Daily Archives: February 4, 2014

U.S. hardens position with Bolivia and withdraws cooperation

Ivan Paredes reports for El Deber:

COLD BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP

U.S. hardens position with Bolivia and withdraws cooperation

The decision is given a day when Evo suggested to spy on Obama. In La Paz, masistas ranks say that determination will not affect the country and that without the help of U.S. moves better.

2014-02-02 07.27.45 amEvo Morales was limited to shake hands with the Chargé d’affaires [DCM] of the Embassy of United States in La Paz, Larry Memmott, at the time of greeting at the protocol meeting of the diplomatic corps and avoided dialogue with the representative of Washington. The gesture demonstrates the cold relationship with the administration of Barack Obama, who decided to withdraw economic cooperation to Bolivia under the excuse of the expulsion of the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) Agency, accused of alleged political interference.

The US official, minutes after, by the Palacio Quemado sidewalk, announced that his country had not planned to contribute economically to Bolivia in 2014.

Consulted about how much will be the amount of cooperation for this year, Memmott said: “our economic support is always delivered through USAID, and at the request of the Bolivian Government USAID no longer works in the country and economic support is not an issue between the two countries. We do not work on economic assistance in Bolivia at the request of the Bolivian Government”.

Evo and Memmott

After receiving the protocol greeting of the ambassadors, Morales return kindness one by one. He shook hands with every diplomatic, which was formed in ranks, and talked for a moment. When the turn of the USA came, gave only his hand and went along. The gesture did not please the American.

Memmott said that it is Bolivia’s decision to reactivate the agreement framework between the two Nations and await a meeting with Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to try to settle the difficult relationship.

Morales was determined, in May 2013, the expulsion of USAID after accusing it of interference in peasant unions. The Agency operated 52 years in Bolivia and left without effects social projects, some were transferred to the Government.

The President of the Senate, Eugenio Rojas, of the MAS, said that the aid ‘was minimal’ and without the cooperation of the United States [Bolivia] is advancing best. He mentioned as an example the anti-drug fight.

For his part, Morales said yesterday that Bolivia “is better” without the help of the USA and asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “to release itself of the economic policy of the Empire”.

This decision comes after Morales asked to spy on Obama and accusing the US of encouraging coups.

Last year, United States, through USAID, had planned to execute $23 million dollars in Bolivia.

To know

Assistance of $2 billion

According to a statement from the U.S. Embassy, in 50 years, USAID disbursed $2 billion dollars in cooperation projects in various areas.

Accusation of interference

The Bolivian Government rejected the help. Amanda Dávila Minister pointed out that 70% of U.S. cooperation was destined for political interference.

Areas of cooperation

USAID cooperating efforts were in areas of health, education, agriculture, food security, alternative development, economic development and environment.

Evo and USAID

Since Evo Morales came to power in 2006, USAID limited its cooperation to $40 million annually to implement development projects.

Coca growers benefited

The beneficiaries with the help of USAID were Yungas, La Paz, and the Tropic of Cochabamba, coca leaf-producing areas.
Complaints of farmers
Complaints from coca growers leaders forced the President to decide to expel USAID. In those unions, there were claims of meddling.
ANALYSIS
Government is very comfortable with the relationship
Rafael Vilar – analyst
The core of the relationship between Bolivia and the United States is undoubtedly the issue of drug trafficking. I think that there may be between the two countries, the central theme beyond any element of cooperation is the cocaine trade.
This issue bothers the Bolivian government, but while the US does not change its position with regard to drug trafficking, the Bolivian Government will insist on maintaining deteriorated relations, as usual. With its position, United States does a disservice to the Executive.
The Government has demonstrated that they can live without that cooperation, and that is a merit.
Another element further harden this hostile position, and is the electoral situation. The Government has built a very strong last time imaginary anti-imperialist speech since the disappearance of Hugo Chávez. And when we talked about this, we refer to the US directly. Morales has achieved some international recognition with that speech, he took the post of deceased Venezuelan President. In an election this can strengthen and win the support of certain sectors of the population, therefore, achieve a revenue in the elections looming this year.
USAID/Bolivia was by far the top donor, including multilateral cooperation. The first asphalted roads La Paz – Oruro and Cochabamba – Chapare were funded as well as the airports of El Alto, Trompillo and Wilsterman, along with most of the airport facilities in the lowlands of Bolivia. The cobble stone road between Cochabamba to Aiquile, along with the bridges that endured an earthquake, multiple sewage, potable water and electricity for innumerable towns around Bolivia asserted for these American tax payers’ contribution to fight poverty in Bolivia. Food for Work, Title II and Title III from PL-480 also served as counterpart funding for many European, Canadian projects.
USAID helped Bolivia achieve the first place in the world for certified natural forest with the BOLFOR project. Prosalud was a successful project replicated around the world. EP3 provided technical assistance for private companies to be more environmentally friendly, thus more competitive. Scholarships were given for indigenous women, rural teachers, masters in economics that helped UDAPE conform the first think tank ever in country. And the list goes on.
USAID’s philosophy was to teach people “how to fish” rather than given them fish, like Japanese cooperation did… In sum, Bolivia received too much help from American tax payers, to see how demagogue and cheap politics in Bolivia has taken over, to see USAID leave Bolivia when we still need that support, is frankly another demonstration of the sorry ochlocracy that rules for now, Bolivia.
I say this because I worked in the international donor community helping Bolivia, I interacted with bilateral and multilateral donors and know from personal experience that USAID considered the technical possibility of a given project rather than the political appetite of the occasional, transient ruler.