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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:23 AM
Original message
Bolivian Ex-President Faces Treason Charges
Destruction of the country's missiles sparked outrage.

LA PAZ, Bolivia Former President Eduardo Rodriguez has been charged with treason for sending the country's only missiles to be destroyed in the United States, the attorney general said Thursday.

President Evo Morales, a leftist who regularly criticizes U.S. foreign policy, had denounced the destruction of the 30 Chinese-made surface-to-air missiles during his campaign for the December presidential election.

---

Bolivian Atty. Gen. Pedro Gareca said the main offenses were spying, falsifying documents and subjecting the country to foreign control.

"All of this is treason against the nation, undoubtedly," he said in announcing the charges.

LA Times
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is going to be very interesting. Rumsfeld has been making a lot
of slimey remarks toward Bolivia since Evo Morales looked good for the Presidency. Bush's people are despicable, and not too hard to see through.

Here's something worth pondering:
In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Nicholas Burns, the State Department's undersecretary for political affairs, said the Bush administration hopes "that the new government of Evo Morales in Bolivia does not change course, does not try to assert somehow that it's fine to grow coca and fine to sell it."

Though it is a key ingredient in cocaine, coca has been used for centuries in the Andean region for medicinal purposes: it relieves hunger, sickness, and fatigue. It's also an ingredient in Coca-Cola, cough syrups, wines, chewing gum, and diet pills. The U.S. Embassy's website for Bolivia suggests chewing coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness.

"Trying to compare coca to cocaine is like trying to compare coffee beans to methamphetamines, there's a universe of difference between the two," Sanho Tree from the Institute for Policy Studies explained on NPR. "We have to respect that indigenous cultures have used and continue to use coca in its traditional form, which is almost impossible to abuse in its natural state."

George Ann Potter worked from 1999 to 2002 as an advisor to Morales, and since then has been the main advisor to the Coordination of the Six Women Federations of the Chapare, the country's biggest coca growing region. Potter explained that although Morales plans to continue a hard line approach against the drug trade, the current policies of the U.S. war on drugs need to change.

"One billion dollars has been spent over the last 20 years and there is little to show for it," she said. "Forced eradication resulted in many dead, more wounded, armed forces thieving and raping."

It's widely held among critics of Washington's anti-narcotics agenda for Latin America that the U.S. government uses the war on drugs as an excuse for maintaining a military and political presence in the region.

A report from the Congressional Research Service stated that the U.S. war on drugs has had no effect on the price, purity and availability of cocaine in the U.S. Potter explained that even the U.S. government admits that "Bolivian cocaine, what there is of it, does not go to the U.S., but rather to Europe."
(snip/...)
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/dangl120106.html
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. There should be more forthcoming on these missiles.
Bolivia's army chief fired over decision to send missiles to U.S. for destruction

Morales who later won elections in December revealed the destruction of the missiles by the United States and said it had left Bolivia with almost no air defense.

Rodriguez said he made the decision to destroy the missiles on the recommendation of the United Nations and the Organization of American States after receiving information from the army that they were obsolete and a safety hazard.

Morales' Movement Toward Socialism Party filed a suit against Rodriguez in October, with some members claiming the missiles were in working condition. Party members have distanced themselves from the suit in recent weeks.

The United States has been campaigning to rid Latin America of portable arms that could fall into the hands of terrorists. A State Department spokesman earlier said Bolivia requested U.S. help in removing the deteriorating Chinese-made surface-to-air missiles.

On Tuesday, government news agency ABI reported that Rodriguez would make a formal inquiry with the U.S. Embassy to investigate their role in the matter.
(snip/...)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20060117-2012-...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bolivia's Morales accuses US of blackmail



March 07, 2006, 12:15

Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, accused the United States of "blackmail, threats and intimidation" yesterday for withdrawing anti-terrorism funding from the poor South American country, the official news service ABI reported.

Morales, a coca farmer who once described his socialist movement as a "nightmare for the US," said the US military told Bolivian military chiefs last week the country was no longer seen as a suitable partner in the war on terrorism.

"Because we don't accept vetoes or the change of a commander, blackmail comes from the US armed forces," Morales was quoted as saying, referring to perceived US interference in the Bolivian military.

Bolivia declassified
In a speech to mark the 21st anniversary of the rebellious left-wing city of El Alto, Morales said the US decision to "declassify" Bolivia as an anti-terrorism partner would lead to the withdrawal of US military equipment deployed for the countries' joint anti-terrorism force, as well as the discontinuation of grants and training courses.

In total, the US-sponsored programmes were worth more than $300 000 Morales said. "It's peanuts. These resources are only there to control Bolivia, to have intelligence agents. We don't want intelligence agents serving the US government," he was quoted as saying.
(snip/...)

http://www.sabcnews.com/world/north_america/0,2172,1233...
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VirginiaDem Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I'll buck the tide here.
Obviously, Morales is not the danger that the Bushistas believe, etc. But I'm not convinced that Morales' behavior isn't creepily nationalistic and that some significant part of it is NOT a function of Bush/US behavior.

To wit, I hardly think that destroying the missiles constitutes treason--this looks like a typically Latin American post-election "cleanup campaign" when the incoming administration goes after the previous administration for political purposes. I'm also concerned that the recent move to settle the issue with Chile concerning the corridor to the Pacific is not necessarily being done in good faith on the Bolivian side. Is Morales making a good faith effort to reach a deal with Chile or is Morales reopening a wound for nationalistic purposes? I'd like to see the specifics of Morales' proposals on the corridor deal. I don't know the details so my suspicion is just that--a suspicion.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Don't you remember how Pinochet executed his fascist coup?
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 08:30 PM by 1932
Surface-to-air missiles might have saved Allende's government.

I'm certain that Morales hasn't forgotten how Pinochet's coup went down.
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VirginiaDem Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Allende would have needed a lot more than
a few SAMs. Is that really what Morales is thinking? I doubt it. It's all fine and dandy to stand up to the US but you'll notice that the OAS and the UN recommended getting rid of them. The OAS is not nearly the US puppet that it was during the Cold War, although the US still has a big influence it simply doesn't run them like it used to. And the UN is in unbridled US backlash.

I think he's scoring nationalist political points, nothing more. Bolivians have a long history of anti-Chileanism due to the loss of the coastal land and they have a long history of nationalism and a concurrent long history of nationalistic populistic leaders, more so than most in Latin America. That's what's going on here.

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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I'd like to see who in the UN said what, exactly. Same with OAS.
9/11 is quite a lesson in the value of surface-to-air missiles. Both 9/11s.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. What evidence do you have that Morales is not acting in good faith
with Chile? I've surely never seen anything written anywhere which would lead to that conclusion.

It would be helpful to learn more about the idea Bush's benevolent administration moved to engage Bolivian Army officers to remove their weapons and destroy them.

The untrained eye might be tempted to imagine Evo Morales IS NOT planning aggression against Chile. It would be educational if you shared your information with those of us who are clueless.
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VirginiaDem Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. In my post below
I admit that Morales does look to be making a good faith attempt to negotiate with Chile. I will reserve judgment to see exactly what is offered/demanded.

I've already shared with you my general thoughts about Latin American history and nationalism. Bolivia has had a pronounced history of nationalism because of this corridor/port issue. Bolivians and Chileans have got a thing going because of the corridor and Bolivian leaders have consistently used it for political purposes. If you don't believe me, google it but it's basic South American history 101 so as much as you're interested in Latin America, if you don't already know about it I'm suspicious of your objectivity.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. You have to admit, however, that Morales, in almost every respect,
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 08:41 AM by 1932
represents a break with history.

And if you want to talk about historical patterns in latin american politics, the relevant pattern might not be that winning governments unfairly prosecute previous government officials. Perhaps its that outgoing RW governments tend to have their crimes uncovered, such as Peru's Fujimori, and Venezuela's Perez (both of whom were indicted by subsequent center-right governments for actual crimes, no?).
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VirginiaDem Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Don't you think treason is a bit much? n/t
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. I would think that would depend on the evidence.
Certainly there is reason to watch this closely, but we ought to reserve judgement on the merits until we see what facts are produced to support the charge.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. I can't say without knowing the facts.
I doubt Morales would get his government off to a start by allowing prosecutors to overreach.

Is there a copy of the indictment available on the internet?
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sounds good to me.
I'm glad that developing countries are asserting their sovereignty and rebuilding their self-defense capacity. The US should not have an unrestrained hand to rule the world. Hopefully Morales leads Bolivia on a course to national economics and social development.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good job Evo. I wonder if the Dems take over if they would be
so bold as to go after the treasonous Bush/Cheney cabal?
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Bolivia's Morales reaches out to neighbour Chile
SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales will make a historic showing at Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet's inauguration this weekend and the two had a friendly meeting on Friday, signs that fractious relations between the two Andean neighbours could be improving.

Morales is the first Bolivian president ever to attend the inauguration of a Chilean leader.

Landlocked Bolivia, one of Latin America's poorest countries, lost a mineral-rich piece of coastal territory to Chile in a 19th-century war and relations with its wealthier neighbour have been rocky ever since.

"This visit is historic for us and we hope that it is historic for the Chilean people," said Morales before his brief meeting with Bachelet dressed in a casual zip-up jacket instead of the sweater that he famously wore to meet European and Asian leaders after he was elected.

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=w...
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VirginiaDem Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Okay, maybe he is making a good-faith attempt.
Contrary to my posts above. I'm still skeptical but this article reduces my skepticism a little.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I think Evo is cut from a different mold.
He has an interesting and difficult situation to deal with, but his roots are different and his base is different, so I don't expect he will follow the beaten path of miltaristic nationalism. In fact, pending more information, I think it would be a mistake to expect him to be like anybody.

I consider that the concern about the missiles - whether well-founded or not - is mainly rooted in a defensive issues, which he has perfectly good reasons to worry about.

It may well be that the fuss about the missiles is overdone, but it's interesting to compare it with the similar fuss about the same issue in Nicaragua.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. Your article about Evo Morales's trip to Santiago was terrific.
Especially notable, the outstanding photo of Evo Morales and Michelle Bachelet.

~~~ CLICK! ~~~

Beautiful!
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
10. Worst of all, President Evo Morales is a friend of Castro!
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 09:30 PM by Mika
(((GASP!!)))


What's next? Forced health care for the sick? Forced education?

EVERYONE knows that h-c and ed have to be forced on a resistant populace.

:sarcasm:
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
19. Good article from cal04, posted last Monday, for DU'ers who missed it.
Morales Accuses U.S. of Intimidation
President Evo Morales on Monday accused the U.S. government of trying to intimidate Bolivia by announcing it would cut some aid because of a disagreement over the appointment of a military commander. Bolivia's armed forces received a letter from U.S. officials saying the United States was cutting about half a million dollars in funding for Bolivia's anti-terrorist unit, Morales said in a speech.

``We cannot accept threats and intimidation of our armed forces,'' Morales said. ``It's not possible that external forces come to change commanders and ministers.'' Morales, who took office Jan. 22, called the U.S. aid ``crumbs'' used to ``control Bolivia, to have intelligence agents.''

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment and the specific nature of the U.S. objection to the commander wasn't immediately clear. The Bolivian government released the letter sent March 3 by U.S. Army Col. Daniel Barreto, but it did not identify the commander in question. ``Due to a recent change in the unit commander ... the U.S. armed forces feel that our armies no longer share the same vision, making it necessary the de-certification of the Anti-Terrorist Force,'' Barreto wrote.

Morales, who was swept to power on a leftist platform and has long railed against American economic and drug policies, claimed during his campaign to be ``the nightmare of the U.S. government.'' He has since toned down his rhetoric and met with U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee to discuss bilateral issues. U.S. aid to Bolivia is roughly $150 million annually, the majority of which goes toward anti-drug efforts.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5667664...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
21.  Missile affair in Bolivia tarnishes reputations, yields few answers
Bolivia's top military leaders asked for U.S. help last year in destroying some 28 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were dangerously obsolete, they say, and Washington agreed.

But the secret operation was unmasked, came under attack by then-presidential candidate Evo Morales, led to the firing of the defense minister and the army's top commander, fueled suspicions of heavy-handed U.S. dealings and sparked corruption allegations.

The Bolivian Attorney General's office on Thursday called for the indictment of former President Eduardo Rodriguez, who was replaced by Morales on Jan. 22, on treason charges, as well as his defense minister and supreme military commander.

---

On his third day in office, Morales bypassed 28 generals for promotion, forcing them into retirement and creating potential tensions down the road with a Bolivian military that has a long history of coups.

http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Sectio...
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Texacrat Donating Member (286 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 02:24 AM
Response to Original message
22. So how long is it before Bush starts doing this?
Seriously, I'm surprised at how many people support this nationalistic, and dare I say fascist, move by Bolivia's leader.
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 05:53 AM
Response to Original message
23. Sigh, So many world headlines
that I'd just like to change the names of.
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