February 06, 2006

Is the Relationship Between Evo and Hugo a Cooperation?

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There is a distinct discussion going on in Bolivia at the moment. The relationship forged between Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez is being highly questioned by some sectors of the Bolivian society. What is the nature of this relationship?

Historically, the international relations between Bolivia and Venezuela have been within the framework of agreements addressing education and some exchange of products. Today, the luvy-duvy relationship between Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez has sparked some scepticism among some observers. This relationship is being highly questioned. Some people say that Bolivia is being subordinated and forced to align with the designs of Hugo Chavez by receiving so many favorable favors. While Chavez and his government insist that this relationship is only based on solidarity for one another.

Why is then that Chavez is so interested in helping develop Bolivia's gas reserves? According to the newpapers, the Bolivian government will not develop the project (a pipeline) with Brazil and Argentina. Instead it will join a consorcium created by Chavez, which will include the Bolivian state oil compamy, Petrobras and PDVSA. This company, according to the president of YPFB, Jorge Alvarado, will provide energy for the whole region at higher prices and will also provide stability. The Venezuelan government has already a PDVSA branch opened in La Paz. This office opened its doors a day after Morales' inaugration.

Considering the theory of international relations which defines these relations between states being based on agendas of self interests, one has to ask himself why is it really Chavez giving Bolivia so much help expecting very little in return (so far)? I don't want to jump to conclusions now but I just have to wonder as to the real intentions of Chavez, knowing his democratic record.