Whoa, Evo’s lookin’ good…and I’m not just talking about those stylish threads he’s wearing (although those, too, are fabulous). With over 60% of the vote in the latest Bolivian presidential election, he’s riding higher than ever, and by now, only a fool would doubt that he is very much THE leader of his land. And it looks like Washington is taking notice, too, because now there’s talk of re-established diplomatic relations:
Bolivian president Evo Morales says that respect for the sovereignty of the land and the goodwill of Washington are keys for the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with the United States, given that bilateral relations have been marked by political tensions since 2008.
Bolivia and the US plan to restore ambassadors. “It’s not that we don’t want a new ambassador to come, but that they respect Bolivia. We will respect each other,” Morales said in an interview with public media.
The ambassador should not come to impose, nor to finance political parties of the opposition, Morales added. He was re-elected last Sunday with 61% of the vote, to govern the Andean-Amazonian country until 2020.
A few days ago, the US embassy in Bolivia also expressed its desire to re-establish a relationship of “mutual respect” with the Morales government.
“We hope with interest to work with the government of Bolivia in areas of common interest, in order to establish productive bilateral relations based in mutual respect and shared objectives, for the well-being of the people of Bolivia and of the United States,” said the US chargé d’affaires, Peter Brennan.
Bear in mind that the last US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, was a spy. He was caught on camera holding clandestine meetings with leading figures of the Bolivian opposition, including the prefects of the then “breakaway” departments of the so-called “Media Luna” (Half Moon, for their roughly crescent shape when taken together; also called “Nación Camba”, for its mostly-white populace). And there is ample evidence that everyone from USAID to the Peace Corps and even Fulbright Scholars (!) was involved in some political interference or other, all of it directed at sponsoring or supporting the right-wing opposition. It was a huge scandal, and it totally blew up in the faces of all involved.
At the time, Evo’s popular support was at a bit more than 50%, and it was thought that it wouldn’t take much to tip things the other way again, to the liking of Goldilocks’s superiors in Washington. Then, in April 2009, a fascist terror cell comprised of half a dozen or so foreign mercenaries and would-be machos, found to have ties to those same opposition politicos, was literally shot to pieces before it could kill Evo, his vice-president Álvaro García Linera, and their cabinet, and who-knows-who-all-else. They had fortunately missed a seemingly golden opportunity when Evo headed up a floating parliament on Lake Titicaca; the cell’s leader was caught on cellphone video moaning about how cool it would have been if only they could have blown that Bolivian navy vessel sky-high, with all the MAS government members in it. Instead, it was the terror cell that got blown up, in a hotel where they were holing up and plotting their moves. The cell’s leader was killed by federal police, along with a couple of others; a couple more escaped; the rest were jailed. And the Media Luna’s rogue prefects went on the lam, where they remain to this day. With that, the opposition got a harsh object lesson on what kind of political gambits will no longer play in Bolivia.
And now, with Evo’s vote count at over 60% and still climbing, Bolivia’s economy likewise on the up-and-up, and no more terrorists in sight, Washington seems to have no choice but to start showing some respect for The Little Injun That Could. So they’re talking of a new, more “mutually” respectful relationship. And it seems that Evo is very well situated to hold them to it.
But you can be sure that no one will be letting their guard down. The huge popular support Evo enjoys is the backing for a very wise, very shrewd and vigilant government, which has already proved its mettle at putting paid to old-style fascist putschist politicking…which, as always, had the backing of Washington. And if anything should happen to Evo, the revolt will make the dramatic response to the Venezuelan coup-flop of ’02 look like a pleasant day’s outing in the park. Bolivian workers, the miners and farmers in particular, have decades of experience in fighting back at any cost, and they are Evo’s key base of support.
Moreover, thanks to Cuban help, Bolivia is now fully literate, politically awake, and therefore that much harder to deceive. There will not be any more docile acceptance of Yanqui interference and military dictatorship, as there was in decades past. The people of Bolivia are prospering, but they are not so prosperous yet that they are totally unprepared to fight, if they must.
And if they must, they WILL.