January 14, 2006

A Little Food for "Commentary"

MABB © ®

This is Mr Michael Radu, Ph.D., from the Foreign Policy Research Insitute. He is Co-Chairman of FPRI’s Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Mr Radu wrote an article where he asks if The end of Bolivia is coming, and where he describes his assessment of the present Bolivian situation and prescribes policy to the US government to deal with this situation. These are his prescriptions:

"In dealing with Bolivia’s dysfunctional political culture, Washington has long fallen behind, out of either discretion or a misguided reliance on Bolivia’s neighbors to act in their own self-interest. It may not be too late, if the United States takes some very simple and clear decisions. To begin with, no more aid, in any form whatsoever, for an Evo Morales regime; second, insistence on La Paz’s respecting international rules regarding property, on behalf of the threatened Brazilian, Argentine, and European companies; third, severe sanctions against Bolivia—including withdrawal of diplomatic recognition, bans of travel by officials, even indictments in U.S. courts—if coca growing is legalized; and fourth, diplomatic, economic, political or other support for any of Bolivia’s neighbors who are threatened by a Morales regime. If this leads to the end of Bolivia as we know it, so be it. To hide behind respect for “democracy” when faced with the dubious election, under threat of civil war, of an openly anti- democratic individual is an insult to democracy."

This lady is Lupe Andrade, former La Paz Mayor. She read the article and, I guess one can safely say, she did not like it. So she decided to respond to it. Here is some of what she had to say:

"My name is Lupe Andrade. I am a former Mayor of the city of La Paz; I was born in Bolivia, live in Bolivia and probably will die in Bolivia. I have just read your article on "The end of Bolivia", and though I lament your tone and intention, I will be smiling (probably from on high) when you and I are both gone and Bolivia is still around. However, if it were up to you, apparently my death should come much sooner, together with the death of my nation. I thus resent it as a person, as a Bolivian, and as a thinking human being.

I have seen, during my more than sixty years of life, all types of regimes as well as all types of "experts" and "analysts" come and go, the first often with few achievements, the latter just as often dictating misguided economic policies or writing ill-researched pieces with little foundation but their own bigotry and misconceptions. Seldom, however, have I come across anything as harsh and as hate-filled as your piece.

Seriously, Mr. Radu, as you seem to be a serious person, you should not glibly write what you do really not know about. Bolivia is a complex nation, not to be 'learned" or dismissed airily after reading a few briefs. Your article is biased (which can't be helped), but it is also full of half-truths and glaring inaccuracies."

I have to say, I tend to strongly side with what Mrs. Andrade is saying. Eventhough, she stretches her facts a little as well, she does have the advantage of knowing what she is talking about. In this case, Mr Radu "might be" in a disadvantage trying to assess what is a very complicated issue. But, on the other side, I think if I decide to write an article like Mr Radu's, I would really devote more than a couple of hours to the research phase. Or perhaps I would even decide to do the research myself.

As far as advocating the end of Bolivia, that does say a lot a bout Mr Radu. I will leave it to the readers to make some conclusions. I am sure this will make for an interesting discussion.

Update:
Check out Olli North's own two cents on Bolivia and South America