Bolivia–Would Make A Good “B” Movie

South and Central America has been breeding ground for US interference in state affairs…..we did it in Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia among others…..

We seem to always use the Monroe Doctrine as an excuse for any interference in the region…..

For those whose knowledge of the Doctrine is a bit limited…..I shall assist….

On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe used his annual message to Congress for a bold assertion: ‘The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.’ Along with such other statements as George Washington’s Farewell Address and John Hay’s Open Door notes regarding China, this ‘Monroe Doctrine’ became a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams had played the most important role in developing the wording of the declaration, and he also influenced the doctrine’s overall shape.

…..the situation in Central and South America. Revolutions against Spanish rule had been under way for some time, but it seemed possible that Spain and France might seek to reassert European rule in those regions. The British, meanwhile, were interested in ensuring the demise of Spanish colonialism, with all the trade restrictions that Spanish rule involved. British foreign secretary George Canning formally proposed, therefore, that London and Washington unite on a joint warning against intervention in Latin America. When the Monroe cabinet debated the idea, Adams opposed it, arguing that British interests dictated such a policy in any event, and that Canning’s proposal also called upon the two powers to renounce any intention of annexing such areas as Cuba and Texas. Why should the United States, he asked, appear as a cockboat trailing in the wake of a British man-of-war?

It was used to justify the coup in Guatemala, then the Cuban missile crisis, then the coup in Chile and next on the hit list was Bolivia in 1980…….

Social unrest, political fragmentation, drug trafficking, and violence all characterized the late 70’s in Bolivia. All of the major parties failed to gain a majority vote, coups were attempted with an alarming frequency, and human rights violations were severe and widespread. In the early 80’s, Bolivia transitioned to democracy, but that transition was far from smooth. In a 1997 interview with Charles Stuart Kennedy, Alexander Watson (Deputy Chief of Mission in La Paz, Bolivia 1979-1981) discusses the turbulent course of events, beginning with a coup on June 20, 1980, how he gave the keys to his house to certain political leaders, the change in policy after Ronald Reagan’s election and the eventual collapse of the coup plotters.

Source: “It was something out of a B movie” – The 1980 Coup in Bolivia – Association for Diplomatic Studies and TrainingAssociation for Diplomatic Studies and Training

And typically our intervention brought about years even decades of military rule and population suppression.  These coups did little to improve the lives of the people we say we are there to help.

Your history lesson in diplomatic adventures of the US is done…..(for today)

Class dismissed!

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