reminds his readers that the presence of any foreign military must be authorized by the legislature.

However, Bolivia recently received two helicopters complete with flight crew as gifts from the government of Venezuela. The anonymous blog Morir Antes Esclavos Vivir (ES), which is a phrase from the Bolivian National Anthem (translation: Die rather than live as slaves), wonders whether these helicopters will be used as vehicles by the MAS campaign for the Constituent Assembly elections. The author also wonders why Chavez cares so much whether MAS wins the majority of seats for the Constituent Assembly. These types of gifts are not assistance, but rather interference, wrote the blog author.

Finally, a new blog called Vitrina de Realidad, written by Martin P. Gutierrez, a Bolivian studying in Buenos Aires thinks that Morales is beginning to get too involved in other neighboring countries’ internal affairs as well. He cites the example of Morales inviting Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala to the lakeside town of Copacabana and using the state television channel to extol the virtues of Humala, who ended up losing to Alan Garcia in last weekend’s elections.

3 comments

  • United we stand, divided we fall.

    Venezuela has taken the initiative to unite the nations of South America in a defense pact against western countries who consider those nations with natural resources as “national interests.”

    Each nation will remain sovereign, as nations in the European Union remain sovereign within a united Europe. So will the nations of South America remain sovereign, united in a pact to protect their people against greedy corporate western aggressors.

    Look at the forest, not only the trees.

  • tamas Banovich

    I would like to remind Daphne that the European Union Is a legal organization that has been voted for in each country in a referendum. it is functioning according to a charter and it is not a military organization. Other than that i am all for it, if it helps all of the participants on equal footing.

  • The issue here is sovereignty. I will not give a history lesson on the beginnings of the European Union (you can read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_European_Union ). The European Union was formerly the European Economic Community and what Latin America is attempting to do is to unite the region economically (as the EU did in its inception).

    You are questioning the legality or illegality of the beginning of this Latin American union and concluding that it is a ‘military organisation’– but the issue here is sovereignty and this is where my analogy comes in. In the beginning, Great Britain did not join the EU, refusing on the grounds of national sovereignty, but did join at a later date (with France expressing misgivings in Great Britain’s close ties with the United States). We see the EU being a strong force now in the world of politics and economics.

    So when bloggers express doubts here about remaining sovereign, you must look at the bigger picture, you must have some foresight and see what great advantages you may have by uniting.

    Here is an article that may be of interest: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/nation/14793910.htm?source=rss&channel=cctimes_nation

    Presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela toast Castro as they pledge to form a regional, socialist mini-bloc to oppose Bush:

    In the 1990s, Latin American countries began subscribing to the so-called Washington Consensus promoting free-market reforms. Most of the region’s leaders treated Castro coolly, and his anti-capitalist tirades often fell on deaf ears.

    Recently, from Argentina to Venezuela, opinion polls showed disenchantment rising as U.S.-backed economic reforms failed to live up to expectations, especially for the poor. In the past few years, voters throughout the region have turned to candidates who pledged a larger role for the state in fighting poverty and unemployment.

    “The neo-liberal economic program didn’t work, so they (Latin Americans) rejected it and are moving away from us,” Smith said.

    How this regional mood shift and Castro’s revival might affect ordinary Cubans remains to be seen. So far, any benefits have come almost entirely from Castro’s relationship with Chavez.

    Venezuela sells Cuba 90,000 barrels of oil a day on favorable terms that include Cuba sending doctors, teachers and agricultural products to Venezuela. The deal allows Castro to pay for social and transportation services that Cuba otherwise might not be able to afford.

    “Countries with oil have become much more aggressive toward the United States,” he said. “Cuba doesn’t have that power directly, but it comes from Venezuela.”

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