On October 28, 2013, The Wall Street Journal published an article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady entitled “Bolivia’s Descent Into Rogue State Status.” A glance at the article is enough to understand why this lady cannot be taken seriously. She supports her accusations with phrases such as these: “something similar may be happening in Bolivia…reports from the ground suggest…unconfirmed reports say…Iran may be using its Bolivian network…a source who did not want to be identified…according to my source, a witness said…one Bolivian I know claims… there are rumors.” It’s ridiculous that based on this quality of “information” this lady clumsily concludes that the Andean country is “an international hub of organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists.” Such a lack of seriousness does not merit a response, but Bolivia does, and that is why I’ll clear up at least some of what she has written.
1. “In the years after a brutal 10-year Soviet occupation, Afghanistan became a petri dish in which a culture of organized crime, radical politics and religious fundamentalism festered—and where Osama bin Laden set up operations.”
She did not finish the story and say that the United States was part of that petri dish, with the CIA intervening to arm Islamist groups and later with a brutal occupation that is now 12 years old, that drug traffic has multiplied exponentially, and that so has terrorism along with corruption.
2. “Evo Morales, who is also the elected president of the coca producers’ confederation, and Vice President Alvaro García Linera, formerly of the Maoist Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, began building their repressive narco-state when they took office in 2006.”
The project to fix in the collective consciousness an image of Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador as the Latin American axis of evil is an old project of the Republican right wing, the Pentagon, the CIA, the other “security” agencies, the think tanks of the extreme Right, and puppets organizations like the Inter American Institute for Democracy, which published Douglas Farah’s booklets that slandered the three anti-imperialist governments mentioned above. The project has been underway since long ago, and I denounced it on October 19, 2010, reporting from the Capitol, in an article I titled Report on: “The Danger in the Andes.”
With this article, The Wall Street Journal simply joined the Miami Herald and Univision as a launch pad for the extreme Right to broadcast its venom. They do humanity a favor by taking off the mask of “journalism.”
3. “With the opposition cowed, President Morales has turned Bolivia into an international hub of organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been expelled.”
The constant implication that Evo Morales has destroyed the opposition by using the justice system refers to the historical prosecution of crime that emerges from power, which was untouchable during the governments of the Right that looted the country, and that, as owners of the justice system, legally protected their own criminality. The mention of the DEA’s expulsion in the context of a supposed rise in drug trafficking suggests that the institution is an authority in the fight against drugs, a lie that these days only a child could believe.
The War on Drugs, invented by U.S. political villain Richard Nixon, was used politically beginning in the 70s to cover up the right-wing drug traffickers for purposes of using the proceeds to finance counter-revolutionary guerrillas. In order to justify its lack of action against drug trafficking, the United States, in the 80s, criminalized the coca leaf, thus criminalizing the Bolivian indigenous people for their legendary resistance to imperialism. It militarized the Chapare province of Cochabamba and launched a war against the indigenous people, the resistance to which drew national and international sympathy. The DEA was expelled for its corruption, for functioning as a barricade of the CIA, for the crimes it committed in unjustly machine-gunning indigenous women and children who had nothing to do with the drug traffic and who merely opposed the aerial spraying of crops with toxic chemicals. The DEA is simply no authority in the fight against drugs. If what it did in Bolivia had been done in carrying out its police functions, it would have also militarized the United States, where the greatest drug market in the world is found, while the corporate media don’t mention that criminal impunity.
4. “According to the Bolivian daily La Razón, Bolivia’s prospective consul to Lebanon was detained by Bolivian officials for allegedly trying to smuggle 392 kilos of cocaine to Ghana. “
This lady decided to invent the word “prospective” as a substitute for the original information in La Razón, in that the Catholic man from Lebanon, married to a Bolivian women and militant in the MAS, who is now in prison for drug trafficking, had been suggested as a consul but his name was rejected by the ministry of foreign affairs. She forgot also to recognize that he was arrested by the Bolivian anti-narcotics force, which works better than the DEA.
5. “Thanks to steady cocaine demand, the Bolivian economy is awash in cash.”
I don’t know what this lady may know of monetary policy and the use of liquid assets in the precarious economies of countries repressed through abuse and looting. She seems not to know that, facing the exclusion imposed by the model of neoliberal capitalism, broad popular sectors of the Bolivian people turned to the informal economy that long allowed them to survive. Having cash on hand was the last defense of the poor against an oppressive economic system that had no space for them. However, once the long emergency was overcome, and with those sectors brought into economic activity of a more just model, the administration of President Evo Morales has promoted strict regulations on the use of cash, and Bolivia is the only country in the world that has a minister to fight corruption. That is why the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) took Bolivia off its obscure list of countries with inadequate legislation to fight money laundering. The United Nations has highlighted Bolivia’s work not only in the fight against money laundering, but also its fight against narcotics trafficking.
In reality, Ms. O’Grady seems surprised that Bolivia under the administration of Evo Morales has experienced a remarkable economic upturn. Maybe it’s not convenient for her that the world know the truth: that Bolivia was never poor, but impoverished by looting under successive powers –that when Morales took office the country received from the oil transnational corporations that exploited its gas only 360 million dollars, and that, after nationalization, that figure will surpass in 2013 the amount of 5 billion dollars, which represents an increase of 1,388 percent. That money is invested in infrastructure, in subsidies at the national level, as with fuel, and in social programs that include monetary assistance such as payments for expectant mothers, the elderly, and children.
6. “The Tehran connection is no secret. Iran is a nonvoting member of the “Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas” (ALBA). Its voting members are Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.”
She forgot that other voting members are Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, and San Vincent and the Grenadines. That Saint Lucia and Surinam are special invited members, that Haiti was extended the special condition of permanent member, and that Honduras was a full member until the coup d’état of 2009 supported by the United States. Apart from her errors in the information, O’Grady is also wrong in her analysis, because she suggests that there is something wrong in that relationship with Iran, which she uses as a basis for the accusation that Bolivia promotes terrorism. The logic applied is as follows. Iran protects the Palestinians, Israel and the United States consider the Palestinians terrorists, which makes Iran terrorist, Bolivia has diplomatic relations with Iran, thus Bolivia is terrorist. Such an aberrant use of logic by part of the imperialist complex of the United States, which is served by this lady, is a danger for all humanity, because now the government spies on the entire world and has sufficient information to put together all the conspiracy theories that it wishes, no matter how incredible they may be.
The reality is that Bolivia will not be the next Afghanistan, for a series of reasons that this lady cannot even begin to understand. First, its constitution no longer allows it to host U.S. military bases. Second, it no longer has USAID implanted on its territory in order to infect it with the Trojan viruses of discontent, destabilization, and financing for the right wing and subversive movements. Third, the Bolivian military now serves its country and not the U.S. embassy. Fourth, Bolivia has learned not to depend economically on the United States. Fifth, Bolivia has already defeated the separatism that the United States traditionally uses to divide countries of interest and later invade them in defense of a rebel people who ask for help. Sixth, ever since 1950, when the United States under president Harry Truman launched its international campaign to control the countries of the third world by means of technical and economic assistance, until 2003, when the Bolivian people went out on the streets to protest peacefully against the last neoliberal puppet of Washington, Bolivia has lived through the 53 years of humiliation that it took to find the perfect formula to resist imperialism under democracy. Bolivia is now a world symbol of decolonization, and that is the reason for the hate that the extreme-right elites who control power in the United States have for the former.
I am fully confident that the international community will know how to tell facts from lies in the article of Ms. O’Grady, because a failure to do so would be an offense to median intelligence.