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Gomez: Bolivia's Political Moment, Part II?

Gomez: Bolivia's Political Moment, Part II?

February 28, 2006
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As two new items in The Narco News Bulletin today show, the long history of struggle for the Bolivian people is far from over simply due to the election of President Evo Morales. First, Luis A. Gómez reports again from La Paz on Bolivia's current "political moment." This time he looks at confusion stirred up by the announcement of the 8th Congress of the Six Federations of Coca Growers of the Tropic of Cochabamba that all U.S. agents and representatives of organizations receiving money from the U.S. government would be expelled from the Chapare. The Chapare is the Bolivian region near the city of Cochabamba where the war on the coca leaf has been hardest fought.

Since the Chapare's coca growers still regard Evo Morales as their top leader, the confusion was over whether this would become an official position of the Bolivian government. While Morales spokesman (and former Narco News correspondent) Alex Contreras initially made statements suggesting the Morales administration would support the coca growers in their demands, it soon became clear that this was not the case. Gómez reports:

"On the morning of February 16, in a speech at the La Paz Military Academy, Evo Morales made it very clear that the cocalero congress' resolution did not represent anything approaching a commitment on the part of his administration. Don Evo expressed the importance of maintaining international relations (and don't forget to take into account that at this point that the gringos had not yet revoked Leonilda's visa).

"'Everyone has the right to be in our country as long as they respect our national dignity and sovereignty,' said Morales to the boys at the academy. 'We need these bilateral relations, within the framework of a mutual respect between peoples and between nations. The fundamental right to self-determination of our peoples and, in this case, of our nation, comes before any foreign relationship.'"


"The thing that got this correspondent thinking, kind readers, was something else that we had already noted in these pages: Upon leaving the meeting with Minister Quintana on the night of February 16, David Nicol Greenlee - the ambassador who speaks Quechua and married a Bolivian - said that the request to expel the DEA, the State Department's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) and other U.S. government agencies had nothing to do with human rights violations in the Chapare..."

Read full report for the history that disproves this outrageous claim by Greenlee, and much more, here:

Also, now playing in the Salón Chingón is the short video documentary "Fuera," by Maria Corcorran and Lindsay Katona, about the continuing battle for public control of water in the indigenous city of El Alto. Corcorran and Katona spent a month living among the people of El Alto, recording the hardships of those excluded from neoliberalism's plans for Bolivia's water systems and suffering from the situation imposed by a multinational corporation that even the Morales administration seems unable or unwilling to take on.

Watch that video and read more about the struggle for water in El Alto, here:

From somewhere in a country called América,

Dan Feder
Managing Editor
The Narco News Bulletin

© Scoop Media

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