Juan Leon writes in Pagina Siete:
Washing dirty linen at home
Brazil’s Lula Da Silva was at the dawn of the Bolivian process of change, one of the most supportive of the Government of Evo Morales’ political allies. The ideological affinity, strengthened by the origins of the union leadership of both rulers, generated a kind of empathy, which persists despite stumbling in their common political move , at least on a personal level. Certified by the Brazilian former president’s recent visit to Santa Cruz, in the framework of the preparations for the G77 Summit.
Yet, the influence of this seemingly strong personal empathy stream today is insufficient to overcome a series of events and attitudes that drive away, visibly, the governments of both countries, although formally political ideological affinities remain.
The poor level of relations reach a point that remains at a range that Itamaraty visibly keeps low its diplomatic representation in La Paz for several months and, despite Bolivia which maintains an ambassadorial level in Brasilia.
The antecedent of political affinity, which should allow excellent bilateral relations, the qualitative and quantitative importance of the powerful neighbor adds. With over 3,000 km border, the longest for both countries, Brazil is the largest provider of hard currency to Bolivia through its purchases of natural gas.
Just for reference data and in gross numbers, exports to Brazil exceed 31 million cubic meters per day, almost double the sales to Argentina. And the current price per thousand BTU, is twice the international price of natural gas, is almost similar.
In general, having as a neighbor to a country that is the fifth largest economy must surely mean important in many other fields to take action on this advantage. So, it worries why both bilateral relations have deteriorated, despite the ever possible ideological affinities between the governments of the two countries and the importance of the economic factor for us.
Paradoxically was it may seem to the naked eye, the deterioration has roots in events and policy actions that have exceeded by far the ideological affinities and eroded the eventual personal empathy of actors, from the nationalization of hydrocarbons. Although the background was not so, with the nationalization military presence on the premises of Petrobras in Bolivia had an uncomfortable political cost, in time, to Lula and created a climate of distrust in the political and administrative environment of the one who was considered the “big brother” of the Bolivian president.
But the fact that relations began to cool down was certainly the stubborn refusal to grant visa to Senator Roger Pinto for 454 days [who remained inside the Brazilian Embassy]. The Brazilian government had granted political asylum just ten days after his admission to the embassy, on May 28, 2012. And the explanation for that decision was, in the always subtle diplomatic language, a severe lesson of friendship and mutual respect. Asylum to Senator Pinto said by Itamaraty – was granted “in light of the rules and practice of the Latin American international law.”
Are these rules and the practice precisely at this point that would be observed scrupulously to solve wrongdoings as an elemental requirement to attend most significant problems.
The high cost of Brazilian dams on the Madera River to the environment in Bolivia, for example, the negative impact remains to be seen. Yet, actions, political events and sayings seem rather to hinder it. In this context, perhaps the delay could be explained, not to call it resistance, the Brazilian government to appoint a successor to Ambassador Marcel Biato, which left so long ago.
And it could also explain the great political resonance box he found in the former prosecutor Marcelo Soza at Brasilia. So far, the revelations of former strongman of the Bolivian prosecutors are ruining, relentlessly, reports and explanations from the Government on the Terrorism Case I.
Is that thee report to the Brazilian Conare, of the former prosecutor had not been received with such generous welcome in any other country, such as was received in Brazil, if it had reached the level of care at the time of bilateral relations.
Just to qualify the complainant as “common criminal” or “fugitive from justice” does not serve to disqualify or deny his claims. The only way to recover internal credibility, but mostly outside, now that the dirty laundry is being washed away, is to prove that what Soza says is false. And that comes only with serious, transparent and above all impartial investigations. There is no other way.
Juan Leon Cornejo is a journalist.
The only way to recover internal credibility , but mostly external , is to prove that what Soza says is false.