Saturday, September 13, 2008

One month after his 67% approval rating in a recall referendum the left wing government of Bolivia, headed by Eva Morales, is facing another crisis. Right wing secessionist s based in the richer eastern provinces of the country have taken to the streets, hoping to win by riot what they couldn't win by ballot. A report of what is happening in Bolivia can be found at THIS BBC LINK.The government of Bolivia has accused that of the USA os instigating the riots and expelled the American ambassador. Washington has replied in kind. Venezuela's Chavez government has replied in solidarity by expelling the US ambassador from their country and recalling their diplomatic staff from the USA.
The School of the Americas Watch organization has launched a phone-in campaign to the US government demanding that they stop their interference in the internal affairs of South American countries. Here is their request.

Urgent: Support Democracy in Bolivia and Latin America‏:
We are writing with grave concern about an emerging conflict in South America´s poorest nation, Bolivia and we need you to take immediate action. Bolivia is facing a critical moment in which the survival of a new era of hope is gravely threatened. After suffering decades of military dictatorships followed by years of economic dictatorship, Bolivia heralded in a new moment of dignity with the election of its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. However, just one month after a recall referendum gave Morales 67% of the vote, Bolivia's secessionist movement has unleashed unprecedented violence throughout the country. After three days of riots, 8 people have died, several government institutions have been destroyed and Bolivia´s gas pipeline has suffered millions of dollars in damage. OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has called for the violent actions of opposition groups to end.
Citing involvement with the opposition movement, Bolivia´s president Morales declared US Ambassador to Bolivia, Phillip Goldberg, persona non grata and asked him to leave the country. Among Ambassador Goldberg´s closest friends are Croatian businessmen in the city of Santa Cruz who lead the city´s powerful separatist movement. Washington responded by asking Bolivia´s ambassador to return to his country.
South America´s presidents have united their voices in declaring support for Bolivia´s democracy and Evo Morales. Yesterday Venezuela in solidarity with Bolivia asked the US Ambassador to leave the country and recalled their ambassador from the United States. Venezuela is also citing US involvement in recent destabilization attempts in Venezuela. Unfortunately, as we know too well form our campaign to close the SOA/WHINSEC, the US has a long history of US intervention in the region.
Morales has called for restraint by the military, a markedly different response from that of Bolivia´s military dictatorships. SOA Watch founder, Fr. Roy Bourgeois was one of the many recipients of the torture and random detention which was commonplace under the dictatorship of General Hugo Banzer, an SOA graduate. Thousands of Bolivians were tortured and hundreds disappeared under the following Garcia Meza dictatorship leading military command were SOA graduates. Last year President Morales announced his decision that Bolivian troops would no longer train at the SOA/WHINSEC. Venezuela was the first to make this announcement in 2004, and since then a total of 5 countries have followed step.
We urge you to take immediate action. Please call the White House with the message, please stop interfering in Bolivia and other Latin American Democracies. Please call the capital switch board and ask for your Senators and House Members and ask them to immediately investigate if the White House is trying to destabilize the democracies of Bolivia and Venezuela.
White House to reach the President (202) 456-1414
Capitol Switchboard to reach your Senate or House Member (202) 224-3121
In Hope,
April, Mike, Pablo, Pam, Hendrik, Roy, Lisa and Eric
SOA Watch

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