Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bolivia: The 'Blame Game' Rages On

According to the BBC, US behind Bolivia crisis - Chavez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has blamed Washington's brand of capitalism for the recent troubles in Bolivia.

Speaking on his weekly TV programme, he said US open market policies in Latin America had led to "exclusion, misery and destabilisation".

He called President George W Bush's proposal for a regional free trade agreement a "medicine of death".

Bolivia was brought to a virtual standstill by protesters calling for economic and constitutional reforms.

"Look at Bolivia. Fortunately the Bolivians opened the door toward a peaceful path, but they were on the verge of a civil war," said Mr Chavez.
The Venezuelan leader, who is an outspoken critic of Mr Bush's foreign policy, was responding to suggestions by some US officials that he was stirring up the Bolivian protests.

US assistant secretary of state Roger Noriega said President Chavez's support for the Bolivian indigenous leader Evo Morales might be partly to blame for the mass protests there.

But a report in the Argentinian newspaper Clarin quoted unnamed diplomatic sources as saying that Mr Chavez may have played a key part in achieving a solution to Bolivia's crisis.

The report said that a frenetic exchange of phone calls with Caracas encouraged Mr Morales to accept the constitutional outcome.
During his programme on Sunday, which lasted more than seven hours, Mr Chavez said Latin American countries were moving towards socialist economic models instead of US-style capitalism.

He said Mr Bush's idea for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone, mooted last week at a meeting of the Organisation of American States in Florida, would lead to more poverty and protests in the region.

"We say no Mr Bush, no sir... I'm sorry for you," he said. "The people of Latin America are saying 'no' to you, Mr Danger, they are saying no to your medicine.

"Capitalism is the road to destabilisation, violence and war between brothers."
You can find much more Winter Patriot coverage of the Boliviam situation; here is a good starting point.