Saturday, April 03, 2010

The U.S. Lets an Ex-President Stand Trial for its Clandestine Collusion with the Bolivian Military


Thank you for your positive reaction to our April Fools Day Blog on the plan to make Bolivia and Venezuela one country. We especially thank those of you who fell for it and reproduced it as news.

This Blog post is not a joke. It is dead serious, a special report on how the U.S. went behind the back of a democratic President and today lets that former leader hang in the wind on treason charges because "politics" won't permit Washington to tell the truth. This is the case of the Chinese missiles and the wrongful prosecution of former President Eduardo Rodriguez.
The report includes documents from both the U.S. and Bolivian governments never before published in public.

Jim Shultz
The Democracy Center

The U.S. Lets an Ex-President Stand Trial for its Clandestine Collusion with the Bolivian Military

Over the past four years, Bolivian President Evo Morales has leveled one charge after another that the U.S. does not respect Bolivian sovereignty and that it has meddled in the country's domestic affairs.

Some of those charges have been based on substance. It is suspicious that Ambassador Phillip Goldberg went on a tour in September 2008 to visit the country's opposition governors, just on the eve of their launching a series of hot street rebellions against Morales. It is also a fact that an Embassy official illegally solicited Fulbright Scholars and Peace Corps volunteers to scrounge up intelligence for the Embassy.

Other times Morales' charges against the U.S. have been just silly. This includes the infamous photo (right) taken of a smiling Goldberg on the floor of the Santa Cruz fair, Epocruz, along side a supposed Colombian paramilitary operative. To cite the photo as evidence of a U.S. conspiracy, as Morales did at a summit of Latin American Presidents, is to assume that the U.S. Embassy prefers to hold its clandestine meetings amidst thousands of people sampling local fruits and machinery.

There is however another recent case of U.S. intervention in Bolivia's domestic affairs that goes far, far beyond meddling. It is a case that involves the U.S. Pentagon colluding with the Bolivian Army behind a President's back. It involves the clandestine removal of Bolivian arms for shipment to the U.S. It involves the proffer of a $400,000 payment by the Pentagon to the leaders of Bolivia's armed forces, again behind the back of the President. And it is a case that is not based on conjecture but on hard evidence, including documents we are publishing here in this post.

If the Morales government is looking for evidence of U.S. disregard for Bolivia's sovereignty, then this is the case upon which that charge can be made and made clearly. Instead however, the Bolivian government is letting the U.S. off the hook and pinning the blame, wrongly, on the former President behind whose back the U.S. conspired.

This is the story of the U.S. theft of Bolivia's surface-to-air missiles, and of the wrongful prosecution of former President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze.

The Chinese Missiles

In August of 1986, four Bolivian military officials went to China on a shopping expedition for weapons. Their wish list mainly included guns and bullets, some 3,300 of the first and millions of the second. After a long period of negotiations, the weapons were finally purchased with a loan by the Chinese government of $2 million. Later, in October 1997, when one batch of those weapons arrived in Bolivia, military officials discovered something else in the mix – what many Bolivians would call una yappa, like the extra tomato a vegetable seller might add in as a thank you for purchasing the other twenty.

Included in the crates that arrived were thirty HN-5 Chinese surface-to-air missiles, known in the military trade as Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS). Bolivia suddenly had what some in the military liked to refer to as an "air defense system."

In the course of this investigation I had a long conversation with a Canadian arms specialist who works for the UN on weapons destruction projects (who spoke on condition of not being identified by name). He told me that the Chinese surface to air missiles like those shipped to Bolivia were considered the "Yugo" of MANPADS. In other words, they were poorly made to begin with and even more useless over time. "It's the Russian models that you want," he told me.

Maybe it was for that reason that the Bolivian Army was reluctant to test them. It was three years later, in 2000, when the Army finally took a shot at firing one. These missiles are small weapons, thin tubes about five feet long and weighing just twenty pounds. Their lethal qualities come not from their size or range but their function. Used against aircraft, the missiles aim for the heat emitted from the exhaust pipe and tunnel right inside before exploding. They attack a plane or helicopter at its weak spot, in the way that Luke Skywalker took out the Empire's Death Star through a tiny ventilation shaft.

That particular knowledge of the missiles' mechanism must have been lost on Bolivia's Army in its La Paz test launch. According to sources, the missile fired and then went crazy, flailing around in the air and sending soldiers diving for cover. It then fell – a dud. The only other test attempted by the Army was in 2004 when the missile wouldn't fire at all. Its battery, like that of the rest of the missiles, had gone dead.

U.S. interest in stripping other countries of their surface to air missiles began not long after the September 11, 2001 attacks. That effort to find and decommission stockpiles of the MANPADS got a key push in 2005 by a bipartisan team of U.S. Senators, Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana and a freshman Democrat from Illinois, Barack Obama. Speaking of the MANPADS Lugar said. “Such weapons could be used by terrorists to attack commercial airliners, military installations and government facilities here at home and abroad. Al Qaeda reportedly has attempted to acquire MANPADS on a number of occasions.”

The focus of the U.S. hunt for these weapons was on the Russian-made variety, which were considered serious weapons and loose in the world in great numbers. Why the U.S. suddenly took such an obsessive interest in Bolivia's outdated junk-MANPADS in the middle of 2005 is a subject of speculation and theory – but an obsessive interest it took.

The Unlikely President

In most countries of the world the men and women who become President do so only after decades of careful plotting and positioning. Eduardo Rodriguez became the President of Bolivia with about 30 minutes notice and he wasn't very happy at all about the prospect.

On the night of June 10, 2005, as Bolivia was spiraling into nationwide chaos, the scholarly Chief Justice of the country's Supreme Court was watching the news on television with his wife and getting ready to go to bed when his telephone rang. It was the President of the Senate, Hormando Vaca Diez.

For days, Bolivia's social movements had paralyzed the country with a series of protests and road blockades demanding nationalization of the nation's gas and oil. The protesters were furious with the watered down gas and oil reforms being pushed by President Carlos Mesa, and Mesa was once again repeating his penchant for threatening resignation to try to cajole the Congress and the country his way.

Mesa's resignation gaming had set off a monumental power struggle between he and Vaca Diez, the next in the line of succession. When his rivals called Mesa's bluff and told him to send the resignation right over, Mesa refused if it meant that the right-wing Senator would take control (Vaca Diez had declared publicly that his answer to the protests would be to crush them with the military).

That night in June the Congress had fled the capital in La Paz, where the social movements had made it impossible to meet. Instead the Congress sought to convene in a surprise session in Sucre where it would accept Mesa's resignation and swear in Vaca Diez. The social movements, led by dynamite-wielding miners from Potosi, surrounded the Congress in session and blocked members' exit to the airport. Bolivia was on the verge of exploding.

Over the phone, Vaca Diez explained that he, President Mesa, and the leader of the House of Deputies, Mario Cossio, had finally agreed to the only deal they could think of to keep Bolivia from rolling off the precipice. Mesa would resign and the two Congressional leaders would relinquish their right to succession. That meant that Rodriguez as head of the Supreme Court would have to assume the Presidency, a move which would also trigger automatic elections within six months. "Do you agree to do this?" Vaca Diez asked him. Rodriguez knew he didn't have any choice.

After hanging up the phone and changing back into a suit and tie, Rodriguez found himself an hour later speaking live before the Congress and the nation. "I didn't even have a speech prepared," Rodriguez told me, explaining the odd and dramatic events that night. "I had to make it up as I went along."

Afterwards Rodriguez was up until 4am getting briefed by the nation's generals on one standoff after another around the country where the Army and the social movements were on the verge of open warfare with one another. As he recounted the events of the night he told me, "You can't imagine the stress. Presidents come into office with a whole team of people they have worked with. I was totally alone."

The next morning Rodriguez's two young children awoke to discover that their father was now the President. As he walked the two out his front door in Sucre to the car that would take them to school, the children looked wide-eyed at the line-up of television cameras and the swarm of armed soldiers roaming around their home. Rodriguez told me that is seven-year-old son looked up at him and said, "Dad, you are the President. What are you going to do?"

In the landscape of Bolivian politics, Rodriguez is an oddity. He came to the Presidency not as a lifelong politician, nor as a social movement leader. He rose to lead the Supreme Court based on a respected and squeaky-clean record as a lawyer and public servant. In Latin America in 2005 there wasn't a President anywhere that seemed a less likely candidate to be screwed by the U.S.

Eduardo Rodriguez is the kind of man one might pass on the street and not notice, even if you had seen him on television a number of times. At 54, with scholarly glasses and a short graying hair, Rodriguez looks like the mild-mannered lawyer he set out to be at an early age. He grew up in Cochabamba across the street from Plaza Colon. His parents owned a local pharmacy and Rodriguez was schooled nearby by the Jesuits at St. Augustine, a private Catholic School which also graduated just a few years afterwards Morales' Vice President, Alvaro Garcia Linera.

The first thing that set Rodriguez on the path toward law, he says, was a school requirement that sent the clean-cut high school student to the San Sebastian men's jail to help teach inmates to read. The school requirement was for two months, Rodriguez stayed six. Injustice, he told me, was no longer a theory taught in class.

Rodriguez second conversion experience came in 1973 during the year he spent in Springfield Missouri as a high school exchange student. Night after night the teenager from Cochabamba joined his host family and millions of Americans as they watched the Senate Watergate hearings unfold on television. Thinking about the brutal dictatorships back at home, Rodriguez was mesmerized by a political system that brought down its President without a shot.

Back in Bolivia he set his professional trajectory on public service. After attending public university and law school, he got a job as junior staff to a special Congressional committee investigating the country's most recent dictatorships, an operation quickly shut down in 1980 with the arrival of yet another coup. Later he won a USAID scholarship to attend the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. On his return he helped build a new national auditor's office, the stuff of numbers not revolution. In 1999 Rodriguez tossed his hat in the ring for an improbable promotion, as a Justice of the country's Supreme Court. Then candidates for the job were selected by a vote of Congress. In a process overflowing with politics and party jockeying, the unaffiliated Rodriguez ended up finishing first place in the Congressional vote. Later he was elevated by his bench mates to be Chief Justice.

Then in September 2005, just three months after assuming the presidency, Rodriguez discovered that the U.S. military officials and the Army chiefs under his command had been mobilizing behind his back.

The U.S. Acts Behind the President's Back

During the last weekend of that September, President Rodriguez was on a rare trip away from Bolivia, to a Presidential summit in Brazil. That is when the Bolivian Army and its U.S. counterparts decided to act.

On Sunday morning of that weekend a Bolivian military unit entered the weapons storage facility in La Paz where the missiles were held and loaded them on a truck for the drive uphill to El Alto. The 28 missiles that remained in the Bolivian arsenal were taken to the base of the Bolivian Air Force where they were transferred to a U.S. military aircraft and transported out of the country. The President knew nothing of the operation, finding out about it only afterwards.

Nor did President Rodriguez find out until afterwards about the four-page signed document that the U.S. Pentagon left behind as a thank you, a September 30, 2005 "Mutual Cooperation Agreement" between Bolivia and the U.S. (read the document here). It includes the following:

WHEREAS in recognition of the Republic of Bolivia's outstanding support of the war on terrorism and as incentive to continue this support DoD [Department of Defense] desires to transfer $400,000 to the Republic of Bolivia.

The Pentagon memorandum then leaves a series of blank spaces where the Bolivian generals were expected to list the bank, bank account, and beneficiary to which that $400,000 in Pentagon cash should be wired. The Bolivian Generals could have listed anyone on the simple return form to Washington, including themselves.

The whole manner in which the U.S. rushed to remove the missiles from the Bolivian arsenal in the closing months of 2005 raises a series of crucial questions.

First, why the rush and why behind the back of the democratic President of the country?
The UN arms destruction specialist who I spoke with was astonished on this point. "Handing over weapons to the UN or to another country for destruction is an extremely political decision. Usually it requires an act of Congress."

Former President Rodriguez recounted a conversation he had with the then-U.S. Ambassador, David Greenlee on this question. According to Rodriguez, Greenlee told him, "We had to get them out. If we didn’t get them out then we wouldn't be able to."

There are several theories about why the U.S. went rogue.

One has to do with the other big event taking place in Bolivia that September – a historic Presidential election in which a fierce U.S. adversary, Evo Morales, was surging to the lead. Was the U.S. really worried that two dozen outdated missiles in the hands of Morales was some kind of threat?

According to Rodriguez and others, U.S. concerns about stray MANPADS falling into the hands of Al Qaeda included charges of some form of terrorist presence on the Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay border. Witnesses in an Argentine legal case reportedly testified that members of the Bolivian military had sold at least one missile in the area and Rodriguez believes that reports like these made the U.S. nervous about the possible slippage of the Bolivian MANPADS into undesirable hands.

President Rodriguez, a man known to be a stickler for the law and correct procedure, was not likely to give a stamp of approval to such a politicized action as handing over missiles to the U.S. without submitting it to public disclosure and proper consideration. And that undoubtedly would have spilled the U.S. request over into a Morales administration.

Or was the U.S. trying to curry favor with the Bolivian military on the eve of a Morales presidency? This is where the offered payment of $400,000 becomes especially curious, especially given the informality with which the generals could submit the designated beneficiary for that fortune. I asked the UN weapons expert about the payment and the U.S. insistence that the missiles be removed from Bolivia for destruction.

"Twenty-eight MANPADS? It's a simple process. You dig a hole three meters wide and three meters deep in an unpopulated area, wrap them in a bundle with some dynamite and explode them. If I were contracting it out it would be a day's work and cost about $1,500."

Nearly half a million dollars is a mighty big thank you for such a small project. In fact, it remains unclear why the U.S. wanted the missiles removed from Bolivia at all, instead of just observing their destruction in some desolate hole in the altiplano.

Speaking about the scandal to Voice of America, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormick dismissed concerns that the U.S. had acted behind a President's back. "As for who was told in Bolivia about the action, you'll have to talk to the Bolivian government about that."

Given the long history of the U.S. colluding with militaries in the region behind the backs of democratic leaders (see General Pinochet, Chile, 1973) one would expect that the State Department understands that talking to the generals is not enough.

Facing Trail for Treason and Left Hanging in the Wind by Uncle Sam

Last month the Morales government announced that it was going to accelerate its efforts to prosecute a list of former Presidents, and included Eduardo Rodriguez on the list. While the others face charges of corruption related to foreign oil contracts, the case against Rodriguez, over the missiles, is something altogether more serious. He faces charges of treason that can carry up to thirty years in a Bolivian prison.

There is no question that Rodriguez was kept in the dark about the handover of the missiles to Washington. In fact, upon discovering it, Rodriguez cancelled the $400,000 offer from Washington, demanded a full report (read the report here), and fired both the head of the Army and the Minister of Defense.

Why the Morales administration is going after Rodriguez over the missiles, instead of leveling those charges against Washington, is a mystery -- especially given that the reason for the U.S. operation may have been fears of Morales himself.

The U.S., for its part, knows it wronged Rodriguez and is letting him face life in prison over a set of acts that it undertook not him. The former President claims that several high level U.S. officials have admitted as much to him in private, but say that the U.S. can't admit its actions in public for "political reasons." The former exchange student to Missouri is being taught a new lesson about the realities of U.S. politics, one not nearly so attractive as the accountability he witnessed during Watergate. Today Rodriguez is looking at options for filing a legal action against the U.S., on behalf of Bolivia and its people.

The U.S. has says often that it wants to build a new relationship with Bolivia, including exchanging ambassadors again (the two countries kicked out their respective ambassadors in September 2008). If it wants to do so it should start by coming clean about its behind-the-back-of-democracy shenanigans that September weekend in 2005. It should not let a decent man take the rap for the Pentagon's suspicious maneuvers. And if the Morales government wants its prosecution of other former Presidents, including Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, to look like more than a political twitch, it should re-aim its sights on the missile case to where those sights belong – on Washington.


Anonymous Timothy Welsh said...

If you think the milk in Bolivia tastes weird, it does in Spain as well.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why the Morales administration is going after Rodriguez over the missiles, instead of leveling those charges against Washington is a mystery"

Jim, you still don't get it...Morales is like GWB, "you are either with us or against us." When he said that he will put Juan del Granado in Chonchoroco (maximum security prison) for daring to break from the political coalition and challenge his mayoral candidate, it shows his true colors.

Please be more objective in all of this, it is not the romantic scene that you like to paint.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats my evo fuck those m.....f...........and

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Rodriguez doesn´t need to pay for general´s business,including people who is very close to actual governor.
This trial is only a political move,injustice and not democratic laws are a day by day issue in Bolivia.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a resonating Pandora's box full of singing worms, but the tunes they sing are anonymus...great lessons for everybody contemplating coop deals with foreign interests, and following the chain of command will suffice to draw a spectrum of guilt for the military to be exemplarily punished for treason as the case merits. Now when it comes to Mr. Rodriguez, whether his "cancellation" of the 400.000 $ meant pocketing the sum, or brokering a free deal for Washington, is only anecdotal, he owes the amount and must be made accountable for, that's where he may learn his ultimate lesson of what to expect from the DoD, on behalf, or in spite of the RoB. LPF/EFI

2:29 AM  
Blogger locojhon said...

In Bolivia, those missiles were a big deal at the time--as they involved not only national security, but perhaps more importantly, national sovereignty and pride.
I'm pretty certain it is panning out something like this:
The military still has great strength in Bolivia, and the ties to the US are strong, long-lasting and run deep in the military leadership, especially.
The Morales government has asked for documentation on this and other cases, and the Generals' response has been to stall with one excuse after another, or provide partial documentation or to flat-out simply stone-wall and refuse.
Under previously corrupted governments, many in the military were tested, vetted and trained at the SOA/WHINSEC in the USA, to then return to Bolivia where they infiltrated and advanced in the hierarchy. The treasonous missile transfer was as a result of that corrupting influence, as the new documentation reveals.
Today, in spite of policies in place that facilitate prosecution--by offering freedom to those who are proved to be ordered to commit irregularities from above--the military is well dug in to protect themselves from below.
The trial of the (honorable) President Rodriguez is the only way that Morales can purge the highest ranks of the military of its traitors--by going at them from above.
Rodriguez will be acquitted and returned to the court, the Generals fired with pensions lost, and the military purged of those who work in service to the US, as opposed to Bolivia.
In the process, more documents will be brought to light that will confirm long-standing US involvement in the internal affairs of Bolivia, and the corrupting influence it has had on the Bolivian military and ruling elite.
In the longer term, this case might be the keystone that when removed, destroys the edifice of US benevolence in Latin America--one country at a time, with Bolivia leading the way.
Thanks to the administration of Evo Morales, Bolivia is regaining its sovereignty day by day--and a likely US-inspired military insurrection and coup averted--all without firing a shot.
Viva Bolivia, and Evo Morales!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one would had described the Bolivian government as stable in those days. The president resigned under pressure, others abdicated, a stand-in placed in office for 6 months, a potentially hostile government in the one knew what was going to happen.
Unstable governments are notorious sources of weapons - remember the days after the USSR fell, when entire fighter aircraft and tanks were sold on the black market? Even low grade weapons like the ones described can be repaired, and even a failed attack can do great political damage.
The nightmare the open society of America faced was heat seeking missiles launched by terrorists who smuggled them into the US. One crash was being investigated as a possible missile attack in New York. So the US bought potentially lethal weapons - you'd rather they send in the Marines and take them? Or should the US wait until more of its people are murdered, then file a useless complaint with the UN?
It is the Bolivian government who is unjustly prosecuting an innocent man. Blaming the US is disingenuous at best.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Locoto, or maybe you should think about why your good buddy Evo wants to go after the US on anything but this one. Who is he so afraid of, the Bolivian Army?

If you don't see something fishy here you stopped sniffing.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:55 Got it, the bottom line is the US can do whatever the f*** it wants, forget whether there is another sovereign nation involved. How about rendition flights from Bolivia for MAS members that make the US nervous? Same principle, no?

Glad to see the Embassy is reading and commenting on the Blog.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall that before the whole Autonomia/dos Tercios campaigns in the East against Morales which were designed to split the country, the first head of the hydra to raise itself was indeed that of a La Paz based ex-General who called for a Spanish style rising rising against the govt - Antezana, I think his name was - but they processed him for treason more or less immediately.It does indeed look as though Secretary of State Rummy's first plan of attack against Bolivian democracy involved an old style coup.
The response of the weapons expert you spoke to really contextualises this.It does indeed look as though Sec Rummy was palming a big gold coin into the hands of some old, long neglected friends to remind them who paid their rents.And the Bolivian govt. should take notice of what you say.If this guy is who you say he is they should not accuse the wrong people.

12:56 PM  
Blogger locojhon said...

@anon 8:55,,,
I remember the unsubstantiated/propagandist fear-provoking reports of fighters and tanks being sold on the Russian black market, but have never seen any authenticated accounts of any. As a matter of fact, neither can Google. If you are not pumping out bullshit, certainly you can provide proof of it, can't you? (I'll wait while breathing.)
Nice false-choice you presented—either steal them or invade. It is interesting that you defend illegal means to obtain the missiles, instead of through legal means.
No--no reason or even pretense for a reason for the US to attack Bolivia.
No reason for the US to do anything other than to investigate who really was responsible for 9-11--because it certainly wasn't 19 Muslims directed by OBL from some cave. The 9-11 Commission report is cover to cover, nothing but bullshit that you have apparently swallowed entirely.
Despite Monroe Doctrine suggestions to the contrary, LA is not the territory of the USA, nor are the sovereign nations, including Bolivia, subject to US control. The most-destructive terrorist nation in the world is the USA, not some internally-invented "war on terrorism".
The rest of the world sees this, and it's about time you did too.
@anon 9:34,,,
Yes,,,some of the military higher-ups, especially those trained by the US in SOA/WHINSEC, as well as those trained/promoted under them in successionary roles are historically feared, and with good reason, too.
Though they try to resist the Executive, the military will not go against the courts or refuse the legal court orders--and they know it is futile to try. Those who know they will be tried and convicted will try to leave and claim asylum elsewhere--like Miami--where they will feel right at home with other like criminals.
And with each one, little by little, Bolivia regains its sovereignty.
@anon 9:37--re. Embassy reading--I was thinking the same thing.
@anon 12:56--you bring up additional supportive points. With every dot connected, the picture becomes ever clearer. Thank you.
Viva Bolivia, and Evo Morales!

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loco: You left out that the moon walk was a hoax, JFK was killed by Martians, and George Bush was actually a woman. Then your analysis would be complete.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It Could have been an upfront payment to stop Morales, but, even

if the military had orquestrated a military coup, the INDIANS WOULD HAVE





5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks Jim for a very interesting article and thanks to the posters, especially locoto, who show just how insane Evo's hard core supporters are.

There are plenty of Veltzes in Bolivia. People who had no connection to the corrupt leaders of the past, but who are now persecuted simply because of the color of their skin, because they got some education, or they did their best to better themselves.

People should realize from this article, that the US is simply protecting its interests, that there is no grand conspiracy, or anything like some of the posters say. From the Monroe doctrine, to Plan Condor, to the war on Drugs, the US is doing that not a single Bolivian President has been able or cared to do: put their country's interests above anything.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can agree with Anonymous @ 800PM. I can see how some americans would be proud of its government for protecting its interests, I also agree with the fact that most likely no bolivian president has ever done that for Bolivia. But one should wonder if any citizen should be proud of its government when it breaks international law or does what the US has done all over the place to protect its interests... I'm sure many germans felt proud during WWII when their government started a big war where millions perished, I'm pretty sure we can also argue the german government was indeed watching for its country's interests. I guess when nationalism gets in the way, objectivism goes out the window.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Eduardo. Since he was a youth. He always was a wuzz. As Bolivia's commander-in-chief of the armed force, the buck stops with him. President Morales is correct to seek to have Eduardo tried and held accountable for his acts of treason, high crimes, malfeasance and gross negligence (willful or otherwise). His collusion is obvious by the fact that he neglected to prosecute the responsible Bolivian military leader who acted as agents for the US. Instead, he covered it up. Fortunately, President Morales will make "pagar para los platos rotos".

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The United States did a great favor to Bolivia, the Western Hemisphere, and the world for removing potential terrorist weapons from a hostile government. Our eternal thanks!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, who is the anonymous "UN arms destruction specialist" you claim you spoke to and who are the "former high US level officials" Rodriguez claims he spoke to?
If we're to believe your report from anonymous sources, I claim that a headless alien from the Andromeda galaxy mated with a chuño to spawn Morales because an unanymous yatiri told me so.
Really, really!

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:55 do not make the mistake of reductio ad hitlerum, it just does not apply. Hitler was not protecting the Germany's interests by killing jews. As far as breaking international law, that is a more sticky point. First common sense should prevail, specially since any one vote in the Security council can negate a legitimate claim.

Anon 12:45 let's extend your logic...ergo, Evo Morales should be in jail for protecting the killers of Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz, Luis Espinal, etc???

However, it would be worthwhile for someone to tell us why Evo is so fearful of some people like the FFAA, Quintana, Morales Davila, and other well known and well proven criminals, yet is a huge bully to some powerless bureaucrats?

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is political persecution, has nothing to do with the US. President Sanchez de Lozada's trial is a political persecution? Yes, this is how the "rule of law" is used in Bolivia, again has nothing to do with the US.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Carlos Teran said...

If he gets convicted and sent to jail it would make for a very good movie. Start from when he visits a prison in high-school and end when he gets sentenced. It would be a good movie if only because of how ridiculously absurd it seems and how the most unlikely person gets charged.

9:16 PM  
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5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point about Mr. Shultz's blog is that a]the weapons were knackered and had long since passed their sell by date and so were visibly and evidently of no use and no danger to anyone and b]the fact that the DoD under the Bush administration, who would no doubt have already known these missiles were now duds given their undoubted penetration through a sizeable portion of Latin America's armed forces. If a passing Canadian weapons expert (there's one outside my window now, in fact) can give a price of about $1500 inc. 1 day's labour to destroy the lot, then why did they feel the need to, quite literally, pass a $400,000 cheque to unspecified members of the Bolivian military as a 'sorry we took your oh so dangerous ground-to-airs but we hope this covers it' payment when the missiles were useless.The point is THE MONEY WAS FOR SOMETHING ELSE.DO YOU SEE? (I have to use capitals, unfotunately, I can't get coloured crayon to come up).
Mr Shultz's argument seems to be; Why did they do make this bizarre payment directly to the Bolivian military as opposed to the government itself just as many polls were beginning to show the likelihood of a MAS (and therefore pretty anti-US) victory, and in a way that seemed, in actual fact, to prefigure (long before the 'people's autonomia campaign) the first extra-constitutional attempt to topple the elected govt.- that of Antezana, in about May/June of 2006 if I rememmber rightly.That only got quoshed when Chavez appeared on Bolivian TV to say he'd invade to prop up the democratically elected govt.I'd never liked him but he became a bit of a hero for me after that day, having protected me and my family from violent fascist and hard right activists who were lining up to unleash hell on lots of decent people around me.
Also, incidentally, having grown up in a city where both myself and my partner (a Bolivian) had skirted with death on the metro system, she in particular avoiding a lethal Al Quaeda tutored bomb attack which killed 52 people by just a few minutes on her way to work a few years back, and a guy I worked with felt the thump of that same bomb go off under his feet whilst waiting for a bus, can I just say that the person who thinks that what the DoD did here was actually keeping anyone safe either needs their medication upped, or, failing that, their medication lowered. I have seldom read such a tendentious take on events and I read the comments on this blog quite a lot,so that's a sterling achievement.
There was no danger.It was, and is, in your head.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evo has no education and lots of Cuban and Venezuelan "advisors"...
what a great leader... cocain production has increased and Bolivia is now the 3rd largest producer of marijuana, what a vision....

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's ironic that Evo is on one hand fighting an established oligarchy while maintaining strong ties with the likes of Russia, China and Iran, who all typify in one way or another a super-oligarchic structure of power, far from any kind of democratic revolution.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Norman said...

A couple of random thoughts...

If I point a revolver at you and tell you not to worry, because the bullets were old and when I tested the firsttwo they were duds, would you feel more comfortable when I pulled the trigger?

Did anyone else notice the grammatical and spelling errors in the document? (e.g. "to include but no limited to") What is an "admentment" anyways? Boy, those errors look remarkably like the Spanish way of writing.

How about that it had illegible signatures and no titles or names typed under the signature block?

It certainly doesn't disprove anything, but it makes me go hmmmm.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going on 4 days after an election where MAS was pimp slapped by the voters at the mayoral level in their own backyard. They lost in their strongholds of La Paz, Oruro, and many other areas. Still not a peep from Jim or his merry band of Evo horse holders.

I guess jim's orders from above are to just be silent.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wanted to know who won in Tiquipaya???? I heard from people in Tiquipaya that there was fruad in the election and I personally saw how all the preparations for Evo´s arrival where left half done because he decided not to arrive to a place with so much corruption.


8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim won't talk about the elections. He's busy getting ready reporting the Cbba climate clown summit.

MAS got more mayors than ever. They lost in places they shouldn't have (La Paz, Achacachi), but gained in others (most recently won Pando governorship), so they didn't win nor lose in the end. Their hegemony tsumani has been stopped, that's for sure. They'll have the uncomfortable task of negotiating with political opponents that up to a few days ago were nonexistent.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Morales bought a superduper luxury airplane for himself while the countrys schools crumble and is at the bottom of the pits in healthcare.

9:01 AM  
Blogger The Veins of Latin America said...

Fascinating exposé Jim. Will eagerly wait your update on this case.

Anybody interested in an analysis of the local elections results in El Alto and La Paz can check my blog...

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fruad? Yea, we get a lot of that these days. Something about the proportion of dumbasses with internet access.


I wanted to know who won in Tiquipaya???? I heard from people in Tiquipaya that there was fruad in the election and I personally saw how all the preparations for Evo´s arrival where left half done because he decided not to arrive to a place with so much corruption.


My answer is, better than most! I don't know the people you talked to, so your story is less than believable to me. I would rather here cold facts about corruption than some bullshit half-assed sentence which doesn't say anything, much. (Crickets)

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we all blind or intentionally gulible and are not willing to see the reality of the political situacion en Bolivia? The group of politicians surrounding the presidency of J.E. Morales are just the same as all politicians who will do whatever it takes to keep themselves in power. Their demagoguery is beyond believe. The indigenous mayority are being used simply to keep in power the current group. In the mean time the coca crops keep on increasing and as a direct consequence de manufacture, export, and what is worse, the local use of cocaine. The rest is nothing but smoke screen.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above: Demagoguery begins with people who can't possibly see that there is more than one side to things, a fact that is none less true for Bolivia than anywhere else. You might think about that before you pronounce yourself the only knower of reality.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now Morales bought a superduper luxury airplane for himself while the countrys schools crumble and is at the bottom of the pits in healthcare."

I take it you didn't hear the news from Poland? A fresh new plane for state officials, and well-maintained, seems a necessity after that.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANON 5:25

Why dont you Talk to Agapo Former Corregidor and current THUG in the area, and why dont you go talk with with Freddy Claros Town Mechanic. Even Evo Morales admitted that his Bolivia Cambia Evo Cumple Plan caused curruption. Thats why he didnt go celebrate the Saul Cruz victory, he was pissed this dumbass stole municipal resources and replaced them with the money from his plans to finish the projects he stole from. Tipycal American DUMBASS that believes that MAS is perfect, whats sad is that its understandable for a ignorant uneducated campesione to believe that crock but for someone with enough resources to come to Bolivia and still thank that any political parte especially MAS is perfect is just plain sad.

COMMUNISM: Liberation of the people from the burdens of liberty.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:55 I'm American, but not U.S. I would like to see your claims brought forth to the Fiscalia, and the corrupt in jail. But youre mixing apples with oranges, corruption exists in every democratic system (Enron, Mercedes Benz, unscrupulous CEO's.. same thing as corrupt Bolivian bureaucrats) and unless you have proof of the "fruad" in Cochabamba I see no reason to believe it. It's a shame that the electoral system is getting politicized so much from both sides, I think its exactly unfounded claims like yours which hurt the most.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Poland's ex didn't claim to be a servant of the poor nor was he prez of one of the poorest county on earth. A dose of humility and stinginess would be good for Morales, no?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But Poland's ex didn't claim to be a servant of the poor nor was he prez of one of the poorest county on earth. A dose of humility and stinginess would be good for Morales, no?"

As long as it does not preclude taking risks with one's life.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 820

Where are you from? Cause you´re certainly not Bolivian. What I am saying is that Evo or people with high ranks in his Govt. Are as corrupt as the previous a clear example is how they bought $US 30 million in Toyota Cars trucks etc. and a couple of months later Toyotas owner Co-bought around 30 hectares of land in tiquipaya with the VP family. I doubt that was a coincidence or is MAS the Perfect govt.

Question: Why doesnt Jim investigate whats going on in his back yard?
Answer: He'll get linched, jailed, or even murdered for uncovering MAS's true colors, and we know he doesnt have the balls to take that risk.

COMMUNISM: Liberation of the people from the burdens of liberty

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poland's prez death seems like pilot error, not mechanical problems.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good lord.

even with all that storytelling and spin and its still hard to blame the US for moving the weapons out, while paying for them.

all this concern for the respect for democracy comes across like such a sham when this storyteller only implicates the big bad evil US.

reader leaving comments that the US is the world's biggest terrorist.... i'm sry, is this 9/11 At what point did I get off at crazy town?

And now the US leaves the prez twisting in the wind!! Oh the DRAMA!! But remind me exactly what the US was supposed to do?

"Dear Morales, It was all our idea. Let the former prez go plz k thx!! Sincerely, Tio Sam"

I'm sure that will work.

Nice job twisting the disposal of potential terrorist weapons that apparently barely worked into some attack on democracy. Remind us at what point the law demands all weapons sales need to be approved and with the knowledge of the Bolivian Pres, because I'm not that familiar with the country's strong representative background. in other words, youve said the US moved behind his back. can you show us that such a transaction should never take place without presidential knowledge? put up or shut up. or edit your report.

(well which was it? terrorist weapons or outdated crap? i guess you better say weapons because suggesting the US is doing garbage disposal just isn't conspiracy theorist enough... although it does really bite characterization of US paranoia to call them terrorist weapons. better keep waffling on this.)

and Oh! the US was so paranoid!! Bolivia, as we all know, has been so outstandingly stable over the last decade! Why would the US ever doubt the Bolivian government's ability to control its weapons??? Hey Jim, remind us what is was like walking through the Cochabamba riots again, would you? Really paints a picture of a government we should trust to safeguard weapons. Also, something comes to mind about dynamite and the military and some soldier people arrested during election time...??? ah but its all too hazy to remember or research now. I think it's easier and more sympathetic to just write about how evil america is.

how about you do some real reporting on the little political witch hunt they have going in bolivia?

at least if glenn beck ever gets boring, i know i have this blog to keep me fully stocked in crazy.

11:02 PM  

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