Friday, September 19, 2008

Peasants road block in rural Bolivia last week (Photo: AP)


Events in Bolivia are at a crisis state with a direct threat to the unity of the state being manipulated by US diplomats from their Embassy in La Paz. On 09.09.08, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia’s second city, fascist hooligans from the so-called “Santa Cruz Youth Union” an adjunct of the fascist “Santa Cruz Civic Committee” headed by Branco Marinkovic , a Croatian fascist and crony of US Ambassador, Philip Goldberg, attacked government offices, state television, the land administration office, local community groups offices, state telecom, human rights organisations, causing widespread destruction and burning of some of the buildings attacked. Marinkovic had just returned from a meeting with CIA agents in Miami, Florida, the day before. Marinkovic was also in contact with Carlos Sanchez Berzain, a former minister for Justice in the previous Bolivian government.

Berzain is wanted in Bolivia on various charges relating to the deaths of more than 60 people in a massacre in 2003 that attempted to crush an uprising against plans to privatise Bolivia’s gas industry, when he was justice minister. While Bolivia has requested the US to extradite both Berzain and Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ( former Bolivian president in 2003), the Buckfush regime has refused to collaborate. Instead, Berzain was granted asylum in the US in July.
As the organized violence spread to Tarija and Pando, other areas headed by right-wing politicians, resistance by the common people began to frustrate the attempted coup. Bolivian military were sent to secure government property and the Bolivian Oil and Gas production centres. Road blocks were set up by local people to seal off the Santa Cruz fascist junta from its supporters in other areas. In Tarija, the fascists attacked the popular farmers’ market in the town with petrol bombs and blew up part of the pipeline to Argentina. At the same time, the head of the parliamentary bloc of the right-wing Podemos party and large landowner, Antonio Franco, praised the violent takeovers, while Podemos deputy for Santa Cruz, Oscar Urenda, issued an open call to arms.


On 12.09.08 , President Evo Morales decreed a state of emergency in Pando, the northernmost of the rebellious regions, sending fresh troops to secure control. The carrying of weapons was banned under the decree “to safeguard lives and the collective good”. When national troops arrived with the Commander-in-Chief, General Luis Trigo. General Trigo ordered the troops to barracks in an unexplained manoeuvre but, ignoring his orders, loyal troops went on to secure the airport and dispersed the fascist gangsters who were occupying it. Among the gangsters were hired paramilitary mercenaries from Brazil.

Fernandes in Court in La Paz (Photo:AP)
The local prefect in Pando, Leopoldo Fernandez, organised the violence and had sent gangs to seize and occupy the airport , with at least 15 people recorded killed. The national government ordered the arrest of the Pando prefect, who is alleged to have organised the killings. Fernandez was reported as having fled to Brazil but was located in Cobija on Tuesday, 16.09.08 by National troops, arrested and flown to La Paz where he awaits trial for criminal offences.

On10. 09.08, President Morales announced the expulsion from Bolivia of the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, for his role in backing the fascist uprising. Goldberg had publicly urged the US to intervene on the side of the local authorities behind the violence. Goldberg was given 72 hours to leave the country.
On 11.09.08, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave the US ambassador in Caracas 72 hours to leave, in solidarity with Bolivia. On 12.09.08, Honduras suspended recognition of the US ambassador to it in solidarity with Venezuela and Bolivia. The US responded by expelling the Venezuelan and Bolivian ambassadors from Washington

On 11.09.08, Chavez offered Venezuelan military assistance in defence of democracy to Bolivia. “If any or our governments is overthrown, we will have a green light to perform military operations of any type to give the power back to the people in those countries”, Chavez declared. The Brazilian Foreign Minister cabled Washington and warned the Buckfush regime that any attempt to partition Bolivia would be strongly resisted by Brazil and its allies. A meeting was called of the Presidents of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Venezeula which took place in Santiago,Chile. The leaders agreed to support Bolivia against any attempts to stage a coup or split the country apart.

Philip Goldberg, US ambassador in La Paz since 2006 was involved from the beginnings of the civil war in Yugoslavia that erupted in the Nineties, until the overthrow and prosecution of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. He was the State Department's "Bosnia Desk Officer", between 1994 and 1996 at the point when the conflict between Albanian terrorists and Serbian and Yugoslav security forces became acute.

Also, he served as Special Assistant to Clinton’s Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who was the author of the break-up of sovereign Yugoslavia and the overthrow of Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic. He was a member of the American negotiating team in the lead-up to the Dayton Peace Conference and Chief of Staff for the American Delegation at Dayton.
Goldberg was a political-economic officer in Pretoria, South Africa, and later a consular and political officer at the US Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia, where he made contact with Colombian politicians. He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile from 2001 to 2004. Goldberg returned to the Balkans thereafter to direct the US mission in Pristina, the administrative centre of NATO occupied Kosovo, where he supported the conspiracy to detach Kosovo from Serbia. Goldberg is now trying to repeat the separatist enterprise in Bolivia using all the tricks of Washington subversion tactics on behalf of the US Oil and Gas monopolies and their local mercenaries to disrupt and overthrow the socialist government of Evo Morales. The monopolies want to regain control of Bolivia’s oil and gas resources at a time of unprecedented demand and high market prices.
The reaction of the other Latin
American leaders has stunned Washington, long used to having its way in its so-called “backyard”. The leading countries of the continent now governed by progressive leaders who want their countries’ resources used for the benefit of their own peoples and not for profiteering and exploitation by US monopolies.
In a calculated snub and démarche to Washington, Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers landed in Venezuela for the first time on an official visit and on Samhain/November 25 this year Russia’s largest missile cruiser “Peter the Great” with its escorts and 1000 Russian marines will arrive for large-scale naval exercises in the Caribbean with the Venezuelan Navy.
This is the Russian military’s largest incursion into the Americas since the former Soviet Union’s alliance with Cuba in the 1960’s. Washington is purple with rage at these developments and the success of the progressive Latin American governments in pursuing “The Second Independence” as they are calling it, meaning the end of US economic domination of their richly resourced continent and their freedom to forge new alliances with Russia, China and India and even the EU if it can get out from under the NATO jackboot.

The declaration of solidarity with Bolivia by the combined Presidents, that they would not recognise the results of any coup against the elected Government of Evo Morales, has knocked the bottom out of the right-wing prefects revolt and made it strategically redundant. To save their skins and avoid being hung for treason they now have to come to terms with La Paz and the central government. Another devious plan by Washington for subversion of democracy in Latin America has come a cropper due to popular resistance and international solidarity by Bolivia’s neighbours.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 19 Meán Fomhair/September 2008.

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