Press Conference Documents Proof of US Intervention in Bolivia

Last week, on Friday October 11th, I held a press conference in La Paz on newly discovered documents that show clear proof of US intervention in Bolivia. You can watch it below. Also, read a recent article in spanish from the Mexican paper La Jornada, that covered the press event. The english translation of the article is below the video.

US Journalist Presents Proof of His Country’s Interference in Bolivia

Rosa Rojas (Correspondent)

La Jornada

La Paz, October 11. Declassified documents of the US State Department and copies of emails among personnel of the US Agency of International Development (USAID) in Bolivia were presented today by US journalist Jeremy Bigwood as “clear proof” that Washington, through various entities, “has been and continues to be conspiring against the government”

of President Evo Morales.

In a press conference, the reporter presented six documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that demonstrate “the alarming interventionism”

of Washington in Bolivia via USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

He asserted that since the beginning of the 1990s, the government of the US has seen the cocalero leader “as a threat to the plans of the United States in the hemisphere.”

Among the documents presented by Bigwood are emails dating between February 12th and 14th of 2007, which were sent by personnel of USAID in Bolivia, with the purpose of organizing a luncheon for Ambassador Philip Goldberg -expelled from Bolivia in September- with indigenous leaders, with whom he wished to discuss the problems that confront their territories.

In the exchange of notes, the names of some chiefs of indigenous organizations of eastern Bolivia are mentioned, some of which are marked as “our allies”

.

The declassified documents that the journalist presented are from 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

In one of the texts, the US Embassy indicates that a project -prepared by USAID- to reform the political parties in Bolivia, should “serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS (Movement Toward Socialism) or its successors.”
Another document shows that the NED financed the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, which shows, said Bigwood, “a historical relationship”

between US institutions and the opposition of Santa Cruz.

National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID documents show that both organizations work to promote events centered on regional autonomy and decentralization.

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm  Comments Off  
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New Discoveries Reveal US Intervention in Bolivia

As a photo and investigative journalist for more than two decades, I often come across revealing government documents and information through various sources, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) requests and leaked documents. Most of the documents I have obtained has been through FOIA requests, which allow me to declassify documents from various entities of the US government.

I made my first request of US government documents about Bolivia in 1997 and since then have made subsequent requests for information, ranging from American embassy communiques in La Paz to USAID grant requests. The information below reveals a clear policy of US intervention and meddling in Bolivia´s internal affairs. Almost all the time, this has been done without the knowledge and at the expense of the American taxpayer.

1. The first document, from 2001 is written before a visit by then President Quiroga, to the US, in which the US Embassy states that they didn´t believe he had acted strongly enough against the MAS party, led by Evo Morales. In talking points prepared by the US embassy in La Paz to be used by US Secretary Beers during his meeting with the President, the US government suggests he say, “We were quite concerned by the agreement in November to halt eradication…. We believe that a continued strong response could have weakened the political base of Evo Morales even further.” View the full document here.

2. In 2002, the American embassy qualifies Evo Morales as an “illegal coca agitator” and admits that cocaine production in Bolivia is insignificant for the US. More importantly though, the embassy details a USAID “Political Party Reform Project” that should specifically “serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors.” View the full document here.

3. In 2004, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce organization, CAINCO, through CIPE (Center for International Private Enterprise) to alter an existing Bolivian law and “gain popular support for their policy recommendations”. This clearly shows that US funding was spent to alter internal legislation and in this case, it also shows a historic relationship between US funding institutions and the Santa Cruz opposition. View the full document here.

4. Many organizations funded by NED show a clear political bias. One, the IIPS or Institute of Pedagogical & Social Investigation, refers to Evo Morales and the MAS in their grant request and project summary as an “anti-democratic, radical opposition” that doesn’t represent the majority. Of the three program objectives listed, the last is telling. The NED grant awarded to them will help, “efficient and effective social monitoring.” View the full document here.

5. By 2006, it is evident that the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID are openly working to promote events centered around regional autonomy and decentralization. …NDl adapted the community forum model piloted in this program to conduct a Santa Cruz dialogue event through its USAID funded political party program to facilitate an open discussion about regional autonomy and decentralization. View the full document here.

6. The most telling documents from my point of view, are a series of leaked e-mails from within USAID-Bolivia last year. They detail the forming relationship between the U.S. government (specifically Ambassador Philip Goldberg and the US embassy in La Paz) and indigenous groups in the Chapare and Media Luna departments to create a common USAID-guided front against Evo Morales and the MAS. In discussing who to invite to a lunch between indigenous leaders and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg in 2007, USAID staff write that the litmus test for being invited is, “a su situacion real frente el gobierno del MAS, etc. ademas son aliados nuestros.” The staff members goes on to discuss the indigenous organizations that USAID programs fund and how their principal demand is to “fortalecer sus organizaciones de base para hacerle frente al MAS:” In order to facilitate communications, one of the USAID officers recommends “immediate assistance” by sending them radios. Shades of Vietnam and the US assistance to the Hmong tribesmen, which only guaranteed the destruction of their way of life. View the full document here.

7. Among my many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on Bolivia, I have made five such requests to USAID since 2005 to determine exactly what they are doing there. So far, USAID has not responded to my requests, I can only conclude, because they wish to keep their activities there clandestine. USAID denied any response to my latest request about their activities in Bolivia during the last year (2008) by stating that “the few people who are still there will not be able to conduct a search of the documents you request” because of the “political crisis” in the country. This is simply not the case: as anyone who drives by the USAID building knows, for the parking lot is still full and there are hundreds of employees still working there. View October 2008 photos of USAID-Bolivia´s full parking lot taken by me and the full document requests and responses here from September 14, 2008, September 19, and September 28.

To summarize, I believe that these documents provide clear proof that the US government, through its various entities – especially USAID – have been, and continue to conspire against the legal and democratically elected government of Bolivia. In coming weeks, I will reveal more of the documents that I have uncovered in my ongoing investigation and research here.

Coming Soon

Check back in a few days for updates on the unfolding situation in Bolivia and the US government´s role in the internal matters of this South American nation.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 7:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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