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.