LA PAZ, Bolivia: A top aide to President Evo Morales said Wednesday that U.S. aid should conform to the government’s populist agenda or be spent elsewhere.
Bolivia receives about US$120 million (€88 million) in annual aid from the United States, but the Morales government has recently alleged that some of the money is funding the country’s conservative opposition. The president warned this week that “radical decisions” would be taken against foreign embassies that meddle in Bolivian politics.
“The Bolivian people have decided to undertake a process of profound change,” Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana said Wednesday. “But these changes are being harassed and interfered with by the effects of U.S. assistance.”
Morales has moved to nationalize Bolivia’s oil and gas industry, proposed a sweeping land reform and is seeking a new constitution that would grant greater power to the impoverished Andean nation’s Indian majority.
While the president’s support remains high among the largely indigenous population of the poorer western highlands, many European-descended and mestizo residents of the more prosperous lowland east have bitterly opposed his reforms. A prominent eastern mayor even suggested Tuesday that Bolivia should split into two separate countries.
Quintana named several government ministers from previous conservative administrations allegedly on the payrolls of democracy initiatives subcontracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development to Chemonics International Inc., a global consulting firm.
He added that “if U.S. cooperation does not adjust itself to the politics of the Bolivian state, the door is open” for them to leave the country.
David Snider, a USAID spokesman in Washington, said Bolivian assistance is not directed toward any political ends.
“We don’t choose sides,” he told The Associated Press.
The United States has used its Bolivian aid to oppose Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism party, or MAS, in the past.
A declassified 2002 cable from the U.S. Embassy in La Paz described a USAID-sponsored “political party reform project” to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors.”
The U.S. Embassy in La Paz declined this week to comment on the memo.
This really just means the guy who wrote the memo (and the one that leaked it) at the Embassy just lost his chances of a promotion any time soon. Oh, and forget that plush post for the next few assignments, if they don’t tie you to a desk in DC for a while first. Nobody is in the dark, who actually has an interest and isn’t swayed by ridiculous headlines and propaganda tactics on the part of the Bolivian/Bolivarian (learning more and more everyday from Chavez) government. The following posts above will illustrate the very PUBLIC information that is out there for those who want to know SOME (not all by any means) of the US (because there are plenty of other foreign countries doing the same and MORE) organizations operating on some political level in Bolivia. Here in the US we tend to proceed with caution in these types of things, thus we try to stay as transparent as possible without leaving our efforts absolutely vulnerable to the malicious intentions of others who refuse to give responsible democratic governance a chance. That said, a government is only as good as its polity… we see that the US populous is just as duped by the propaganda machines of foreign leaders as they are by domestic ones. (Google Penn and Belafonte in Venezuela).