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Disintegration in the Andes

Disintegration in the Andes


by Andrés Soliz Rada, Rebelión, June 23rd 2008

There are no chance ocurrences in politics. By signing a "free trade" Treaty with the United States, accepting the installation of a US military base and pushing for the sale of community lands, Peru's Alan García confirms he is a tool of President Bush and the Lima oligarchy. Nor is it by chance that his Foreign Minister, José García, denigrates former President Juan Velasco Alvarado, who together with Bolivia's Alfredo Ovando, Colombia's Lleras Restrepo and Ecuador's Velasco Ibarra brought about the historic Decision 24 of the Andean Pact in 1969.

That Decision stipulated that Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia establish common rules in relation to foreign capital, prohibiting multinational investment in basic services and preventing the expatriation of profits of over 14% on their investment. They scheduled the development of metal and machine industry and decided that the State become a steadily more active participant in strategic initiatives.

In 1971, Washington and the Argentine and Brazilian military dictatorships, dominated by the Pentagon, overthrew the Ovando-Torres regime, with the complicity of the Santa Cruz oligarchy and also of the extreme Left, influenced by James Petras. In 1975, the US replaced Velasco with the conciliatory Morales Bermudez. With those changes, the US blocked liberation hopes in the Southern Cone being enriched by Allende's victory in Chile in 1970 and Héctor Cámpora's in Argentina in 1973.

If one has to deal in comparisons, Alan García is developing economic policies similar to those of Menem, Sanchez de Lozada and Pinochet. Velasco Alvarado on the other hand, nationalized oil, controlled foreign banks, distributed large landholdings to rural workers and set limits to the abuses of communciations media, controlled by the neocolonialist centres. Together with Ovando and Allende, Velasco envisaged Latin American integration based on a democracy of national self-determination, since the other version, the neoliberal one of the Washington Consensus and Alan García leads to bloodbaths, like the one caused by Sendero Luminoso.

From his Torre Tagle palace in Lima, the Foreign Minister compares Evo Morales to Velasco Alvarado. Unhappily, the comparison is not totally correct, since the policies from the presidential Quemado Palace in La Paz, against social exclusion and in favour of recovering natural resources crash up against Treasury Minister Luís Arce's neoliberalism and that of the Central Bank directors for whom Milton Friedman is the Supreme Pontiff.

In fact, one cannot justify at all that US$6bn of Bolivia's monetary reserves (from a total of US$7bn) and pension funds are loaned out at 2% to financial entities in the US, Switzerland, Great Britain, France, Australia, Japan and Ireland. Bolivia is lending money to the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) at 2% and gets back loans at 8%.

Can anyone understand such lunacy? When one asks the shameless neoliberals to explain, they reply that the information is classified. They add that it is a bad idea for Bolivia to have that money in case it might increase inflation, which is quite untrue if the money were to go towards productive projects like smelting plants, refineries, highways, foundries and gas pipelines, financed up until now by usurious loans.

The craziness of the Bolivian government is shared by almost all the governments of the region. Ecuador's President Correa has revealed that Latin American countries have loaned out US$200bn to the US Treasury, to foreign multinationals and to North American, Japanese and European banks. Until when will the Bank of the South be created? Until we have finished fattening up the very people who exploit us?

*************

Andrés Soliz Rada was Minister for Hydrocarbons under Evo Morales - www.patriagrande.org.bo

Translation copyleft Tortilla con Sal

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