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US intelligence agencies have ramped up their operations intended to remove Bolivian President Evo Morales from office. All options are on the table, including assassination. Barack Obama, who sees the weakening of Latin America’s “hostile bloc of populist states” as one of his administration’s foreign-policy victories, intends to buoy this success before stepping down.
Washington also feels under the gun in Bolivia because of China’s successful expansion in the country. Morales is steadily strengthening his financial, economic, trade, and military relationship with Beijing. Chinese businesses in La Paz are thriving – making investments and loans and taking part in projects to secure a key position for Bolivia in the modernization of the continent’s transportation industry. In the next 10 years, thanks to Bolivia’s plentiful gas reserves, that country will become the energy hub of South America. Evo Morales sees his country’s development as his top priority, and the Chinese, unlike the Americans, have always viewed Bolivia as an ally and partner in a relationship that eschews double standards.
Cables leaked by U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning reveal an apparent plot by the U.S. government to assassinate Bolivian President Evo Morales and overthrow his administration.
The cables in question were published in August in “The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire,” a book in which multiple journalists along with Julian Assange analyze the contents of the treasure trove of cables Manning provided to WikiLeaks in 2010.
– Bolivia legalizes labor of kids as young as 10 (RT, July 20, 2014):
A law, legally allowing children to work from as early as the age of ten, has been signed in Bolivia this week, making the Latin American country the first nation to legalize child labor. International organizations say it contravenes UN conventions.
The legislation was approved by the Congress earlier this month, with Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera signing it into law on Thursday. The signature – which didn’t come from President Evo Morales due to his absence from the country – officially lowers the age that children can legally work from 14 to 10.
– Bolivian president to sue US govt for crimes against humanity (RT, Sep 20, 2013):
Bolivian President Evo Morales will file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity. He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.
“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.
In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”
The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.
“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,” stressed Morales.
– US hacked top Bolivian officials’ emails: President Morales (PressTV, July 14, 2013):
Bolivian President Evo Morales says US intelligence has hacked into the email accounts of senior Bolivian officials amid growing concerns about Washington’s secret surveillance programs.
“Those US intelligence agents have accessed the emails of our most senior authorities in Bolivia,” Morales said in a Saturday speech.
“It was recommended to me that I not use email, and I’ve followed suit and shut it down,” the Bolivian president added.
#BREAKING: Bolivia’s Morales offers asylum to US leaker Snowden
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 6, 2013
– Nicaragua Offers Edward Snowden Asylum, Venezuela Promptly Follows (ZeroHedge, July 6, 2013):
Update: First Nicaragua, now Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday he had decided to offer asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.
“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution,”
Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela’s independence day. Snowden is believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow international airport.
And so the “lead investor” principle comes to the asylum world. Now everyone wants a piece of the pie.
– ‘Act of aggression’: Bolivia to file UN complaint over airspace blockade (RT, July 3, 2013):
‘An act of aggression and violation of international law’ is how Bolivia described the situation in which the Presidential plane was grounded in Vienna for almost 12 hours, over fears that Snowden could be on board.
Austrian authorities grounded Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in Vienna early on Wednesday morning due to suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. Morales allegedly refuted speculation that Snowden had stowed away on the plane and allowed authorities to conduct a search.“We’re talking about the president on an official trip after an official summit being kidnapped,” Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Sacha Llorenti Soliz, told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.
“We have no doubt that it was an order from the White House,” ambassador Llorenti said. “By no means should a diplomatic plane with the president be diverted from its route and forced to land in another country.”
– Airplane Of Bolivian President Denied Passage Over French, Portuguese Airspace Due To Snowden Suspicions (ZeroHedge, July 2, 2013):
Moments ago a rather surreal episode of international diplomacy, or rather lack thereof, took place when the airplane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria over suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board, a claim Bolivian authorities denied. The reason: France and Portugal reportedly refused to allow the flight to cross their airspace due to concerns that Snowden may have been aboard the plane. It is what international law allows countries to deny their airspace to presidents of sovereign countries, when the only transgression is unproven speculation of harboring a whistleblower. Of course, with both insolvent countries bent over and in dire need of some all too precious Uncle Sam liquidity, we can see how they would do anything and everything to gain some favor with Obama.Per RT, David Choquehuanca, the Bolivian Foregin Minister, refuted the idea Snowden was on the plane, saying “we don’t know who invited this lie, but we want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales.”
Others in South America are also angry, with Ecuador foreign affairs minister Ricardo Patino taking the lead:
– Bolivian President Says “Almost Certain” Chavez was Poisoned (RIA Novosti, March 10, 2013):
CARACAS – Bolivian President Evo Morales said Saturday he was “almost certain” that “the empire” (the United States) had poisoned his political ally, late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, regional media reported.
President Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years, died Tuesday at the age of 58 after a two-year-long fight against cancer.
– Bolivia nationalises Iberdrola electricity companies (Reuters, Dec 29, 2012):
Bolivia nationalised two electricity distribution companies owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola on Saturday, the latest move by leftist President Evo Morales to assert control over the country’s resources.
Iberdrola will be compensated according to a valuation to be drawn up by an independent arbiter, Morales said, adding that the measure was aimed at enhancing rural energy services.
“We considered this measure necessary to ensure equitable energy tariffs … and to see to it that the quality of electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas,” Morales said.
President Morales has nationalised oil, telecommunications, mining and electrical generation companies.
Law of Mother Earth expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation
John Vidal reports from La Paz where Bolivians are living with the effects of climate change every day Link to this video
Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.
The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.
Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.
“It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all”, said Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. “It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration.”
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — Leftist Latin American leaders have agreed on the creation of a regional currency to scale back on the use of the US dollar as well as economic sanctions against Honduran coup leaders.
Nine countries of ALBA, a leftist bloc conceived by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, met Friday in Bolivia where they vowed to press ahead with a new currency for intra-regional trade to replace the US dollar.
“The document is approved,” said Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who is hosting the summit.
The new currency, named the Sucre after Jose Antonio de Sucre, who fought for independence from Spain alongside Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century, will be rolled out beginning in 2010 in a non-paper form.
That move echoes the European Union’s introduction of the euro precursor, the ECU, an account unit designed to tie down stable exchange rates between member states before the national currencies were scraped.
ALBA’s member states are Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda.
In a resolution on Honduras, members of the group agreed “to apply economic and commercial sanctions against the regime that came to power as a result of a coup.”
LA PAZ (Reuters) – Emboldened by a new leftist constitution, Bolivia President Evo Morales on Saturday handed over ownership of farmland seized by the state from wealthy estate holders to poor indigenous people.
Morales handed out around 94,000 acres of lands recently confiscated from five big ranches in Bolivia’s wealthy eastern lowlands, a stronghold of his conservative political opponents. The ranchers have been accused of employing workers in conditions of semi-slavery.
“Private property will always be respected but we want people who are not interested in equality to change their thinking and focus more on country than currency,” said Morales, flanked by military and police personnel.
Among those who lost land was U.S. cattleman Ronald Larsen, who has emerged as a key opponent of the Morales government’s land reforms, which are designed to distribute more of the nation’s riches to poor indigenous peoples.
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.
Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.
“Monroe certainly would be rolling over in his grave,” says Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington and author of the 2006 book “Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century.”
The U.S., she says, “is no longer the exclusive go-to power in the region, especially in South America, where U.S. economic ties are much less important.”
Since November, Russian warships have engaged in joint naval exercises with Venezuela, the first in the Caribbean since the Cold War; Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a free-trade agreement with Peru; and Brazil invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a state visit.
|Mr Fernandez supported an autonomy referendum earlier in 2008|
Bolivian troops have arrested the governor of a northern province wracked by deadly anti-government violence in recent days, state television reports.
Leopoldo Fernandez, an opponent of President Evo Morales, is accused of backing violence in Pando in which some 16 people died.
Mr Morales declared a state of emergency in Pando last weekend.
The region is among several demanding autonomy and opposing Mr Morales’s plans for constitutional reform.
Government troops who took control of the state capital of Pando, Cobija, moved to detain the governor on Tuesday, according to reports.
Supporters of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales burn dolls representing Leopoldo Fernandez, governor of the opposition state of Pando, in La Paz, Monday, Sept. 15, 2008. Several opposition provinces are seeking greater autonomy from Morales’ government and insist on the cancellation of a Jan. 25, 2008 referendum on a new constitution that would help him centralize power, run for a second consecutive term and transfer fallow terrain to landless peasants. At least 30 people have been killed in clashes this week, according to authorities (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – South America’s presidents converged on Chile for an emergency summit Monday aimed at preventing the collapse of Bolivia, whose leftist president has lost control of about half the country and said bloody unrest there amounts to an attempted coup.
Evo Morales said he would explain to his fellow presidents how his political foes in Bolivia’s rich eastern lowlands have mounted a “civic coup,” inciting “crimes against humanity by groups massacring the poorest of my country.”
At least 30 people were killed in political violence last week, prompting Bolivia’s first indigenous president to declare martial law in the rebellious state of Pando – where Morales says thugs used machine guns against his supporters – and seek the arrest of its governor.
Gov. Leopoldo Fernandez denied any responsibility for the deaths, calling it an armed clash between rival groups and accusing Morales of “mounting a farce.”
Morales has lost control over most of eastern Bolivia, where protests have blocked highways and closed border crossings and pipeline sabotage has forced a cutoff of nearly half his nation’s natural gas exports to Brazil.