Silvio Rodriguez OJALA
The following statement in defense of Palestine and encouraging people to join the BDS campaign has been signed by Bolivian president Evo Morales, former Honduran president Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez and many more (see list below) To add your name email email@example.com
In defense of Palestine
Faced with the tragic events our Palestinian brothers and sisters are living through in Gaza, the Network in Defense of Humanity (REDH) assumes our responsibility and expresses the following:
We take up as our own the words of compañero Evo Morales, a founder of the Network in Defense of Humanity and President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, who has declared Israel to be a terrorist state.
We express our absolute repulsion at the genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people by a state founded on dispossession and the colonial occupation of Palestinian territories.
We pay recognition to, and express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and its resistance organizations, especially in Gaza, in their heroic struggle against Israeli attempts to exterminate them and seize the small pieces that remain of what was once their homeland.
We condemn the imperialist role of the United States that politically, financially and militarily sponsors and backs Israel, in the face of the extraordinary inaction of the UN Security Council whose resolutions on the question of Palestine are systematically violated with complete impunity by Washington. The United States is once again demonstrating the hypocrisy and cynicism with which it has acted throughout history, threatening sanctions and interventions against the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Eurasia who defend their sovereignty at the same time as its backs the actions of Israel.
We denounce the complicity in what is occurring, by default in some cases, of the governments that make up the European Union, as well as the unconditional subordination of the media oligarchs to Washington’s dictates. Enough of calling it a war when in fact it is a genocide being perpetrated by one of the best equipped armies in the world against a people whose defensive resources are infinitely inferior in quantity and quality!
We encourage you to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the terrorist state of Israel, as it is time for active and creative solidarity that goes beyond statements of condemnation. We have failed the more than 1,600 people killed in Palestine over the last few weeks, as well as the more than 9,000 injured since the start of the terrorist operation hypocritically named “Protective Edge”.
We demand an end to apartheid and genocide, as well as to the walls and illegal settlements. We call on the governments of the world to demand that Israel complies with US Security Council resolutions that oblige it to withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, return to the borders that existed prior to the “Six Day War” (1967) and guarantee the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as per Security Council Resolution No. 242, November 22, 1967, a resolution that has been consistently ignored by the state of Israel.
We call for a real political solution to the conflict in Palestine on the basis of dialogue, negotiation and the existence of two states with equal rights and delineated borders that are internationally recognized. We believe this solution must begin with the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners. We congratulate the governments of ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas], Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and other governments of the South for their position of solidarity against the barbaric actions of Israel in Gaza.
We adopt as our own the words of the revolutionary, Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” We affirm that Israel has morally and politically lost this battle in the face of the brave Palestinian people and the growing condemnation by the peoples of the world of a “criminal” state that violates international law. The unbreakable Palestinian resistance will be rewarded, sooner rather than later, with the smiles of their children in a free homeland.
Against Israeli terrorism and US imperialism, in defense of the right to self-determination for Palestine and all the peoples of the world!
Initial signatories: Evo Morales, Bolivia; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina; Pablo González Casanova, México; Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay; Roberto Fernández Retamar, Cuba; Federico Mayor Zaragoza, España; Silvio Rodríguez, Cuba; Luis Arce Catacora, Bolivia; Gianni Vattimo, Italia; Gabriela Rivadeneira, Ecuador; Istvan Meszaros, Hungría/Reino Unido; Samir Amin, Egipto; Alfonso Sastre, País Vasco; Nardi Suxo, Bolivia; Enrique Dussel, México; Marta Harnecker, Chile; Carmen Bohorquez, Venezuela; Cesar Navarro, Bolivia; Miguel Barnet , Cuba; Franz Hinkelammert, Alemania; Héctor Arce Zaconeta, Bolivia; Piedad Cordoba, Colombia; Reverendo Raúl Suarez, Cuba; Martin Almada, Paraguay; Fernando Rendón, Colombia; Graziella Pogolloti, Cuba; Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia; Ana Esther Ceceña, México; Luis Britto, Venezuela; Rafael Cancel Miranda, Puerto Rico; Atilio Boron, Argentina; Theotonio Dos Santos, Brasil ; Alfredo Rada, Bolivia; Piedad Cordoba, Colombia, Farruco Sesto, Venezuela; Ángel Guerra, Cabrera, Cuba/ Mexico, Juan Carlos Trujillo, Bolivia; Mel Zelaya; Honduras; Hildebrando Pérez Grande, Perú; Patricia Villegas, Colombia/Venezuela; Maria Nela Prada, Bolivia; Stella Calloni, Argentina; Omar González, Cuba;; Hugo Moldiz, Bolivia; Pascual Serrano, España;; Raúl Pérez Torres, Ecuador; Obispo Raúl Vera, México; Joao Pedro Stedile, Brasil; Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Portugal; Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras, Cuba; Socorro Gomes, Brasil; Katu Arkonada, País Vasco/Bolivia
Full list of signatories
Abdón Ubidia Ecuador
Adalberto Santana México
Adelaide Gonçalves Brasil
Ademar Olivera Uruguay
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel Argentina
Adriana Rossi Argentina
Adys Cupull Cuba
Aitana Alberti Cuba
Alba Carosio Venezuela.
Alba Estela Maldonado Guatemala
Alberto Abreu Arcia Cuba
Alberto Acosta Cuba
Alberto Ferrari Argentina
Alberto Mass Argentina
Alberto Rabilotta Argentina/Canadá
Aldo M. Etchegoyen
Alejandra Ciriza Argentina
Alejandra Claros Borda Bolivia
Alejandra del Palacio México
Alejandro Dausa Bolivia
Alejandro Hamed Franco Uruguay
Alejandro Moreano Ecuador
Alejandro Zárate Bladés Bolivia
Alex Pausides Cuba
Alexis Adarfio Marin Venezuela
Alfonso Herrera Franyutti Mexico
Alfonso Sastre País Vasco;
Alfredo Rada Bolivia
Alfredo Serrano Bolivia
Alfredo Vera Arrata Ecuador
Alicia Castellanos México
Amelia Barreda Argentina
Américo Díaz Núñez Venezuela
Ana Bas Cortada Argentina
Ana Carolina Strongoli Argentina
Ana Cristina Abud Argentina
Ana Esther Ceceña México
Ana Leticia Vargas México
Ana María Aragonés México
Ana María Ramb Hughes Argentina
Ana Mariaa Vera Smith México
Ana Paula de Teresa México
Ana Ruiz España
Ana Zambrano Estados Unidos
Anahit Aharonian Uruguay
Andrea Fernández México
Andrea Trejo Márquez México
Andrea Vlahusic Argentina
Ángel Guerra Cabrera Cuba/ México
Ángel I. Baños
Ángeles Maestro España
Angelo Baracca Italia
Anita Leocadia Prestes Brasil
Annamaria Testi Italia
Antonella Signorini Italia
Antonio Elías Uruguay
Antonio J. Martínez Fuentes Cuba
Antonio Preciado Ecuador
Araceli Cortes México
Ariana López Marth Cuba
Arlete Moysés Rodrigues Brasil
Armando Fernández Cuba
Arturo Corcuera Perú
Arturo Escobar Estados Unidos
Atilio Bonilla Perú
Atilio Borón Argentina
Augusto Plaza Bolivia
Aurelio Alonso Cuba
Beatriz Stolowicz México
Beilton Freire da Rocha Brasil
Bernard Duterme Bélgica
Betinho Duarte Brasil
Beto Almeida Brasil
Betty Tejada Soruco Bolivia
Boaventura de Sousa Santos Portugal
Boris Brito Bolivia
Bruno Portugués Perú
Camilo Valqui Cachi México
Carla Espósito Guevara
Carlin Shapiama Perú
Carlos Aznárez Argentina
Carlos Borroto Cuba
Carlos Cabal Mirabal Cuba
Carlos Chanove Bolivia
Carlos Fazio México
Carlos Fernández Liria España
Carlos Moya Ureta Chile
Carlos Zamora Cuba
Carmen Bohorquez Venezuela;
Carol Proner Brasil
Carolina Sánchez Cuba
Cecilia Todd Venezuela
Cesar Navarro Bolivia
Cesar Navarro Bolivia;
Cesar Pedros Fernández Cuba
Christian Mirza Uruguay
Christian Mirza Uruguay
Clara Algranati Argentina
Clara Ferri México
Clara Rivas España
Claudia Camba Argentina
Claudia Gómez Haro México
Claudia Iriarte Chile
Claudia Yarza Argentina
Clemencia Correa México
Colette Louise Wall México
Crisbeyle González Bolivia
Cruz Mejía México
Crysbeylee González Venezuela
Danny Rivera Puerto Rico
Darío Machado Rodríguez Cuba
Delfina Paredes Perú
Denis Merino Perú
Derlei Catarina De Luca Brasil
Domenico Losurdo Italia
Domenico Vasapollo. Italia
Edgar Butron Bolivia
Edgar Llanos Bolivia
Edgard Sánchez México
Edgardo Lander Venezuela
Edmundo Cepeda México
Eduardo Arroyo Perú
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay
Eduardo González Cuba
Eduardo Heras Cuba
Eduardo Neururer Argentina-España
Eduardo Paz Rada Bolivia
Eduardo Raúl Neururer Rabottini España
Elena Jiménez Cuba
Elisa Rando Argentina
Elma Beatriz Rosado Puerto Rico
Elza Neves Moraes Brasil
Emiliano Teran Mantovani Venezuela
Emilio Comas Paret Cuba
Emira Imaña Bolivia
Enrique Dussel México;
Enrique González Ruiz México
Enrique Rajchenberg México
Enrique Ubieta Gómez Cuba
Epigmenio Ibarra México
Epitacio Paes Brasil
Eréndira Salazar México
Esteban Silva Cuadra Chile
Estefanía Prado Bolivia
Estela Fernández Nadal Argentina
Eugenio Sánchez Aldana México
Eva Björklund Serbia
Eva Forest-Sastre País Vasco
Eva Golinger Venezuela
Evaliz Morales Alvarado Bolivia
Evo Morales Bolivia
Fabio Grobart Sunshine Cuba
Fanny Palacios Izquierdo Perú
Farruco Sesto Venezuela
Federico García Perú
Federico Mayor Zaragoza España
Feliciano Padilla Perú
Felipe de J. Pérez Cruz Cuba
Fernando Bossi Venezuela
Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez México
Fernando Martínez Heredia Cuba
Fernando Medina Venezuela
Fernando Mijangos País Vasco
Fernando Morais Brasil
Fernando Rendón Colombia
Fernando Rodríguez Bolivia
Flora Rocha Bolivia
Francesco Spinazzola Italia
Francisco García Bolivia
Francois Houtart Belgica
Frank Gaudichaud Francia
Franz Hinkelammert Alemania;
Franz Sandoval Bolivia
Fred Fuentes Australia
Freddy Salazar Sanjinés
Fredy Salazar Bolivia
Froilán González Cuba
Gabriel Coderch Díaz Cuba
Gabriel Pérez México
Gabriel Vargas Lozano México
Gabriela Rivadeneira, Ecuador
Gabriela Sosa Martínez México
Gianni Vattimo Italia
Gilberto López y Rivas México
Gilda Girardi Venezuela
Gina Rey Cuba
Gladys M Quiroga Argentina
Gloria Sellera Uruguay
Gonzalo Perera Uruguay
Gorki Tapia Perú
Graciela Masetti Argentina
Graziella Pogolloti Cuba;
Griselda Ramos Suco Cuba/México
Guillermo Azzi Argentina
Guillermo Rodríguez Rivera Cuba
Guillermo Tineo Bolivia
Gustavo Codas Paraguay
Gustavo Espinoza Perú
Gustavo Rojas Perú
Gustavo Valcárcel Perú
Héctor Arce Zaconeta Bolivia
Héctor Bernardo Argentina
Héctor de la Cueva México
Héctor Fernando Aguilar Venezuela
Hector Udaeta Bolivia
Henrique Galarza España
Henry Morales López Guatemala
Hernando Calvo Ospina Colombia
Hildebrando Pérez Grande Perú
Homero Castro Guzmán México
Horacio E. Pérez López Cuba
Hugo Chinea Cabrera Cuba
Hugo Moldiz Bolivia
Humberto Zambrana Bolivia
Ilonka Vargas Ecuador
Inés Izaguirre Argentina
Inés Lucero Belgrano México
Iraida Vargas Venezuela
Irene León Ecuador
Iroel Sánchez Cuba
Isabel Monal Cuba
Isabel Sanginés Franco México
Isel Llerena del Castillo Cuba
Ismael Hamdouch Argentina
Istvan Meszaros Hungría/Reino Unido;
Iván Padilla Bravo Venezuela
Jacques de Novion Brasil
James Cockcroft Canadá
Javier García Bolivia
Javier Lenz Bolivia
Javier Vargas Lozano México
Jessica Saravia Atristain Bolivia
Jesús Guanche Cuba
Jesús Ramírez Cuevas Mexico
Joan Tafalla España
Joaquín Arriola País Vasco
Joel Suárez Cuba
John Catalinotto Estados Unidos
John Saxe-Fernández México
Jonas Rojas Bolivia
Jorge Bustillos Bolivia
Jorge Castañeda Zavala Mexico
Jorge Wejebe Cuba
Jorge Fons Mexico
Jorge Fonseca España
Jorge Guichón Uruguay
Jorge Montemayor México
Jorge Orbe León Ecuador
Jorge Rachid Argentina
Jorge Veraza Urtuzuàstegui Mexico
Jorge Winter Argentina
Jorge Zabalza Uruguay
José Adeildo Ramos. Brasil
José Antonio Almazán González Mexico
José Antonio García Araujo Venezuela
José E. Díaz Uruguay
José E. Díaz Uruguay
José Enrique González Ruiz Mexico
José Gandarilla Mexico
José García Bolivia
José Luis Rubén Silber Argentina
José Luis Silverio Peralta México
José Luis Tagliaferro Argentina
José María Barreiro España
José Pertierra Estados Unidos
José Regato Ecuador
José Steinsleger Argentina/ México
Juan Antonio García Miranda Cuba
Juan Carlos Biani Argentina
Juan Carlos Calvimonte Bolivia
Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton Chile
Juan Carlos Medrano Bolivia
Juan Cristóbal Perú
Juan Diego García España
Juan Manuel Navarro Reina España
Juanita Conejero Cuba
Julio Benavides Perú
Julio C. Gambina Argentina
Julio Ferrer Argentina
Julio Manduley Panamá
Julio Muñoz Rubio México
Katiuska Blanco Cuba
Katiuska García Alonso Cuba
Katu Arkonada País Vasco/Bolivia
Laritza González Achón Cuba
Laura Encinas Bolivia
Lautaro Chanove Bolivia
León Moraria Venzuela
Leonel Nodal Álvarez Cuba
Lidia Fagale Argentina
Lilian Vega El Salvador
Liliam Álvarez Navarrete
Lino Morán Venezuela
Liseth Ortuño Bolivia
Lois Pérez Leira España
Lourdes Cervantes Cuba
Lourdes Garzón México
Luciano Andrés Valencia Argentina
Luciano Concheiro Bórquez Mexico
Luciano Vasapollo Italia
Lucio Triolo Italia
Lucrecia D’Agostino Argentina
Luis Arce Catacora Bolivia
Luis Arce Catacora, Bolivia
Luis Baudoin Olea Bolivia
Luis Britto García Venezuela
Luis Carlos Marrero Chasbar Cuba
Luis Edgar Páez Venezuela
Luis Ernesto Quesada Cuba
Luis Felipe Vázquez Vázquez Cuba
Luís H. Vignolo Uruguay
Luís H. Vignolo Uruguay
Luis Hernández Navarro México
Luis Morado Argentina
Luis Sexto Cuba
Luis Zorraquino Brasil
Magdalena Gómez México
Manolo Monereo España
Manuel Cabieses Donoso Chile
Marcelo Colussi Argentina/Guatemala
Marco A. Gandásegui Panamá
Marcos Roitman Rosenmann México
Mareelen Díaz Tenorio Cuba
Marga Herrera Aguirre
María Augusta Calle Ecuador
María Bolivia Rothe Bolivia
María del Pilar Muñiz López
María Esther Aguirre México
María Eugenia Pulido México
Maria Gabriella Italia
Maria Luisa Mendonça Brasil
María Martha González Bolivia
María Nela Prada Bolivia
Maria Nela Prada Tejada Bolivia
María Teresa Díaz Álvarez Cuba
Mariana Espinosa Obarrio Argentina
Mariela Flores Torres Argentina
Marilia Guimaraes Brasil
Marina Rossi Italia
Marina Taibo México
Mario Augusto Jakobskind Brasil
Mario Fiore Italia
Mario Jorge da Motta Bastos Brasil
Mario López Bolivia
Mario Sanoja. Venezuela
Mario Saucedo Pérez México
Marta Harnecker Chile;
Marta Speroni Argentina
Martin Almada Paraguay
Martin Almada Paraguay;
Martin Schwander Suiza
Maurício Vieira Martins Brasil
Mauro Cristaldi Italia
Max Murillo Mendoza Bolivia
Mayra Godoy Guatemala
Mel Zelaya Honduras
Melissa Arria Venezuela.
Mely González Aróstegui Cuba
Mercè Escayola Cabrejas España
Michael Lebowitz Canadá
Miguel Ángel Herrera C. Costa Rica
Miguel Angel Puigvert Valerio Argentina
Miguel Barnet Cuba;
Miguel Enrique Lagarde Cuba
Miguel Mejides Cuba
Miguel Urbano Rodríguez Portugal
Milagros Rivera Pérez Puerto Rico
Milton Pinheiro Brasil
Mirtha Isabel Tomas Argentina
Mónica Bruckman Brasil
Montserrat Ponsa Tarrés España
Morales Paco César Abraham Mexico
Nardi Suxo Bolivia
Nardi Suxo Bolivia;
Nayar López Castellanos México
Nelson Aguilar Bolivia
Nestor Kohan Argentina
Nila Heredia Bolivia
Nils Castro Panamá
Norbert Froufe González España
Norberto Vilar Argentina
Norma Núñez Montoto Panamá
Obispo Raúl Vera México
Octavio Rodríguez Araújo México
Olmer Torrejón Alcoba Bolivia
Omar González Cuba
Omelio Esteban Borroto Leiseca Cuba
Óscar Adolfo Suárez Morales
Oscar Guerrero Bolivia
Oscar Kuperman Argentina
Oscar Oramas Oliva Cuba
Oscar Ugarteche México
Pablo González Casanova, México
Pablo Guayasamín Ecuador
Pablo Kunich Venezuela
Pablo Navarrete Reino Unido
Paco Guardeño Sáez España
Paco Ignacio Taibo México
Paloma Saiz México
Paola Tiberi Italia
Pascual Serrano España
Patricia Rodas Honduras
Patricia Vaca Bolivia
Patricia Villegas Colombia/Venezuela
Patricio Montesinos España
Patxi Erdozain Beroiz País Vasco
Paul-Emile Dupret Bélgica
Paulino Núñez Venezuelal
Pavel Égüez Ecuador
Pedro de la Hoz Cuba
Pedro Gellert México
Pedro Hernández México
Pedro Marcel Oliva Estofan
Pedro Pablo Rodríguez Cuba
Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy Guatemala/Cuba
Peter Rosset México
Piedad Córdoba Colombia
Piero Arria Venezuela
Pierre Mouterde Canadá
Pilar Roca Perú
Pocho Álvarez Ecuador
Porfirio Martínez México
Rafael Cancel Miranda Puerto Rico
Rafael Cancel Miranda Puerto Rico
Ramón Mier García México
Ramón Pedregal Casanova España
Rashid Sherif Túnez
Raúl Antonio Capote Cuba
Raúl García Linera Bolivia
Raúl Miranda Ocampo Mexico
Raúl Pérez Torres Ecuador
Raúl Pérez Torres Ecuador
Raúl Zibechi Uruguay
Rebeca Peralta Mariñelarena México
Rene Peres Bolivia
Reverendo Raúl Suarez Cuba;
Reynaldo Naranjo Perú
Ricardo Acuña Gómez Reino Unido
Ricardo Bajo Bolivia
Ricardo Cohen Uruguay
Ricardo Flecha Hermosa Paraguay
Ricardo Gayol Rodríguez España
Rigoberto Lopéz Cuba
Rina Bertaccini Argentina
Rita Martufi Italia
Robert Austin Australia
Roberto Ávila Toledo Chile
Roberto Battiglia Italia
Roberto Burgos Colombia
Roberto Fernández Retamar Cuba
Roberto Leher Brasil
Roberto Núñez Cuba
Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras Cuba
Rodrigo Loyola Chile
Rogelio Rodríguez Coronel Cuba
Roger Olmedo Bolivia
Roque Aparecido da Silva Brasil
Rosa Cristina Báez Valdés Cuba
Rosa Miriam Elizalde Cuba
Rosario Arroyo Perú
Rosina Valcárcel Perú
Roy Chaderton Matos Venezuela
Ruth Cartaya Suecia-Venezuela
Sacha Llorenti Bolivia
Salim Lamrani Francia
Samir Amin Egipto;
Santiago Alba Rico España
Sara Rosenberg Argentina/ España
Sergio Argüello Guatemala
Sergio Arria Venezuela
Sergio Guerra Vilaboy Cuba
Sergio Serrano Soriano México
Silvia Tamez México
Silvio Rodríguez Cuba
Silvya de Alarcón Bolivia
Simona Yagenova Guatemala
Socorro Gomes Brasil
Sonia Quiroga Bolivia
Stella Calloni Argentina
Susana Molina Suárez Cuba
Susana Oviedo Rosales España
Susana Rodríguez Venezuela
Tania Jamardo Faillace Brasil
Tania Temoche Perú
Techi Cusmanich Paraguay
Telma Luzzani Argentina
Teófilo Gutiérrez Perú
Teresa Toca México
Thalía Muklan Fung Riverón Cuba
Thelvia Marín Mederos Cuba
Theotonio Dos Santos Brasil
Urda Alice Klueger Brasil
Veronika Engler Uruguay
Víctor García Calvo España
Víctor Hugo Parés Lores Cuba
Víctor Regalado El Salvador
Víctor Ríos España
Víctor Vacaflores Bolivia
Victoria Fernández Bolivia
Virginia Fontes Argentina
Virginia Gutiérrez Argentina
Vivian Prado Bolivia
Viviana Ramírez Australia
Walter García Bolivia
Walter Martínez Venezuela
Win Dierckersen Costa Rica
Winston Orrillo Perú
Yamandú Acosta Uruguay
Yasser Gómez Perú
Yemil Antonio Harcha Chile
Yolanda Añasco Ecuador
Yolanda Rojas Urbina Venezuela
Zulema Hidalgo Cuba
Organizations and institutions:
Organización de Solidaridad con los pueblos de África, Asia y América Latina, Cuba
Partido Comunista Revolucionario, Uruguay
Tricontinental Internacional de la Solidaridad, Venezuela
Unión Provincial de Organizaciones Campesina de Manabí, Ecuador
Movimiento Autónomo Utopía e Luta Porto Alegre Brasil
Movimiento Mexicano de Solidaridad con Palestina México
Movimiento Tzuk Kim-pop Guatemala
Grupo de Reflexión y Solidaridad Oscar Arnulfo Romero Cuba
Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina México
Casal de Amistad con Cuba de Badalona España
Centro Mandela DD.HH., el Chaco Argentina
Remember When Venezuela and Bolivia Kicked the U.S. DEA Out of Their Countries, Accusing It of Espionage? Looks Like They Were Right…
In their latest article on U.S. government spying for The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras review and publish leaked documents that show that the U.S. government may have used the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to aid the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on U.S. citizens and non-citizens in foreign countries. The NSA is shown to have assisted the DEA with efforts to capture narcotraffickers, but the leaked documents also refer to “a vibrant two-way information sharing relationship” between the two intelligence agencies, implying that the DEA shares its information with the NSA to aid with non-drug-related spying. This may explain how the NSA has gathered not just metadata but also the full-take audio from “virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.”
The authors write,
The DEA has long been in a unique position to help the NSA gain backdoor access to foreign phone networks. “DEA has close relationships with foreign government counterparts and vetted foreign partners,” the manager of the NSA’s drug-war efforts reported in a 2004 memo. Indeed, with more than 80 international offices, the DEA is one of the most widely deployed U.S. agencies around the globe.
But what many foreign governments fail to realize is that U.S. drug agents don’t confine themselves to simply fighting narcotics traffickers. “DEA is actually one of the biggest spy operations there is,” says Finn Selander, a former DEA special agent who works with the drug-reform advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Our mandate is not just drugs. We collect intelligence.”
What’s more, Selander adds, the NSA has aided the DEA for years on surveillance operations. “On our reports, there’s drug information and then there’s non-drug information,” he says. “So countries let us in because they don’t view us, really, as a spy organization.”
While the documents accompanying the article reveal detailed information that has never before been available to the public, this is not the first time that the DEA has faced allegations of spying.
In 2005, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela stopped cooperating with the DEA after accusing it of espionage in his country. At the time, a State Department spokesperson responded by saying, “the accusations that somehow the Drug Enforcement Agency is involved in espionage are baseless. There’s no substance or justification for them.” Using arguments that would change very little over the next nine years, a State Department official said at the time, “I think it’s pretty clear to us that the motivation for this is not the accusation itself or not what they state is the problem. The motivation is an effort to detract from the government’s increasingly deficient record of cooperation.”
Three years later, President Evo Morales expelled the DEA from Bolivia saying, “there were DEA agents who worked to conduct political espionage.” He also said, “we can control ourselves internally. We don’t need any spying from anybody.” The State Department spokesperson said in response, “the charges that have been made are just patently absurd. We reject them categorically”, and the news agency EFE reported that “Washington has repeatedly denied that the DEA has been involved in any activities in Bolivia apart from the war on drugs.”
Few of the press reports from 2005 or 2008 took these accusations seriously, and the State Department dismissed the allegations categorically, but in 2008, CEPR’s co-director Mark Weisbrot wrote that “To the Bolivians, the U.S. is using the “war on drugs” throughout Latin America mainly as an excuse to get boots on the ground, and establish ties with local military and police forces.” To this list, we can now add access to national phone and communication networks, and storage of the content of phone calls.
By Linda C. Farthing and Benjamin H. Kohl
Out now. An accessible account of Evo Morales’s first six years in office, offering analysis of major issues as well as interviews with a wide variety of people, resulting in a valuable primer on Bolivia and Morales’s “process of change”.
In this compelling and comprehensive look at the rise of Evo Morales and Bolivia’s Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), Linda Farthing and Benjamin Kohl offer a thoughtful evaluation of the transformations ushered in by the western hemisphere’s first contemporary indigenous president. Accessible to all readers, Evo’s Bolivia not only charts Evo’s rise to power but also offers a history of and context for the MAS revolution’s place in the rising “pink tide” of the political left. Farthing and Kohl examine the many social movements whose agendas have set the political climate in Bolivia and describe the difficult conditions the administration inherited. They evaluate the results of Evo’s policies by examining a variety of measures, including poverty; health care and education reform; natural resources and development; and women’s, indigenous, and minority rights. Weighing the positive with the negative, the authors offer a balanced assessment of the results and shortcomings of the first six.
On March 11, newly elected President Michelle Bachelet began her inaugural speech by acknowledging her debt to the social movements that propelled her center-left New Majority coalition to victory, on a radical platform that has transformed Chile’s political landscape. Even as they continue to shape the domestic political agenda, activist students, trade unionists, and other civil society and political organizations are also mobilizing to build cross-border solidarity, pressuring Bachelet to ally with other leftist governments in the region.
On February 15, the militant University of Chile Student Federation (FECH)—fresh on the heels of forcing the ouster of Bachelet’s newly-appointed education undersecretary and her replacement with a more politically compatible designee—issued a strong statement critical of Venezuelan students who have spearheaded ongoing protests against the Chavista government of Nicolás Maduro. “We don’t feel represented by the actions of Venezuelan student sectors that are defending the old order, in opposition to the path that the people have defined,” the statement read in part.
Demonstrating at the Venezuelan embassy, representatives of FECH and other student federations emphasized that the middle-class Venezuelan students, unlike their Chilean counterparts, are not demanding educational or other social reforms. Rather, student leaders explained, they are mobilizing against the Chavista government which has advanced the goals of free, public education and democratization of the university, the very issues that Chilean students are fighting for.
To be sure, FECH’s stance is opposed by Chile’s Young Christian Democrats (JDC), student organizations from some private universities, and other dissident factions, who have urged support for the protesters. Some groups, such as the Student Federation of Catholic University (FEUC), have called for protection of Venezuelan students’ rights, while stopping short of endorsing their demands.
The split mirrors divisions within the New Majority coalition itself. Under pressure from FECH and allied student organizations, Bachelet has publicly supported Maduro and the people of Venezuela, calling on all sides to seek a peaceful and democratic resolution to the conflict, while leading Christian Democrats accuse the Venezuelan government of criminalizing and repressing dissent. The recent assassination of a 47-year old Chilean citizen in Venezuela, a Chavista supporter and mother of four, has heightened domestic tensions over the issue. Still, the majority of student organizations continue to emphasize (to both Chilean and foreign media) that their movement has little in common with Venezuela’s student protests.
Following Bachelet’s inaugural ceremony, some 5,000 representatives of student, trade union, community, indigenous, and other civil society organizations assembled at the Teatro Caupolicán in Santiago to welcome Bolivian President Evo Morales with the slogan “Mar para Bolivia!” (“The sea for Bolivia!”). The issue of regaining coastal territory lost to Chile in the 1879 War of Pacific, which left Bolivia landlocked, has long been a rallying point for Bolivia and is now a crusade for the Morales government.
Last year, Morales filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, demanding that Chile negotiate in good faith to provide Bolivia with sovereign access to the Pacific. Morales argues that the 1904 Peace Treaty signed by the two countries was imposed under duress, and should be scrapped or modified. On economic grounds, Bolivia claims that its landlocked status has reduced its GNP by more than $30 billion since 1970, while the mineral-rich ceded territory (now the site of some of the world’s biggest copper mines) has made Chile the wealthiest country in South America.
The dispute has strained relations between the two countries for decades. Ironically, former dictators Augusto Pinochet and Hugo Banzer were on the brink of an agreement in 1975, which derailed when Pinochet demanded territorial compensation from Bolivia in exchange for granting it a sea corridor. A 13-point bilateral agenda developed by Morales and Bachelet during her first term in 2006 was sidelined by her conservative successor, Sebastián Piñera.
Recent efforts to resume dialogue with Bolivia have been spearheaded by Chilean social sectors and political activists. Last April, 57 civil society groups, including the Workers United Center of Chile (CUT, the major national trade union federation) and indigenous Mapuche organizations, signed a letter demanding that Piñera offer Bolivia a constructive proposal. Former Progressive Party presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami, who placed third in the first-round election, visited Morales last month to convey Chilean solidarity and pave the way for the post-inaugural encounter.
Former student leader and newly elected Communist Party congressional deputy Camila Vallejo has been a leading voice pressing the Bachelet government to re-engage with Bolivia. “It’s not about giving away a gift,” she emphasizes. “Bolivia has significant energy (gas) resources and we are, supposedly, in an energy crisis. Why not have a politics of integration and mutual solidarity?”
To the consternation of many, Bachelet—bowing to conservative pressures—announced the day after her inauguration that Chile will not negotiate Bolivia’s sea access while the matter is pending before the International Court. For his part, Morales has refused to abandon Bolivia’s legal claims, leaving civil society activists with a significant role to play in the continuing controversy .
Finally, last December more than 50 Chilean civil society leaders, 15 senators, and 37 congressional deputies signed a public declaration demanding a halt to negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a U.S.-led trade initiative involving a dozen Pacific Rim nations. Activists are demanding increased transparency, as well as protections from trade rules that could undermine national sovereignty over intellectual property rights, access to medicine, capital flow management, and other crucial matters. Bachelet, a strong supporter of free trade, is also an advocate of national sovereignty. Her campaign manager (now finance minister) Alberto Arenas has indicated his support for civil society’s position.
As Bachelet struggles to manage competing ideological tensions within her own New Majority coalition, continuing pressure from Chile’s resurgent social movements on these and other cross-border issues will be critical in positioning Chile within Latin America’s growing political divide.
The Ecuadorian government released a statement on Monday announcing that the country would no longer be collaborating with USAID, a US agency for International development.
The Ministry for International Development (SETECI) released a statement explaining the decision to cut ties with USAID. “The last bilateral cooperation programme between Ecuador and the US was signed in 2007 and the projects resulting from this collaboration are now finishing. Given that we have not negotiated a new a agreement, SETECI has informed USAID that they cannot carry out any new projects, nor extend the deadlines of projects currently underway.” The statement added that cooperation would remain suspended “until our governments negotiate and sign a new bilateral cooperation agreement”.
According to the SETECI, since 2007, USAID had invested a yearly average of US$32mn in initiatives in Ecuador, the majority of which were implemented by local and international NGOs.
The United States ambassador in Quito also released a statement on the matter, indicating that over the last two years the two countries had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate “an agreement which would allow USAID’s work in Ecuador to continue”. The statement went on to say that due to the “indefinite freeze on USAID activities” implemented by the Ecuadorian government, the organisation would have to cancel four projects which looked to protect the environment and strengthen civil society, and which were currently underway.
In June 2012, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa had threatened to expel USAID from Ecuador after accusing the organisation of giving financial support to opposition groups and getting involved in the country’s internal politics. At the time he said that other countries in the region were also considering ending relations with USAID.
In May 2013, Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled USAID from Bolivia, stating that the agency was conspiring against his government.
This essay will explore the impact that the Cocaleros and Evo Morales have had on Bolivia over the recent history. The impact of the Cocaleros will be shown in their central role in establishing a platform for Morales to rise to prominence on. Morales’s impact will be explored through examination of specific changes enacted in his time as President, specifically establishing a new constitution, reforming extraction of Bolivia’s vast gas reserves and reforms related to the coca plant. To begin certain contextual factors of Morales’s changes will be established.
Bolivia’s history is one of exploitation, whether it be the colonial Spanish exploitation of the vast silver deposits of Potosi’s Cerro Rico in the Sixteenth Century, or the exploitation of the vast natural gas reserves by multinational corporations (MNCs) throughout the late 1980s and 1990s (Artaraz, 2012). The historically continuous exploitation of Bolivia’s vast natural resource wealth has been felt by the Bolivian people as a lack of sovereignty (Dangl, 2007; Artaraz, 2012). Politics in Bolivia since the foundation of the republic in 1825 has proved difficult (Dunkerley, 2007). An incomplete revolution in 1952 was defeated by a military coup in 1964, by 1982 democracy had formally been re-established, however political power was concentrated in the hands of a minority elite, unrepresentative of the vast majority of Bolivians (Dunkerley, 2007; Morales, 2011; Artaraz, 2012). In response to the unrepresentativeness and corruption that was characteristic of Bolivian politics, especially since 1982, the general attitude of the population to politics was one of dissolution. However, the international perception of Bolivian politics during the 1990s was excellent, Bolivia was seen as a shinning example of neoliberalism, it had opened itself up to MNCs, it had low public spending and it was conforming to US War on Drugs through eradication of the coca crop (Dunkerley, 2007; Klein, 2011). This being said there has always been a strong thread of resistance running through Bolivian society. Emblematic of this until the 1980s were strong trade unions, particularly mining unions, however the closure of tin mines and the loss of over 20,000 jobs in 1985 wrought huge destruction (Dangl, 2007; Klein, 2011). The mining union’s loss was the Cocaleros’ gain as many newly unemployed miners moved east to the Chapare region and took their unionising skills with them (Artaraz, 2012).
The movement of miners to the coca growing area of El Chapare proved hugely significant for Bolivia. The miner’s background in unions helped structure the organisations of Cocaleros and their resistance to law 1008 and the eradication efforts of the government (Crabtree, 2005). The government stepped up eradication policy in 1997 with President Hugo Banzer advocating a ‘zero coca’ policy (Crabtree, 2005, p. 38). Not only attempting to defend their livelihoods the resistance of the Cocaleros was hugely symbolic for two reasons. One, the resistance represented a defence of a traditional Andean symbol – the coca leaf which has been a central symbol of Andean culture for centuries, and two, the fight against US imperialism and defence of Bolivian sovereignty (Crabtree, 2005; Dangl, 2007; Artaraz, 2012). It was through the organisation of the Cocaleros’ resistance that Evo Morales came to prominence, he rose up to become the leader of the largest Cocaleros union (Crabtree, 2011; Artaraz, 2012). The resistance of the Cocaleros transformed into active political participation throughout the 1990s, with a key moment coming in 1994 with the ‘Law of Popular Participation’ (PPL) (Artaraz, 2012, p. 46) being enacted. PPL decentralised power to newly created municipalities, which provided a base for limited representation of local groups (Klein, 2011; Artaraz, 2012). In 1995 the Cocaleros joined with other indigenous social movements to create the ‘Political tool for Sovereignty of Common People (IPSP)’ (Dangl, 2007, p.49). The established political parties and the electoral commission denied recognition of the IPSP as a political party and so the IPSP took on the name of MAS (Movement for Socialism) in 1999 to be able to stand for election (Dangl 2007; Harten, 2011). The notion of a political tool as was the IPSP and MAS is crucial as it demonstrates the bottom-up design of MAS; the primacy of the social movements that make it up – it is for their use, not for politicians (Harten, 2011). MAS is a tool to use not to be used by. The first leader was Evo Morales.
Despite MAS and Morales’s lineage being directly traceable to the Cocaleros, since coming to power in 2005 they have widened their base to include all social and indigenous movements, as well as trying to curry favour with the urban middle class (Harten, 2011). Morales’s skill as a leader, and a central plank of MAS’s electoral success, is his ability to galvanise and shape a vast array of indigenous and social protest movements into a unified political project (Salman, 2007). Like the miner’s influence in organising the Cocaleros, Morales and MAS have taken the general anger and dissatisfaction of a wide array of social/indigenous protest movements and formed them into a coherent political articulation (Salman, 2007).
A key election pledge made by Morales before his victory in 2005 was to write a new constitution to enshrine the rights of the indigenous people of Bolivia, who despite making up the vast majority of the population  have been marginalised in Bolivian politics, and Bolivia in general throughout the country’s history (Artaraz, 2012). The new constitution, which was ratified in January 2009, casts Bolivia as a ‘plurinational’ state (Republica de Bolivia, 2009 in Albro, 2010, p. 78). The plurinational characterisation of the state highlights the rise in stature indigenous groups have experienced alongside the rise of Morales to the Presidency (Albro, 2010; Assies, 2011; Artaraz, 2012). A symbolic – as well as practical – codification of the new constitution is the classification of the coca leaf as not a drug in its natural form, the protection of this central symbol of Andean culture is also a direct challenge to US classification (Assies, 2011). Another strengthening of the legal recognition of indigenous people is shown in the codification of Andean ethics – ‘ama qhilla, ama llulla, ama suwa (don’t be lazy, don’t lie, and don’t be a thief)’ (Assies, 2011, p. 112); the new Bolivian constitution is not just a document to rule by, it is a document to live by – crucially an Andean indigenous life. The representation of indigenous groups by the constitution is also reflected in Morales himself as he straddles the two most prominent indigenous identities, the Aymara and the Quechua (Crabtree, 2011); his family background is Aymara, but he grew up within a Quechuan area and so is a potent figure for the raised stature of Bolivia’s indigenous population. Whilst physically embodying the indigenous identities of Bolivia, Morales’s politics are also of an indigenous nature, which can be classified as ‘sindicato democracy’ (Conzelman, 2010, p. 5). This is a democracy typified by high levels of direct community accountability; a focus on consensus; individual responsibility to the community; subordination of the individual to the community; economics that work for the community (Conzelman, 2010). The sindicato democracy of Morales, in the language of the liberal democratic tradition he has widened and strengthened the public sphere, he has established a non-exclusionary public sphere, he has empowered civil society (Fraser, 1997; Albro, 2010; Conzelman, 2010; Artaraz, 2012). As noted above, there has always been a strong theme of resistance in Bolivian politics, occurring within civil society, but the codification of indigenous rights within the new constitution has undoubtedly strengthened civil society (Assies, 2011). The pre-eminence of indigenous identity in the new constitution evidences the strengthening of sovereignty of Bolivia, it also points to the reclamation of Bolivia for Bolivians, what Postero (2010, p.19) has called ‘indigenous nationalism’, which is emblematic of Morales’s political project.
A significant sign of Morales’s impact since coming to power can be seen in the nationalisation of Bolivia’s vast reserves of natural gas (Kaup, 2010; Sivak, 2011). However this was not a total/traditional nationalisation, but a renegotiation of contracts between the state and MNCs (Kohl, 2010; Sivak, 2011). The state raised taxation and royalties charged to the companies from 18 per cent to 50 per cent, and in some particularly significant gas fields to 82 per cent for a short time, this initial extra rise was in order to recapitalise the state’s gas company YPFB (Kaup, 2010). What this demonstrates then is not a full or traditional nationalisation, but a significant imposition of the state within the economy – state capitalism rather than full socialism. The profits derived from the renegotiated contracts have been channelled into social welfare programmes such as education and health care (Kohl, 2010; Kaup, 2010; Crabtree, 2011).
The semi-nationalisation of gas, and the increased role of the state within the economy, points to the sindicato style of Morales’s political project. In this sense the economy is seen to work for the nation, profit for the community rather than individual profit. There has been criticism of this approach both from the left and right (Kaup, 2010). From the left are claims that Morales has not gone far enough, and that Bolivian gas should be totally nationalised (Kohl. 2010; Kaup, 2010). Bolivia’s contract with Brazil, which relies on Bolivian gas for up to 50 per cent of its total consumption, stipulates that 65 per cent of all daily Bolivian production be sent to Brazil (La Razón, 2007 in Kaup, 2010). Critics on the right claim that the sharp rise in rents charged by the State will discourage new investment and stifle current work, similar criticism is levelled at the use of the revenue for social programmes, arguing for its re-investment in the gas industry (Kaup, 2010). This demonstrates the tightrope that Morales must walk and his pragmatism in walking it. Regardless of criticism of Morales’s semi-nationalisation of gas, it has undoubtedly increased Bolivian sovereignty over one of its key natural resources and reduced the exploitation of the country by foreign actors; it has also greatly increased social welfare programmes that are vital in reducing social inequalities.
Another example of Morales’s pragmatism and the unique middle way between capitalism and socialism is the codification of private property and land laws set out in the 2009 constitution. Protection of private property is conditional on it having a ‘social-economic function’ (Assies, 2011, p. 115). Property must work for society, again evidencing the shift in relationship between the nation/civil society and the economy. Unlike in the neoliberal ideology where the economy is predominant to all other sectors of society, a predominance which is based upon the ultimate protection of private property and the rule of law, the social function required of private property in the 2009 Bolivian constitution predominates the social over the economic/legal (Plant, 2010; Wolff, 2013). In short the social-economic function demanded of private property points to a central theme of change under Morales, the subordination of the ‘rule of law’ to ‘the rule of the people’ (Wolff, 2013, p. 46). This subordination is unsurprising as it follows the logic of sindicato democracy. The fundamental nature of Bolivian politics has changed since Morales’s came to power. Under his Presidency the country has seen a diminishing of liberal political traits and a rise of what Wolff (2013) calls ‘post-liberal democracy’ (p.31), or as has been the case throughout the text sindicato democracy. The decline in the institutional role of traditional political organs such as the executive, judiciary ect. is reflected in the rise of participation outside of institutional boundaries seen in mobilisations rather than institutional participation through traditional methods – joining a political party (Wolff, 2013). To put it simply the post-liberal/sindicato democracy stemming from Morales’s rule is a much raw-er, more direct and less institutionally confined form of governance.
Whilst certainly not traditionally socialist, the political project embarked upon by Morales since his rise through the coca unions is one that can be characterised by its anti-neoliberal, perceptibly anti-American imperialistic neoliberalism (Sivak, 2011). Bolivia now does not receive any new loans from either the IMF or the World Bank, a sign of the rejection of the neoliberal conditions that these loans are based on and increased sovereignty of the country (Dangl, 2007; Sivak, 2011). A specific example of the rejection of American led policy, outside of the change in approach to coca growing, is seen in Morales’s decision to leave the ‘Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)’ (Sivak, 2011, p. 145) which is a free trade agreement used by the US to exercise influence and stifle the growth of regional trade blocs that could potentially damage US business interests in the area. Relatedly Bolivia’s joining of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) and the People’s Trade Agreement (PTA) with Cuba and Venezuela can be seen to represent – in one instance – anti-American/anti-neoliberal policies (Dangl, 2007; Sivak, 2011). The PTA is a good example of the sindicato theme of Morales in that it is based on mutually beneficial trade, something that cannot be said of FTAA (Dangl, 2007).
Morales’s close link to coca has had a key structuring effect on his politics. Whilst rising to a position of power through the coca grower’s unions, since becoming President he has pursued a surprising policy approach to coca (Dangl, 2007; Sivak, 2011; Artaraz, 2012). His approach may be taken as another example of his pragmatism, or the reformist nature of Morales and MAS as opposed to revolutionary (Webber, 2010). On the one hand Morales has been sympathetic to his Cocaleros roots in that he has codified coca as not a drug, in its natural form, in the 2009 constitution (Assies, 2011). Morales has greatly expanded the internal, legal, market for coca, which has greatly benefited small farmers as it has widened their platform to sell their crops (Dangl, 2007; Kohl, 2010). Eradication initiatives whilst still in place have been qualitatively changed, no longer are they violent and forced but are now voluntary and achieved through social control when a farmer grows over the 1,600m2legal limit (Dangl, 2007; Sivak, 2011). The change in the nature of eradication has vastly reduced the violence in the El Chapare region (Dangl, 2007). However, it is the fact that eradication efforts are still in place that has surprised many. Morales has focused his anti-coca policy on combating coca farming for cocaine production, but despite this the US since the Bush administration has continued to withhold certification of Bolivia as an ally in the War on Drugs (Sivak, 2011). Most significantly, despite winning consecutive elections with an increased majority, Morales has not repealed law 1008, the US-backed drug laws that have been shown to disproportionately affect small scale farmers as opposed to growers of coca for cocaine (Crabtree, 2005; Dangl, 2007).
Whilst not impacting as significantly as expected on coca laws, Morales has undeniably impacted on Bolivia. A concrete manifestation of his impact is the 2009 constitution, which primarily codified the rights of indigenous people, it has raised their stature in the country and it is hard to envisage it ever declining. The nature of democracy has changed vastly; Morales has overseen a drastic shift from neoliberalism to Andean sindicato democracy, which has reversed the dominance of the economy and put civil society, the citizens in charge. The empowering of the nation is also clearly seen in the semi-nationalisation of Bolivia’s gas reserves, and the new mutually beneficial trade alliances with other Latin American countries. The exploitation that has characterised Bolivian history since it’s colonisation is rapidly declining. Morales has facilitated ownership of Bolivia for Bolivians and is a shinning example of the strengthening of indigenous people.
This essay has traced the impact of the Cocaleros and Evo Morales on Bolivia by first establishing context. The impact of the Cocaleros was seen in that it was here that Morales began to climb the ladder to presidency. The Cocaleros were also crucial to the formation of MAS, which has now become the dominant force in Bolivian politics. Morales’s impact has been specifically outlined in the reforms to the gas contracts, the change enacted in coca eradication, the writing of a new constitution, and a fundamental change to the nature of Bolivian politics. Whilst the essay has focused primarily on Morales he would undoubtedly not be where he is today without the Cocaleros organisations, ironically the neoliberalism that has been severely diminished by Morales and MAS played a central factor in strengthening the Cocaleros unions which provided the platform for the progress of MAS and Morales.
Albro, R. (2010) Confounding Cultural Citizenship and Constitutional Reform in Bolivia. Latin American Perspectives. 37 (3) pp: 71 – 90.
Artaraz, K. (2012) Bolivia: Refounding the nation. Pluto Press, London.
Assies, W. (2011) Bolivia’s new constitution and its implications. In: Pearce, A. J. (ed) (2011) Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The first term in context, 2006 – 2010. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. pp: 93 – 116.
Conzelman, C. S. (2010) Agrarian Sindicato Democracy and Evo Morales’ new coca leaf politics: An Anthropological Perspective on Bolivian Strategic Culture. Florida International University: Applied Research Centre. [Online] Available: < http://strategicculture.fiu.edu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=tLdP8tRmruY%3D&tabid=95> Accessed: 18/04/2013.
Crabtree, J. (2005) Patterns of Protest: Politics and Social Movements in Bolivia. Latin American Bureau, London.
Crabtree, J. (2011) Electoral validation for Morales and the MAS (1999 – 2010). In: Pearce, A. J. (ed) (2011) Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The first term in context, 2006 – 2010. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. pp: 117 – 142.
Dangl, B. (2007) The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. Ak Press, Edinburgh.
Dunkerley, J. (2007) Evo Morales, the ‘Two Bolivias’ and the Third Bolivian Revolution. Journal of Latin American Studies. 39 (1) pp: 133 – 166.
Fraser, N. (1997) Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the “Postsocialist” Condition. Routledge, London.
Harten, S. (2011) Towards a ‘traditional party’? Internal organisation and change in the MAS in Bolivia. In: Pearce, A. J. (ed) (2011) Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The first term in context, 2006 – 2010. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. pp: 63 – 91.
Hylton, F. (2006) The Landslide in Bolivia: Introduction to Alvaro Garcia Linera. New Left Review. 37 pp: 69 – 72.
Kaup, B. Z. (2010) A Neoliberal Nationalisation? The Constraints on Natural-Gas-Led Development in Bolivia. Latin American Perspectives. 37 (3) pp: 123 – 138.
Klein, H. S. (2011) The Historical Background to the rise of MAS, 1952 – 2005. In: Pearce, A. J. (ed) (2011) Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The first term in context, 2006 – 2010. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. pp: 27 – 61.
Kohl, B. (2010) Bolivian under Morales: A work in Progress. Latin American Perspectives. 37 (3) pp: 107 – 122.
Morales, W. Q. (2011) From Revolution to Revolution: Bolivia’s National Revolution and the “Re-Founding” Revolution of Evo Morales. Latin Americanist. 55 (1) pp: 131 – 144.
Postero, N. (2010) Morales’s MAS Government: Building Indigenous Popular Hegemony in Bolivia. Latin American Perspectives. 37 (3) pp: 18 – 37.
Plant, R. (2010) The Neo-Liberal State. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Salman, T. (2007) Bolivia and the Paradox of Democratic Consolidation. Latin American Perspectives. 34 (6) pp: 111 – 130.
Sivak, M. (2011) The Bolivianisation of Washington – La Paz relations: Evo Morales’ foreign policy agenda in historical context. In: Pearce, A. J. (ed) (2011) Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The first term in context, 2006 – 2010. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. pp: 143 – 173.
Webber, J. R. (2010) Carlos Mesa, Evo Morales, and a divided Bolivia (2003 – 2005). Latin American Perspectives. 37 (3) pp: 51 – 70.
Wolff, J. (2013) Towards Post-Liberal Democracy in Latin America? A Conceptual Framework Applied to Bolivia. Journal of Latin American Studies. 45 (1) pp: 31 – 59.
 Coca farmers
 Passed in 1988, bringing various US influenced anti-drug laws together and setting a maximum area for coca growing (Crabtree, 2005).
 MAS was a defunct party in all but name (Harten, 2011)
 Morales won an unprecedented absolute majority in the Presidential election of December 2005, winning in total 54% of the vote (Hylton, 2006).
 ‘Nearly 62% of its [Bolivia] people are native speakers of an indigenous language’ (INE, 2003; World Bank, 2008 in Postero, 2010, p. 19).
- No Love For McDonald’s In Globalization-Wary Bolivia (mintpressnews.com)
- Evo Morales: No Need for US Embassy in Bolivia (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Bolivia: New Factory to Make Coca Products for Medicinal Use (alethonews.wordpress.com)
As the international uproar continues over last week’s grounding of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane in Europe, after U.S. officials apparently suspected whistle-blower Edward Snowden of being on board, many questions remain unanswered about the United States’ role and motives.
But one thing is certain: if the U.S. government was seeking to intimidate Morales and other Latin American leaders who might consider harboring Snowden, its strategy has completely backfired. Instead, the incident has bolstered Morales’s domestic and international standing, consolidated regional unity, and emboldened the bloc of leftist governments that seeks to counter U.S. dominance in the region. It has also dealt a damaging, and potentially fatal, blow to the future of U.S.–Latin American relations under the Obama administration.
The crisis was set off by Morales’s statement on July 2 in Russia, where he was attending an energy conference, that he would be willing to consider a petition by Snowden for asylum. Later that evening, on his return flight to Bolivia, Morales’s plane was denied entry into the airspace of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, forcing it to make an unscheduled landing in Vienna where it was diverted for 13 hours before receiving clearance to proceed.
In response to Bolivia’s persistent questioning, the four European countries have offered equivocal and somewhat contradictory—if not preposterous—explanations for their actions. France, which has apologized to Morales, says it didn’t realize that the Bolivian president was on the presidential jet. Portugal, originally scheduled as a refueling stop, says its airport wasn’t capable of servicing the plane. Italy now completely denies having closed its airspace.
Spain, after initially attributing the problem to the expiration of its flyover permit during Morales’s unexpected layover in Austria, later admitted that the United States had asked it to block the flight (although the United States has not acknowledged any role in the incident). At first, Spanish officials also claimed that the plane was searched for Snowden in Vienna at the behest of the United States—an action which, if taken without Bolivia’s permission, would constitute a violation of international law even more egregious than the denial of airspace to the presidential jet.
More recently, Spain has insisted (and Bolivia concurs) that it ultimately granted airspace permission upon Bolivia’s written assurance that Snowden was not on board the plane. Spain, which has sought to improve economic relations with Bolivia after being hit hard by Morales’s nationalization of its airport management and electric companies, has also offered to apologize.
The apparent willingness of four European governments to put U.S. interests ahead of international law and Bolivia’s rights as a sovereign nation—despite themselves being victimized by illegal U.S. spying activities—stands in sharp contrast to Latin America, where the detention of an indigenous president is seen as the latest grievance in a long history of colonial and imperial transgressions. Bolivian Vice President Alvaro García Linera has denounced the incident as an imperial “kidnapping.”
For many Bolivians, the episode is viewed as a deliberate effort by the U.S. government to punish Morales for his persistent anti-U.S. rhetoric and actions, including the expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2008, and, most recently, USAID. It also strikes a special nerve since the United States hosts, and has refused to extradite, some of Bolivia’s most wanted criminals, including neoliberal ex-president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (Goni), facing charges of genocide in connection with the killing of 67 indigenous protesters during the 2003 “Gas Wars.”
Within hours of Morales’s detention, other leftist Latin American governments rallied in outraged solidarity with Bolivia. Argentine President Cristina Fernández labeled the incident “a remnant of the colonialism we thought had been overcome.” Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa tweeted, “We are all Bolivia!”
Along with expressions of support from ALBA, CELAC, Mercosur, and other regional blocs, UNASUR issued a statement condemning the action on July 4, signed by six heads of state (Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Suriname) who attended an emergency meeting. Governments from across the region’s political spectrum (including Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Chile) closed ranks behind Morales.
On July 9, the OAS issued a consensus resolution expressing solidarity with Morales and demanding apologies and explanations from the four European nations (but not the United States.) Internationally, more than 100 UN member nations have collectively denounced the incident, bolstering Bolivia’s complaint before the UN High Commission on Human Rights.
The provocative detention of Morales undoubtedly precipitated the decision of three leftist Latin American governments—Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua (conditionally)—to offer asylum to Snowden, in open defiance of the United States. As journalist Stephen Kinzer has noted, with the U.S./ European rogue actions converting Snowden into a Latin American hero, the offer of asylum is politically popular in the region. This sentiment also stems from the regional legacy of dictatorship and political persecution, including the personal experiences of many leftist leaders. As Uruguayan President José Mujica (a former Tupamaro guerrilla) declared, “To all of us who have been persecuted, the right to asylum is sacred and must be defended.”
Broad regional support also makes it easier for any country offering shelter to Snowden to resist U.S. demands for extradition. As well, the mounting evidence of U.S. pressure on European and Latin American countries to deny sanctuary or transit assistance to Snowden, interfering with their sovereign decision-making processes, strengthens the case for asylum, legally and politically. U.S. officials have made it clear that any country aiding Snowden will be made to suffer, putting relations with the United States “in a very bad place for a long time to come.”
Still, in a region that remains heavily dependent on U.S. trade, the threat of U.S. retaliation through economic sanctions will be a major factor in the asylum calculus for any government, as illustrated by the recent case of Ecuador. After initially championing Snowden’s cause and apparently aiding his transit from Hong Kong to Moscow, Correa suddenly backed off after a phone call from Joe Biden, saying that Biden’s concerns were “worth considering.” While Correa has defiantly renounced Ecuador’s long-standing U.S. trade preferences as an instrument of “political blackmail,” he apparently hopes to replace them with an alternative set of duty-free waivers under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, an option that could be jeopardized by an asylum offer.
Similar considerations will no doubt be of concern to Venezuela and Bolivia, should either of their asylum offers materialize into reality (a complex proposition, given the many obstacles to achieving Snowden’s safe transit). While political relations between these countries and the United States have been polarized for some time—with the U.S. government still failing to recognize Nicolás Maduro’s April election—Venezuela still exports 40% of its oil to U.S. markets, and the United States remains as Bolivia’s third largest trading partner (after Brazil and Argentina). Bolivia also enjoys some of the same GSP trade preferences that Ecuador is seeking, which cover around 50% of its U.S. exports.
Still, the incident has greatly strengthened both Morales and Maduro domestically and internationally, corroborating their anti-imperialist worldviews. For Morales—newly characterized by García Linera as the “leader of the anti-imperialist presidents and peoples of the world”—the wave of solidarity responding to his personal victimization has consolidated his political popularity in a pre-election year. Recalling the 2002 presidential election when the U.S. Ambassador’s negative comments about candidate Morales catapulted him unexpectedly into second place, García Linera jokes that Obama has become Morales’s new campaign manager.
For Maduro, whose asylum offer is being promoted by Russia, the opportunity to champion Snowden’s cause and challenge the United States on a world stage, with substantial regional support, has allowed him to genuinely reclaim Hugo Chávez’s anti-imperialist mantle. “It provides the perfect opportunity for Maduro…to figure internationally, to show that he is a player among the big powers…and that he’s capable of challenging the United States,” says political analyst Eduardo Semetei.
In terms of overall U.S.-Latin American relations, the episode could be a defining moment for the Obama administration. As Kinzer notes, the downing of Morales’s jet may have reflected a genuine U.S. effort to capture Snowden—as opposed to a shot across the bow to intimidate Snowden’s potential supporters—but even so, the depth of misunderstanding as to how the incident would resonate in Latin America is telling. New daily revelations from Snowden’s data trove about massive U.S. spying programs in the region are adding fuel to the fire, further strengthening the leftist popular bloc—and confirming Glenn Greenwald’s assessment that the U.S. government has been its own worst enemy throughout this entire episode. It is difficult to imagine how the Obama administration can recover the region’s trust any time soon.
Spain has apologized to Bolivia for its parts in the recent incident, in which Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was forbidden to fly over some European countries on the rumors that US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard.
Ambassador Angel Vazquez delivered on Monday the official apology to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry in La Paz.
Varquez gave a statement acknowledging an “apology for the obstacle and the hardships caused to the president.”
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all refused to allow Morales’ plane, which was flying home on July 2 from Moscow, to cross their airspace.
The presidential plane was forced to land in Vienna, Austria where it was searched by authorities on false rumors that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board.
The Bolivian Foreign Ministry accused the Europeans of bowing to US pressure when it banned Morales’ plane.
After the incident, Morales revealed that Spain’s ambassador to Austria had tried to conduct a search of the aircraft.
“We recognize publicly that perhaps the procedures used in the Vienna airport by our representative were not the most effective,” said Vaszquez.
“We regret this fact … the procedure was not appropriate and bothered the president (Morales), putting him in a difficult situation.”
The incident also caused strong condemnation from several countries in Latin American, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who called it a “provocation” that concerned” all of Latin America.”
Meanwhile, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have all offered asylum to Snowden, who is holed up at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23, when he landed in Russia from Hong Kong.
South American countries belonging to the Mercosur trade bloc have decided to withdraw their ambassadors for consultations from European countries involved in the grounding of the Bolivian president’s plane.
“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales,” explained Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who revealed some of the agenda debated during the 45th summit of Mercosur countries in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.
The decision to recall European ambassadors was taken by Maduro, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, and Uruguay’s President, Jose Mujica, during the meeting.
Member states attending the summit expressed their grievances with “actions by the governments of France, Spain, Italy and Portugal” over the July 2 incident, when the aircraft carrying President Evo Morales back to Bolivia after attending an energy summit in Moscow was denied entry into the airspace of a number of EU member states.
The small aircraft, which required a stop-over before completing its flight, was forced to make an emergency landing in Austria after a circuitous flight path.
It was later revealed that the European countries’ actions were prompted by accusations made by the US ambassador to Austria, William Eacho, who alleged that American whistleblower Edward Snowden had been taken on board to help him gain political asylum in Latin America.
“The gravity of the incident – indicative of a neocolonial mindset – constitutes an unfriendly and hostile act, which violates human rights and impedes freedom of travel, as well as the treatment and immunity appropriate to a head of state,” the Mercosur nations affirmed in the joint statement.
The incident was further described as a “discriminatory and arbitrary” decision by European countries, as well as a “blatant violation of international law.”
Those of us who have been saying that the US has become a weak, or at least more ordinary power among many in the world because of its military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and because of its economic decline, will have to recalibrate our analysis after watching the pathetic behavior of the leaders of Russia, Germany and France under pressure from the Obama administration not to allow Edward Snowden to gain asylum in those countries or even to escape his purgatory in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
Last night, in an astonishing display of fawning obedience to the demands of US leaders, France and Germany first announced that they would not grant asylum to Snowden, despite broad popular support by French and German people for such an offer of aid to the embattled whistleblower. Then, France and Portugal abruptly refused to allow a Bolivian aircraft carrying the country’s president, Evo Morales, from a state visit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, to land for refueling in their countries, saying that they were concerned he might be flying Snowden to asylum in Bolivia.
Although Spain said eventually it would allow the Morales plane to refuel in the Canary Islands, it did not have enough fuel to get there and had to be diverted to Vienna, where, astonishingly, it was then searched like a drug-smuggling flight over Bolivian protests. Snowden was not aboard. A furious Morales immediately blamed the US Department of State for the whole incident — a charge that no one has disputed, though of course the US is refusing to comment.
Aircraft carrying national leaders have absolute diplomatic immunity under international law and moreover, Bolivia would have the absolute right to grant Snowden amnesty, and to bring him to its territory, whether or not he had a valid passport. As the leader of a sovereign nation, Morales has every right to carry anyone he wants on his plane with him back to his country.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, forced under US pressure to land in Vienna to have his returning plane searched for Snowden, calls the blocking of his flight from Russia to Bolivia a “kidnapping,” and “act of aggression” and an “offense against all the whole Latin region.”
That France, Portugal and Austria would so violate such basic diplomatic rules suggests that the US (which of course has long demonstrated that it views diplomatic rules and international law as applying only to others, but not itself) has some powerful leverage to exert behind the scenes. The more so because this whole incident makes leaders like French President Francois Hollande, who only the day before had suggested his country might consider Snowden’s asylum appeal, look foolish, and because this aggressive and hostile action taken against the leader of a sovereign nation makes France, as well as Portugal and Italy, look pathetic and ridiculous at a time that public sentiment across Europe is solidly in support of Snowden. (An activist friend in Germany reports that sentiment there in support of Snowden and even of granting him asylum is “probably at about 80%,” and that is probably also true in France.)
This latest incident, which has incredibly not been protested either by Russia’s Putin, from whose country the disrupted flight originated, and who was Morales’ official host, also exposes Putin and Russia as being under America’s thumb. Who could have imagined Putin allowing a meeting of leaders in his own country to be so shamed by US intervention involving diversion and impoundment of a foreign leader’s return flight home without a loud protest and even some counter action. At a minimum the US ambassador should have been called in to be tongue-lashed by the Russian president. Yet even Russian state television station RT-TV, in its report on the halting of Morales’ plane and the unprecedented search of a state leader’s plane in Austria, carried no comment from Putin or the Russian government on the insult and outrage.
Has the US, with its incomprehensibly massive spy network, just demonstrated that it now has a power greater than its nuclear arsenal: a dossier perhaps on almost every leader in the world with which it is able to blackmail even the likes of Hollande, Merkel and Putin? It is hard to come up with another explanation for the way this incident played out.
We will have to see now whether Morales, a popular leader from an impoverished indigenous background who is clearly no coward and who is probably too clean to be blackmailed, will make good on his assertion made in Moscow that Snowden would be welcome in Bolivia. Russia could recover a modicum of its self-respect by flying him there on a Russian plane to avoid similar US-orchestrated interference. Venezuela’s new president, Nicolás Maduro, who has also spoken favorably of granting asylum status to the National Security Agency whistleblower, should also step up at this point. Since he is still in Russia, he could offer to bring Snowden back home with him, and dare the nations of Europe to try and stop him.
Europeans are pissed off already at the US, in the wake of National Security Agency leaker Snowden’s latest revelation that the US was aggressively spying on its European allies, both at their and the European Union’s embassies in Washington, and in Europe itself, gleaning not information about terrorism, but inside-track knowledge about trade negotiation positions and other areas of disagreement or negotiation.
Leaders in Germany, France, Italy, and other European countries are demanding that the US cease its spying on them, and give a “full accounting” of the spying that it has been engaging in. But given the steady stream of lies coming from the NSA, the Obama Administration, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other American sources, why should they believe anything they are being told? Most Europeans understand now that all this bluster from their leaders is just that: bluster.
Europe’s leaders have shown themselves to their own people to be sell-outs in the pocket of the US. As several commenters on the website of the German magazine Der Spiegel, which last week ran a cover expose about the NSA spying program directed against European leaders, have written, Germany’s and France’s leaders have sold out their countries and people by caving in to US demands. As one person wrote: “Our government has sold us out and is beyond help.”
To be sure there was a wave of tough talk only days earlier, with, for example, Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, saying that the NSA is like the Soviet-era KGB, and with leaders of countries like Ireland and Norway saying that they might consider amnesty for Snowden, but only if he could reach their soil first — a ludicrous requirement, since there is no international law requiring such silliness. Any country can grant asylum to any person it wishes, wherever that person may be at the moment. They cannot offer protection, of course, except in an embassy or in-country, but that’s different from just offering a grant of amnesty. Indeed, the mere fact that the US has cancelled Snowden’s passport doesn’t mean his passport cannot be respected as a travel document by another country. How, in fact, when you think about it, would a country know that a person’s passport had been “cancelled” unless the issuing nation had issued some kind of news release about it as the US did in Snowden’s case? There’s no international registry of global passports. Those records are held closely by each country and in fact are supposed to be secure. Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Norway, Ireland or any other country that had said at any point that it would be willing to accept Snowden, could stamp their visa on his passport and accept him on their planes. (Even the US Passport Office accepts an old, expired passport as an identity document when one is applying for a new one.)
After this abject display of rank servitude in the interest of the US Imperium by some of Europe’s most powerful nations, if little Bolivia and/or Venezuela don’t step up and show Europe how sovereign nations are supposed to act, it will be up to the people of Europe and Latin America to act.
Already, Latin nations seem to be rallying, with protests across the continent, and with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, and Cuba’s retired leader Fidel Castro expressing anger at the diversion of the Morales plane. An “urgent” Latin American leadership meeting is planned over the crisis, and if it is not just talk, this could indicate that the US may have overstepped in insulting a region that has been growing increasingly assertive about resisting US diktats.
Certainly, following the latest revelations in the Guardian, Der Spiegel, and elsewhere showing that the NSA has been vacuuming up data on millions of Europeans, and with former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stating publicly that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution — the one that at least used to protect Americans’ right to privacy and from government search and seizure — “is not an international treaty,” the anger among Europeans at US spying is swelling too, and with it, support for the embattled whistleblower Snowden.
We can only hope that the revelations of outrageous US intelligence abuses and violation of Europeans’ privacy rights will continue, that the rage against the US among ordinary European citizens will grow. We can only hope that with that growing rage, a desire to stick it to the US by protecting Snowden will grow too, until some European leader finally sees it as a popular or necessary move to offer him asylum.
This latest abomination in the treatment of Bolivia and its leader, which has shamed France, Portugal, Austria, Italy and Russia, will be a great test of how angry the peoples of those countries are about their leaders’ servile behavior towards the US.
Of course, we in the US should be the most outraged of all, but sadly, there is probably even less chance that a majority Americans will get angry at all this than that Europeans will.
‘An act of aggression and violation of international law’ is how Bolivia’s UN envoy described Austria’s decision to search the Bolivian presidential jet for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The envoy has pledged to make an official complaint to the UN.
Envoy Sacha Llorentty Soliz told press in New York that he had no doubt the decision to search the plane originated from the US.
Austrian authorities grounded Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in Vienna early on Wednesday morning due to suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. Morales refuted speculation that Snowden had stowed away on the plane and allowed authorities to conduct a search.
“Our colleagues from the airport had a look and can give assurances that no one is on board who is not a Bolivian citizen,” Austrian Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger told press, saying rumors that Snowden might be on board were untrue.
The move to detain the presidential plane triggered a wave of furious rhetoric from Latin American leaders who alleged it had been “kidnapped by imperialism.”
Morales called on the countries who had cancelled air permits for the presidential flight to explain their decision.
“The governments of France, Spain and Portugal must explain to the world the reasons behind this delay,” said Morales, adding that these actions were indicative of the “repressive policies” of some EU countries.
“This is an excuse to try and frighten, intimidate and punish me. An excuse to try and gag us in the fight against the dominant economic powers,” said Morales.
Morales finally flew out of Vienna on Wednesday morning after being detained for over 12 hours in the airport. He will stop of in the Canary Islands to refuel before flying on to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia.