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NGOs plot against Evo Morales | Moscow News

INTERNATIONAL

© RIA Novosti. Mikhail Fomichev

NGOs plot against Evo Morales

by Vicky Pelaez at 13/10/2011 21:02

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Bolivia seems to have entered a long-awaited period of calm, and many expect its indigenous president, Evo Morales, to follow through on his plan to rebuild the country on the principles of social justice and solidarity. But these expectations may never transpire, as Washington looks set to undermine the Bolivian leader’s authority using international NGOs – one of the most sophisticated and efficient tools for this purpose.

Bolivia, which still ranks among Latin America’s poorest nations, was for centuries exploited by the Spanish conquerors before it fell into the clutches of multinational companies and their local oligarch associates. This is why when Morales dared launch fundamental reforms in the country; he became one of the main targets for globalization champions.

In May 2008, Morales aborted an attempt of a military coup. In April 2009, he dismantled a mysterious terrorist group led by the mercenary Eduardo Rosza-Flores. A general strike in the mining province of Potosi in 2010 dealt a heavy blow to the Bolivian economy. Plus, four of the country’s nine regions, namely Tarija, Santa Cruz, Beni and Pardo, where major oil and natural gas deposits are located, have since 2006 been stepping up their struggle for autonomy.

Local indigenous groups, backed by the Movimiento Sin Miedo (Movement without Fear) and the Confederación Obrera Boliviana (the Bolivian Labor Confederation), have been holding anti-government protests for several weeks now. They took to the streets following Morales’ decision to build a highway between Villa Tunan and San Ignacio de Mojos with a view to stepping up the process of national integration. All this is unfolding against a backdrop of daily verbal attacks from international NGOs operating in the country.

The U.S. – Spain Council, an organization that aims to promote cooperation between Spain and the United States, sponsors conferences in Bolivia where American associates, such as Lindsay Robertson, Stephen Greetham and Amanda Cobb-Greetham, urge indigenous Bolivian communities to fight for their rights. They argue that in the United States, it is the Native Americans who are considered the only legitimate owners of the land’s natural wealth. Such statements are striking in their cynicism, as we all know only too well about the ongoing misery of North America’s Indian communities.

© RIA Novosti. / Fedotov

Historically, Bolivia was exploited

The NGOs were created as tools to promote globalization across the world, paving the way for transnationals. Accomplishing this “from above” seemed impossible because of the inefficiency of the governments then in power. So it was decided to act “from below” instead, creating new local grassroots organizations and infiltrating into those that already existed. Initially, NGOs were to be bankrolled by the State Department through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), with guidance from the CIA.

Other Western nations applauded the creation of these NGOs as vehicles through which they could promote their own interests, in addition to the common globalization agenda. Oil majors such as Shell and BP exploited these “vehicles” to expand their global reach. Many individuals also benefited.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, NGOs rushed to usher their new “children” in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries into the “brave new world.” According to U.S. professor Robert Bruce Ware, more than 450,000 non-governmental organizations had launched operations in Russia by 2005, all keen to proselytize their gospel of democratic governance and human rights. Indicatively, they were especially keen to reach out to the most distant of the country’s provinces, seen as the most promising, Libyan style, in terms of staging anti-government revolts.

Now U.S. Senator Richard Lugar has proposed adopting legislation to legalize the use of social media in Latin America to instigate revolutions, such as those that have recently swept across Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. This will be a new challenge for NGOs coming over to apply their African experience.

Over his five years in office, Morales has reduced the percentage of those living on just 2 dollars a day to 49%, down from 60%, and cut the proportion of people living in extreme poverty to 25%, from 37% previously.

But with Lugar’s motion in place, this and other achievements by the present Bolivian leader lose their relevance.

Morales stands in the way of transnationals, so the United States wants him overthrown.

Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #79"

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