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The Collective
Friday, December 30, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Bolivia Leader Won’t OK Coca Eradication

President-elect Evo Morales traveled to the heart of Bolivia coca-growing region to reinforce a campaign theme: he will not permit the widespread destruction of the country’s coca crop.

[...]

“We are winning the green battle: the coca leaf is beating the North American dollar,” said Morales, a frequent critic of U.S. policy in the region. “I guarantee you, there will be no zero coca.”

The 46-year-old Aymara Indian who won the Dec. 18 balloting with a decisive 54 percent of the vote, campaigned on promises to stand up to the U.S. on the eradication of coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine.

He repeated his promise to allow coca cultivation, an activity that helps sustain nearly 30,000 families in the area.

The Morales presidency is going to cause the administration to rethink some of its anti-drug policies. And, as I mentioned the other day, there are political implications for cocaleros in Peru who will, one would expect, see the success of their Bolivian brethren and seek more political influence.

The picture to the left (via the AP) shows Morales with a coca-leaf necklace (but, no, the white stuff in his hair isn’t cocaine, lest ye think otherwise).

Meanwhile, Morales is headed to Cuba for a visit (via the BBC): New Bolivian leader to visit Cuba

Bolivia’s president-elect Evo Morales is due to arrive in Cuba for his first foreign trip since his sweeping election victory earlier this month.

Mr Morales, who on 22 January will become Bolivia’s first indigenous president, is due to hold talks with Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Mr Castro is sending a jet to collect Mr Morales and about 60 supporters.

This will give the administration hives. Of course, if the US had been wise in regards to Cuba at the end of the Cold War, and regularized relations, which would have allowed for economic liberalization (which would affected government as well), Castro would not be in the position of being the Dean of Anti-American Forces in the region. The one thing that Castro has going for him is being the bulwark against Yanqui imperialism, and the US has been the source of that power by maintaining Cold War era policies.

The degree to which Chávez and Morales can look to Castro as a means of building region prestige is very much the US reaping what it has sown for a decade and a half.

Aside from scoring points with Cuban-Americans in Florida, and sticking it to Castro for being an ally of the Soviets, exactly what have US sanctions against Cuba accomplished since 1990?

Also, via CNN: Bolivia’s next president on celebratory tour.

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3 Comments

  1. 1990? What exactly has the US embargo accomplished since 1960?

    Comment by Matthew — Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 3:25 pm

  2. I take the point.

    Still, pre-1990 one at least had the fig leaf of Cold War security logic.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

  3. Oh yeah! Evo’s reving up with Hugo and Fidel. Relax. take Take a cruise with Evo this winter to help shed those holiday pounds!

    Comment by Todd — Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 8:40 pm

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