Cambio Newspaper, October 16, 2012
Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti (*)
In recent days, President Evo Morales and the Minister of the Presidency, Juan Ramón Quintana, expressed separately the discontent and the harm caused by the incessant subversive U.S. campaign against Bolivia. Several of us Bolivians have agreed that the interventionism of the United States in Bolivian territory is reaching intolerable limits.
On Friday, October 12, 2012, I said on Eva Golinger’s program, Detrás de la Noticia, that “the diplomatic relations of countries that distance themselves from the policies of the United States, are very difficult because Washington uses the access that such relations provide to invade them with the power of all its agencies that are experts in coup d’états, promoting the opposition, exacerbating conflicts and establishing bases for what later becomes a program of nation building; but it rather means the destruction of countries, since it begins with the destruction of the original anti-imperialist nation in order to replace it with one that is complacent, or, if that is not possible, divide it in two, so as to build against the anti-imperialist nation its antagonist Siamese twin, which from then on, will do the dirty work of the counter-revolution”.
Despite the signing of the new framework agreement on diplomatic relations, Bolivia remains irremediably tied to the disastrous Point IV agreement of 1951 for technical cooperation, through which the United States adjudicated to itself the right to intervene directly in Bolivian politics by means of aid that was supervised by its agents and of programs that were independent from any supervision by the Bolivian government.
The goal was to move rightward the MNR’s socialism and nationalism, corrupt the revolution of 1952, restore and indoctrinate the armed forces that had been dissolved by the people, prepare them for the military dictatorships of the 70s and 80s, and impose the imperialism of the 90s and the 2000s. Absolutely everything is based on the agreement of 1951.
The first guideline for subjection is written into the title of the agreement, which reads: “Point four general agreement for technical cooperation between the United States of America and Bolivia.” Regrettably, it seems that no one in Bolivia thought of questioning the meaning of the mysterious Point IV.
It turns out that the program called Point IV, through which the United States signed bilateral agreements with the countries of the Third World, was the program of technical and economic assistance in the fields of agriculture, military affairs, scholarships, information, and political advisors that was created by president Harry Truman in 1949 and approved by Congress in June of 1950. It got the name of Point IV because it was the fourth foreign policy objective he mentioned in his speech. What was not mentioned in the agreements was that that point was clearly related to point three of the same speech, which established as an objective to “strengthen freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression.”
President Truman was moving his pieces on the game board of the Cold War that his country waged against the Soviet Union in the dispute for influence over the countries of the Third World, and the program of nation-building was its secret instrument for intervention. If World War II turned the United States into the creditor and policeman of the world, the program of Point IV was the mechanism to make use of that power and to create a presence within the countries in which it was interested. It was the master key that opened the doors of countries like Bolivia to consolidate the geopolitical control that Truman set as a goal in point three of his inaugural address.
Let us recall that that program was signed with urgency at La Paz on March 14, 1951, during the last weeks of the servile government of Mamerto Urriolagoitia, in the midst of an electoral campaign in which the MNR was not allowed to take part. While the government impeded in every way the return of Victor Paz Estenssoro, exiled in Buenos Aires, it signed discretely this historic treaty that had so much influence on the subjection of the country.
The United States did it to increase Bolivia’s dependency, so that, should the MNR win, it would already be tied hand and foot to U.S. policies. In effect, despite that its leaders were in exile, the MNR won the elections with 45 percent of the vote in an election that included five parties. However, instead of handing power over to the Left, the president preferred to stage his historic coup against himself, known as the “Mamertazo”, received from the embassy his diplomatic visas, and went to Washington to negotiate the recognition of the military junta led by Gen. Hugo Ballivián, which consolidated dependency even more until April 12, 1952, when the people, by force of arms, took power and handed it to the MNR for the latter to represent them.
Among the declassified documents of the Department of State is the report of the U.S. embassy in La Paz dated May 23, 1952.(*1) The document reports on the desperate efforts of Victor Paz to execute the nationalization of the mines that he had promised to his people, while at the same time, gaining the U.S. recognition for his government, without which the country could not survive given the enormous dependency that subjected it. The information was along the following terms:
“Reports reaching the Embassy indicate the government does not know what to do about the problem, but is determined to go ahead with some sort of nationalization after the United States recognition”.
The mentioned reports represented a discrete invitation by President Paz to the United States to negotiate his recognition with the depth of his revolution. In reality, all of the U.S. projects that were already under way in Bolivia were respected by the revolutionary government of the MNR, but Paz had even bigger plans for U.S. participation in the economic diversification of the country.
In the same report, and as to oil, an area in which there was already a committee of foreign experts drafting laws to open the doors for the transnationals, the embassy reported as follows: “New president of YPFB Manuel Barrau, a strong party man who was with Paz in Buenos Aires, has indicated that he wants private capital to come into the petroleum field.” At the Ministry of Agriculture, it was reported that “the funds for salaries and projects have been suspended. One exception is the Point IV Servicio Agricola Interamericano, which will continue to receive the Ministry’s full support.”
It is in the end contradictory that, after so much anti-imperialist rhetoric, Paz Estenssoro achieved power only to respect as sacrosanct the agreement of Point IV of Truman’s imperialist speech. What took place was the total destruction of the Bolivian revolution, because Bolivian president Paz left intact one of the most important mechanisms of U.S. interventionism.
Something similar takes place currently with the process of change pushed forward by President Evo Morales, but with the aggravating factor that at least Victor Paz found no other solution than to negotiate his revolution as well as he could, as, aside from all of the development projects, Washington eventually covered directly as much as 30 percent of the national budget.
At this moment, Bolivia has already broken free from that dependency, it controls its hydrocarbons, its economy is stable, and there is no justification for the government, when it intends to expel USAID, to allow itself to be tied up with the astute answer that all of the aid was requested by Bolivia in strict accordance with the agreement of 1951, that unilateral suspensions are not convenient, and that the programs could be analyzed individually in the context of the framework agreement. There is no reason for Bolivia, in its attempt to free itself from the United States, to end up ratifying its chains and becoming even more bound in dependency.
President Morales and Minister Quintana are totally correct, but talk must be followed by actions. What should be done is to reject the treaty of 1951 under Point One of Article V, which provides that “This Agreement shall enter into force on the day on which it is signed. It shall remain in force until three months after either government shall have given notice in writing to other of intention to terminate the Agreement”.
Only after Bolivia breaks its chains to the disastrous agreement of 1951 will its chancellor have the possibility of negotiating bilateral relations as equal parties with the United States. Mr. David Choquehuanca is very capable and has the patience of a saint, but he is not the alchemist, nor can he be forced to make gold out of lead.
Without a doubt, the Right that is being promoted and financed by the U.S. will react, but to delay this defensive action would be to make the same mistake of the revolution of 1952. Bolivia also has to shut down all of the channels of penetration, including NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which, using as a parapet the Instituto de Democracia y Gobernabilidad, even this far into the process of change can still give itself the luxury of rounding up the best political science students of the country with the pretext of an essay contest to take the 30 best to the city of Sucre, all expenses paid, to “teach” them how to present to the Plurinational Legislative Assembly a citizens’ project on intercultural matters and governability that obviously reflects the agenda of the United States for Bolivia.
(*) Correspondent in the United States for the Bolivian newspaper Cambio
(*1) Dispatch from American Embassy in La Paz, To: Department of State in Washington, May 23, 1952 (NARA) Decimal Central Files 724.00 (W)/5-2352